Position Capsule: Running Back

Purdue has several options at running back, but the reps have yet to be decided. In the continuation of a series, Boiler Sports Report looks at the Boilermakers' running back position.

Where they stand— The annual spring game served as the exclamation point for Akeem Hunt. The junior running back capped off the spring in grand fashion as he rushed 134 yards and a touchdown while leading Black to a win over Gold. With it, Hunt showed he's ready to take charge of the Boilermakers' starting tailback position.

Hunt has been but a backup through his first two seasons at Purdue, but the wide open depth chart allowed him his best chance to start, and he took advantage. Behind Hunt, the bruising Brandon Cottom put himself in a good place to compete for reps before suffering an injury in the jersey scrimmage. Freshmen David Yancey and Robert Gregory also had strong springs.

Biggest riser— David Yancey made a great decision in arriving early to campus this spring. The true freshman put together a strong spring for the Boilermakers and showed he deserves the chance to play immediately this season. Yancey, a 5-foot-11, 205-pounder, is a strong runner and very consistent with his ways, which is something any coaching staff loves from its freshmen.

Needs a big summer—Brandon Cottom was well on his way to finishing the spring strong, but it came to an end too soon. Cottom, the 6-foot-4, 258-pound running back, suffered a knee injury during the Boilermakers' jersey scrimmage and missed the remainder of the spring. Cottom was in line for some serious reps before the injury. Now, Cottom must prove his worth this summer, all while showing he is back to full health.

Quote to note— "I never looked at Akeem as not being an every-down back. Akeem, despite not being the biggest guy on the field, always runs hard. That's something that I've always thought made him a good player."—Purdue quarterback Rob Henry, on running back Akeen Hunt.

Prediction— With the way his spring went, it's not too bold stating Akeem Hunt will be the starter at running back. The junior showed his blazing speed in many forms during Purdue's spring practices and especially in the spring game.

The part of the prediction which is a bit more bold is stating that David Yancey will be a key part of the running back rotation. The true freshman has showed his strengths early in his Purdue career. If this prediction holds strong with the quarterbacks prediction, you'll see two true freshmen—Danny Etling and David Yancey—in the same backfield at times.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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