Position Breakdown: Running Back

In the second part of our 'Breakdown' series we take a look at the runningback position. One of the big questions is how will the Bulls fill the hole left by Andre Hall? Read on to find out more on how USF will make up for Hall's departure.

Last Season
The most consistent position on last year's team was runningback. This had a lot to do with fact that USF boasted the best back in the Big East, Andre Hall. Hall rushed for over 1300 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. What makes these numbers stand-out even more is knowing how teams attempted to stop the run first since the Bulls passing game was nearly non-existent at times. Hall also had help from his backup Ricky Ponton. Ponton a freshman from Hillsborough High School, was used regularly to relieve Hall, he had some timely carries and rushed for over 370 yards, a 4.1 yards/carry average and he also ran for two scores.

Who's Returning
Ricky Ponton is the big name returning for next season. He will only be a sophomore, but the coaches expect him to be their full-time back next year. At 5-foot-11 205 pounds Ponton has the size to take on the wear and tear of an every down back. He's got great vision and powerful legs to finish off runs.

Ponton shows his power.

A guy who will not be returning is Chad Simpson. It is being widely reported that Simpson, who only had 16 carries last year, will seek a transfer for next season. This is not a huge loss, but it still hurts when considering the depth chart. That makes the only other returning back besides Ponton, redshirt freshmen Moise Plancher. However, after talking with the coaches I get the feeling that this kid could be something special. Since he redshirted last year I did not get a chance to see him practice much, but I hear he has serious moves in the open field. The coaches tell me he's even quicker than Simpson, and everyone saw how quick Simpson was when he returned that kick back against Louisville. Even if Plancher is as good as advertised he still may need a year of actual playing time to get acclimated to the college game the same way Ponton did.

Incoming Freshman
This year the Bulls signed two backs. One from Miami, Aston Samuels and the other from Tallahassee, Keeley Dorsey. Neither back is expected to see any significant playing time next season. They will be used mostly for depth, but could see more action if there were any injuries to Ponton or Plancher. You can also expect one of the two to be redshirted. When a team brings in two backs in the same class they usually put a redshirt on one to add a year separation between the two.

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