Position Breakdown: RB

In part 2 of our position breakdown USFnation.com takes a look at the running backs. The Bulls have a difficult task at hand in trying to find a replacement for Andre Hall, who holds nearly every rushing record at USF. This is one of the more intriguing battles on the field because every player will have legitimate shot at taking over the starting role.


The Veterans:


Walt Smith- 5-10, 175, Senior

Although small in size, Smith played outstanding at running back in junior college at Iowa Falls, Iowa. There he ran for 941 yards and 10 touchdowns before transferring to USF in 2005. In the 2006 spring game he had 19 carries for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Last season he played in every game for the Bulls either on special teams or at cornerback. Now he hopes to get another shot at the position where he feels he is best suited for.

Ricky Ponton- 5-10, 205 Sophomore

As the lone backup to Andre Hall last season, Ponton is currently the only running back on the roster with collegiate carries. In that role he carried the ball 92 times for 372 yards and two touchdowns. In 2004 he was red shirted after coming into USF as the seventh ranked overall prospect in Tampa Bay. This was a well deserving ranking for Ponton who rushed for 1,200 yards during his senior year at Hillsborough High School.

 Mike Padilla- 6-0, 230 Sophomore

The biggest back on the team will most likely be placed at the fullback position when the Bulls use two backs. Though he lacks the speed needed for a feature back, the power that Padilla has previously shown makes him the favorite to be the lead blocker. He walked on the team in 2005 after playing in high school with fellow Bulls, Taurus Johnson and Nate Allen at Cape Coral High School

 Benjamin Williams- 5-7, 190 Sophomore

Too many opportunities have not presented themselves for Williams to see the field after walking on in 2005. In the 2006 spring game he rushed seven times for 18 yards. At Lake Wales, Williams had the opportunity to play for Chad Barnhardt, the first ever USF quarterback.

 Colby Erskin- 5-9, 185 Freshman

After walking on in 2005, Erskin proved to be very impressive while playing with the scout team. If unable to get playing time as a back, he will be in the running for a spot on special teams. At Seminole High School, he excelled as a kick returner and receiver. Against St. Petersburg during his senior year, he had an 80 yard kick return.

Moise Plancher-5-9, 190 Freshman

This past spring Plancher played with the number one offense before hurting his hamstring. He is the fastest back currently on the roster and coaches have been very impressed with the athletic abilities that he has shown during practice. After being red shirted last year, he will have every possible opportunity to claim the starting spot. In His senior year at Barron Collier High School he accumulated 1,661 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns on 193 carries. In his most successful game, he set school and county record against Gulf Coast when he rushed for 362 yards on 27 carries.


The Newcomers: 

Keeley Dorsey- 5-11, 210 Freshman

The newest highly ranked recruit to join USF is known for his speed more then anything else after running a 4.4 40 yard dash. At Lincoln High School he played quarterback where he led the team to the city and district titles in 2004. The one game that helped showcase his running abilities came against Valdosta High when he had 100 yards on 10 carries

Aston Samuels-5-10, 190 Freshman

In his senior year at Glades Central High School, Samuels ran for 1,553 yards and 21 touchdowns where he averaged 119 yards per game. He is also the younger brother of sophomore Jamaal Jenkins who is one of fastest guys on team

Shawn Cannon- 5'10, 200 Junior

On August 10th, the newest member of the Bulls officially reported. Formerly at Highlands Community College in Kansas, Cannon practiced for the first time with his newest team last Thursday. As a senior at Tate High School, he rushed for 1,532 yards and 15 touchdowns. He decided to continue his football career at USF after watching the team on television last year. His arrival gives the Bulls a decent amount at depth in the backfield.

Prediction: While fans want to see the immediate impact that Dorsey brings to the field, the coaching staff seems more likely to ease him into the system. The battle will most likely be between Ricky Ponton and Moise Plancher. Currently Ponton has a slight edge in the race because of his previous game experience but Plancher's speed will help win him the feature role by the time September rolls around.




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