Position Review: Running Backs

Now that the regular season is over, Pony Stampede will review and grade all position groups. Today we take a look at the SMU running backs!

Zach Line Review

Zach Line was Zach Line this season for the Mustangs and earned First-Team All-Conference USA honors after leading C-USA with 108 yards per game. Line finished his historic career at SMU with 1,207 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns and also added 32 receptions for 231 yards. Line is the second Mustang to have surpassed 1,000 yards in at least three seasons. With one game to go, Line's career rushing totals are 4,114 yards rushing and 46 touchdowns on the ground. Line ranks as the second all-time rusher at SMU and his 276 points are third in SMU's history.

Line provided SMU with another solid season running the ball and even though he did not top 100 yards rushing in his last four games, Line was a threat averaging over four yards per carry and with Garrett Gilbert playing mistake-free football, he was able to provide SMU with a way to control the clock. Line had to take on much of the load with the Mustangs not having another back with over 60 yards on the season but did so extremely well. After Line graduates, the Mustangs will definitely miss Line as their workhorse and will have a tough time replacing him.

Grade: A-

The Other Guys

SMU's second leading rusher on the season was Garrett Gilbert with 248 yards rushing and that is the most troubling thing for the Mustangs. Walk-on Luke Seeker was SMU's third leading rusher and Rishaad Wimbley only totaled 27 yards on the season so the Mustangs were forced to rely solely on Line, which is fine because Line performed so well. The only problem with that is that SMU does not have anyone on the roster that gives the SMU team much hope for next season. Without anyone to give Line a breather or provide a change of pace back, the Mustangs were left to rely solely on Line.

Grade: D

The Future

It's not looking so great for the Mustangs. Losing a premier back like him will hurt, but there is some depth at the position even though it is relatively unproven depth. Rishaad Wimbley played sparingly and Jared Williams sat out after his terrible injury in the BBVA Compass Bowl last year. But both of those guys had decent freshmen years after Line was lost for the season. Luke Seeker was the back that got the most carries in mop up duty, but it is unknown whether he is truly the backup. The Mustangs are waiting for K.C. Nlemchi to set up, but that has yet to happen. Prescott Line could be just as good as his brother but only time will tell.

For Coach Jones' offense to have any hope of balance next year, someone will need to step up of a committee of running backs will have to do until someone earns enough of Jones' trust to carry the load. But if there is anybody that can fill the role of Line, it's JUCO transfer Traylon Shead. The former Texas Longhorn is a big back like Line and should fit in well. Air Force transfer Tanner Rice, brother of offensive lineman Sam Rice, is a wild card after sitting out this season due to transfer rules.

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