A first look at 2008 - Running Backs

Aggie Websider continues to take a look at what new head coach Mike Sherman has to work with in 2008. Today, Dallas Shipp takes a look at the running backs. What returners will make the biggest impact next year? Who are the key losses from 2007?

The Aggies came into the 2007 season boasting one of the top fullbacks in the nation in Chris Alexander and a thunder and lightening type combination in the speedy Michael Goodson and the powerful Jorvorskie Lane.

They should have two thirds of that combination coming back in 2008, providing the Aggies and new head coach Mike Sherman with one of their best offensive weapons.

Lane and Goodson combined for 1392 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns this year, but those numbers should go up in 2008 with the new offense that Sherman will bring to the table.

Goodson's abilities should be utilized in several different ways, and he may stand to gain more from the changes on offense than any other player, with the exception of tight end Martellus Bennett should he choose to return for his senior year.

The biggest loss for the Aggies though is fullback Chris Alexander, who received lots of praise from Franchione and staff in the offseason as the unsung hero of the Aggies' rushing attack.

There are no proven fullbacks in 2008, which was evident when walk-on Nick Lamantia filled in for the injured Alexander earlier this season.

Even without a proven fullback, the Aggies are loaded at running back and with commits like Derrick Hall and possibly Cyrus Gray or Sam McGuffie getting into the mix, there will be lots of competition for playing time at tailback.

BOTTOM LINE:
There's lots of talent at tailback, but Sherman and Co. will need to find a fullback to lead the way. Expect a lot more touches for Goodson as well.

KEY RETURNERS (height, weight, 2008 classification)
Mike Goodson (6-0, 206)
Jorvorskie Lane (6-0, 285)

UNDERCLASSMEN WHO COULD STEP UP (height, weight, 2008 classification)
Bradley Stephens (5-10, 193, RS-FR) - He was a two-time Class 5A All-State running back with 7,803 career rushing yards at McAllen memorial High School. He ran for 1,875 yards and 23 touchdowns and was the districts leading rusher and scorer. He ran for 149 yards in the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl and was the MVP of the game. Lucky for Sherman, Stephens was able to redshirt in 2007, leaving four years of eligibility.

Keondra Smith (5-9, 199, JR) – Ran for 78 yards on 23 carries but showed flashes of what he's capable of at times.

Cornell Tarrant (6-0, 193, SO) - Averaged 7.8 yards per play on 12 carries in 2007 for 94 yards on the ground. It will be interesting to see what he can do in the new offensive scheme.

KEY LOSSES (height, weight)
Chris Alexander (5-11, 248)


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