Spring Football Preview: Running Backs

RaiderPower.com takes a look at the Texas Tech running back situation heading into spring practice.

When asked last summer during a preseason interview with ESPN Waco 1660 if Texas Tech had a 1,000-yard back on the roster I literally scoffed at the idea.

In fact, I said no way. In my defense I added that DeAndre Washington was definitely capable of 1,000 yards from scrimmage, but that Tech simply didn't run the ball enough in its Air Raid system to produce 1,000-yard rushers. Well, I was wrong.

Washington produced arguably the best individual performance of any Red Raider in the fall by becoming the first Tech running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season since Ricky Williams in 1998.

Washington ran with urgency, surprising power for his 5-foot-8, 200-pound frame, speed and great vision behind an impressive offensive line en route to tallying 1,103 yards on 188 carries for an admirable 5.9 yards per carry. The bad news is he produced just two touchdowns, though one could argue his low scoring total had more to do with Texas Tech's red zone playcalling than anything else.

Around this time last year Washington was lauded by coaches and teammates alike for his work ethic. By all accounts Washington had a tremendous spring in 2014 which no doubt paved the way for his success last season. Will the rising senior be able to replicate it?

According to Kliff Kingsbury, the Red Raiders will only be running the ball more in 2015, so Washington and others, in what has become a deep backfield, should be given the opportunity to shine.

"We're gonna run it," Kingsbury said. "With DeAndre coming back-he had such a tremendous year, Justin Stockton, Demarcus Felton and Quinton White is a guy who has impressed me... We'd love to keep handing it off."

Stockton proved to be an effective all-around back and home run threat as a true freshman. The 5-10, 180-pound back rushed for 396 yards on 48 carries for an eye-popping 8.2 yards per carry and led the team with four touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 12 passes for 76 yards and a score and returned 16 kickoffs for 259 yards.

Justin Stockton

Stockton has also worked out of the slot some in practice as the coaching staff continues to look for more ways to get him the ball in space.

Redshirt junior Quinton White (5-7, 200) is often lauded for his improvement and has shown glimpses when given the opportunity. Yet, a running back needs touches to produce and White tallied 202 yards on just 39 total touches in 2014. It would be interesting to see what he could do with more opportunities, but the Tech backfield only figures to more competitive next season.

White needs a big spring.

One of the reasons for the crowded backfield is Demarcus Felton. After redshirting in 2014 he figures to steal carries from someone and has been described as an effective between the tackles runner capable of being a workhorse despite being listed at 5-7, 175 pounds. Felton rushed for almost 1,800 yards and 11 scores as a senior at Spring Dekaney in 2013.

Depth chart prediction: 1. Washington, 2. Stockton, 3. White, 4. Felton.

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