Looking at Utah's running back performance in 2015 and what they'll have in 2016

It was a great season by Devontae Booker and the future looks bright behind Joe Williams

The expectations were high and they were close to being met, at least until the one thing that couldn't happen to Utah football happened......Devontae Booker suffered an injury that ended his season. Yes, Joe Williams stepped in admirably, but there's not a human being on this planet that can't tell me with a straight face that Utah loses to UCLA with Booker on the field, and that was the difference between a Pac 12 South title and a co-champ finish that sent Utah to the Vegas Bowl instead of possible trip to Pasadena. Oh, what could have been.

We'll start with Booker and the tremendous season he posted in 2015. 1261 yards in just 10 games, 11 touchdowns and 37 catches on top of that. He averaged 4.7 yards a carry and often put the offense on his back, carrying them to victory time and time again. Booker was an absolute workhorse that allowed for some success in the passing game, carrying the ball 31+ times on five seperate occassions, including back to back 34 carry weeks leading up to his injury. Did the wear and tear of the season finally get to the all conference back? Maybe, and I'm sure the Utah coaches wish they would have sprinkled in more Williams during the season, but it is what it is. Either way, Utah got a very productive season out of Booker and he, more than anyone else on offense, put them in a position to win the South.

Joe Williams late season emergency service gives a lot of hope for 2016. The junior back ran for over 100 yards against both UCLA and Colorado and finished the year with an average of 4.6 yards per carry on 104 attempts with 3 touchdowns and 11 catches. After Williams? Bupkis. It was a one man show for 10 weeks and another man's show for the final 3. Utah seems to get the most out of their backs, so I wouldn't worry much going forward, but getting experience for some of the younger guys was not a priority in 2015 and you have to wonder if that will bite them next season.

If there's one thing Utah has going into 2016, it's depth at running back, with 9 players expected to either return or join the team. Barring a big surprise, Joe Williams will resume the starters duties that he took over for the final 3 games of 2015. We'll see what Troy McCormick looks like coming off of an ACL injury and if Utah wants to use him in the Britain Covey role next year as a slot guy. Thomas McDonald is a good JC back, something Utah has had a tremendous amount of success with in recent years. Behind those three, there are a bunch of unknowns or question marks. Sanders-Williams could end up moving back to linebacker due to depth concerns there. Dre'vian Young has a couple of knees that have been through so much trauma that you have to wonder if he'll ever be able to make an impact. Monte Seabrook is coming off a redshirt year and could end up at any number of positions. Marcel Brooks-Brown might be the most intriguing back on the roster. He redshirted in 2015, but has the bulk to be a solid power book in situational work. Zach Moss and Devontae Henry-Cole are incoming freshman backs from Florida that figure to redshirt with all of the depth in front of them.

Projected 2016 Depth Chart

Joe Williams (Sr)

Troy McCormick (Jr)

Thomas McDonald (Jr)

Marcus Sanders-Williams (Sr)

Dre'vian Young (Jr)

Monte Seabrook (R-So)

Marcel Brooks-Brown (R-Fr)

Zach Moss (Fr)

Devontae Henry-Cole (Fr)


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