But that talented trio of Tevin Moore, D’Alex Rockingham and James Milledge gives running backs coach Brad Reynolds plenty of reasons to smile.
“I have been very, very pleased with the way those three have come in and picked up the offense,” Reynolds said. “They have learned their assignments and they have a strong work ethic. They push each other real well and there is not a big dropoff in talent level from one player to the next.
“They are all good enough to where when one comes on the field and one goes off, you don’t have to change anything. We just can continue to do what we do, which makes things a lot easier for us as coaches on offense.”
Off of last year’s team, the Bobcats lost Justin Harris to graduation and Thamaz Taylor was moved from running back to cornerback.
That opened the door for Moore, Rockingham and Milledge to come in and play immediately.
Moore (5-11, 196) received plenty of accolades during his career at Stringer High School.
He rushed for 3,164 total yards as a senior for Stringer. He rushed for 2,471 yards, 41 touchdowns and led the Red Devils to the 1A state semifinals. He led Stringer to the state title as a junior.
“Tevin is a great athlete,” Reynolds said. “He runs the ball really, really hard and has good hands out of the backfield. He has learned to block on pass protection. He is just an extraordinary athlete and playmaker. You want to put the ball in his hands because he can give you the best chance of winning that you can possibly have.”
Rockingham (5-9, 206) enjoyed an excellent career at 3A power Hazlehurst.
He rushed for 1,479 yards and scored 18 touchdowns in 2013. Rockingham also rushed for over 2,300 yards and scored 27 touchdowns in his prep career.
“D’Alex had a stellar high school career at Hazlehurst and won a couple of state championships,” Reynolds said. “He and Tevin are cut out of the same mold. They are both very athletic and can do anything you ask them to do. It is amazing to watch D’Alex’s athletic ability. He has speed, power, good hands out of the backfield – all of the attributes you would want in a player.”
Milledge (6-0, 215) was a two-way standout at Petal. He rushed for almost 1,000 yards and scored 10 touchdowns as a senior for the Panthers.
“Milledge is a bigger back than the other two,” Reynolds said. “He is more of a power guy. He moved over late in camp from linebacker, but he’s picking things up well. He is learning the offense. He had a good career at Petal and is doing well for us.”
At the moment, there is no clear leader for the starting role. But all three players will see considerable playing time.
“It’s a tossup right now as to who will be the No. 1 guy,” Reynolds said. “They are all pushing each other to try and see who will be the top guy. Overall as a coach, I could not be more pleased with this group.”
Stephen Cowan (5-7, 173) of Gautier is listed as a redshirt for this season.
The Bobcats open the season at 6:30 p.m. (EST) on Aug. 28 at Northwest Mississippi. The game will air on www.jcjc.tv.
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