December 17, 2010

Position analysis: Running backs

As we look to next football season, we do a positional analysis to see what the recruiting needs remain for the Colorado State Rams. Today, we take a look at the tailbacks and fullbacks of the Rams as we head into the off-season.

Who is leaving:  After leading the Colorado State football team in rushing for the past two seasons, Leonard Mason is leaving the program. The former Junior College transfer from the College of the Desert ran for 513 yards and five this season. John Mosure has been Mr. Steady for the Rams over the past three seasons and is also moving on after a career that saw him account for roughly 1,300 yards rushing and receiving. Fullback Zac Pauga started every game of his Colorado State career and will be missed. This season, he rushed 12 times for 53 yards and caught 33 passes for 308.

Who will return:  Chris Nwoke and Raymond Carter will return some starting experience to the running back position next year. Nwoke was second on the team in rushing with 357 yards and a 4.8 yards per carry average. Carter had injuries limit him to eight games and rushed for 235 yards and scored a touchdown. Both also showed the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield too - Nwoke was a favorite receiver of Pete Thomas, catching 17 passes for 75 yards while Carter caught 15 throws for 163 yards and three touchdowns.

A look at the two-deeps:  A crowded two-deep roster at the running back position should lose some of its congestion this season thanks to the graduation of Mosure and Mason. That leaves Nwoke and Carter to fight over the starting spot. Towards the end of the season, Derek Good (13 rushes, 52 yards) was also being listed as a third-team back. Tony Drake could also re-appear in the two-deeps if he moves back to running back from his wide receiver slot.

Coming up the depth chart:  Good (25.8 yards per return average) made a name for himself as a kick returner last season, but also saw a little garbage time at running back a year ago. At the fullback spot, Joe Brown had a very promising spring at fullback and tight end before being lost on the depth chart this fall. After that, the fullback position seems up for grabs.

Whose in the boat in the class of 2011:   When you look at the list of known commitments to the Colorado State program for 2011, this group of running backs has to be considered its strength. Loveland's Dorian Brown runs a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at 220 pounds and was a high-production guy on a bad team at Thompson Valley High. All Chicagoland-area running back Kapri Bibbs did this year was rush for nearly 2,500 yards and 38 touchdowns in being named First Team All-Illinois. Abilene (Tex.) runner Davon Riddick is another 4.4 guy in the 40-yard dash and you can hear his high school coach blush over the phone when he talks about Riddick. The quote his coach offers again is that Riddick has, "it." Can't wait to see what "it," is. George Talanoa comes from Valor Christian to play fullback and anyone that has seen him play compares his favorably to departing senior fullback Zac Pauga.

Whose still out there:   In theory, Colorado State seems likely to go for one more running back or receiver in the "best available athlete," category.

Adonis Ameen-Moore has been a Colorado State target for better than a year. The Mullen star running back likes the Rams' offensive schemes and sees himself as a back who is interested in 20-rushes a game out of a single-back or I-formation.

Lewis Washington is likely to visit Colorado State as well. The Texas running back has played wideout and running back for Mansfield Summit High School and his versatility at 4.4 is attractive. Brandon Wright of Las Vegas is a high three-star prospect who hasn't ruled out Colorado State, but his landing at either Nevada or Utah seems more likely. Keep an eye on Texas running back LaFredrick Ford as well. He is another 4.5 guy who had run for better than 5,000 yards in his sophomore and junior years. Not much is known yet about Tim Gay and Veidal Johnson has been offered, but the Rams seem to have cooled on this talent.

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