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Spring Football Position Overview: Running Backs

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NCAA Football: Southern California at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

With the departure of Armand Shyne from the football program, and the return of Zack Moss, I figured it’s a good time to take some stock on the running back position on the Utah football team and handicap what this positions brings to the team, and what kind of depth we’ll see in 2019.

Zack Moss

The senior to be has a chance to make some serious noise this upcoming season. He can break almost all of the Utah rushing records, and he can be the reason that Utah wins their first Pac-12 Championship. Moss has pretty much everything in his tool belt. He’s big and strong to break arm tackles, and he’s fast to pull away from guys once he gets into the second level of the defense. In 9 games last year he had almost 1100 yards, and really did it without having a heavy workload for many games. He hit the 30 carry mark one time during the season, but many of his games were in the teens, which I’m sure many fans will frustratingly remember. The question I think fans will be interested to see in fall camp is how healthy is Moss after his freak knee injury this past season. I wouldn’t expect him to lose a step or anything, but how confident will he be on the knee, and how much rust may he have. For a guy like Moss, as long as the new look offensive line gels, he’ll be in for a major season.

Devonta’e Henry-Cole

DHC missed last season due to an injury, and he can be the lightning to Moss’ thunder next season. He’s a smaller back, but he has shown some playmaking abilities in his time on the field for the Utes. In his sophomore season, DHC went for 279 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I’d love to see new OC Andy Ludwig play DHC and Moss in the backfield at the same time, and maybe get Cole out on the outside on some swing passes. DHC is not an every down back, but he’s a nice change of pace and should give defenses something to really think about.

TJ Green

I love TJ Green, he has good size and speed, and showed some flashes last season in the light duty that he got. The redshirt sophomore had 190 carries and averaged over five yards per carry. I think once Moss leaves, he may be the premier back on the team, of course the next guy may have something to say about that. But with Green, he just looks the part, and he was a major grab out of Arizona. With the loss of Shyne, I think that benefits Green more than anybody else, because I think he slides into that No. 2 running back spot behind Moss. Not to discount DHC, but I think TJ Green is more of an every down type of back. I think another spring ball under his belt will go a long way in his development.

Jordan Wilmore

Utah’s prized running back recruit the was on his way to USC, until he decommitted later in the process. Wilmore, outside of Moss, may be the most talented running back on the roster. He’s very Moss-like with his size and skillset. He won’t be on campus until the fall, but I know the staff can’t wait to get him here. It will be interesting to see how he is utilized and what kind of reps we see him get through fall camp and into the season. He’s got a ton of skill that it’ll be hard to keep him off the field, but he’s in a log jam of running backs, and it will probably come down to things like pass pro. I can’t wait to see him on campus and what kind of noise he makes.

Devin Brumfield

A true freshman last year that got some reps, even when Moss was healthy. I don’t think he’s more talented than Green or Wilmore, but the coaches like him and he has some experience. The question is how has he developed year over year, and does he keep pace with the others? He had some good moments, and a guy like this will be interesting to watch.

Micah Bernard

Like most players that join the team, I think Bernard will run with the running backs, but I wonder if his future is elsewhere on the squad. He may be a prime candidate to move positions, since the list of guys in front of him is long. Fortunately, there’s some time, so he can redshirt and the coaches can evaluate where he may fit best. Going into 2020, Moss will be gone, and the depth chart may shake up a bit.

All-in-all, the running back position appears to be stacked, especially with Moss leading the way. With the loss of Shyne, there isn’t a seriously proven No. 2 on the team, but I think with the guys like Green and Wilmore, there is plenty of potential to not have a massive drop off should Moss need a breather. I’m excited to see this group, and how these guys can help open things up for the offense.