UConn’s Donald Brown led the nation in rushing last year with 2,083 yards. Not surprisingly, the junior decided to leave school on a high note and bolt for the NFL.
But can the Huskies produce another top-shelf fantasy running back in 2009? Let's dive into this issue and examine who might be up to the task.
Cast of Characters:
Andre Dixon (senior)
Jordan Todman (sophomore)
What’s the scoop?
We’re just going to cut to the chase here: we don’t think UConn will produce a fantasy stud at the running back position this fall. Well, at least not one nearly the caliber of a Donald Brown.
There are a couple reasons for this:
1. The Huskies have a new offensive coordinator in Joe Moorhead (Akron’s O.C. from 2007-2008). They are scrapping their conservative, run-heavy offense for a more wide open, no-huddle attack.
This isn’t crippling news for the running game, but there is no doubt the passing game will be emphasized in greater fashion this fall.
2. History doesn’t suggest it. Contrary to popular perception, UConn isn’t exactly a running back factory. Coach Randy Edsall has used a split-back attack more often than not. Since joining the Big East in 2004, the Huskies have produced only two 1,000-yard rushers: Brown in 2008 and Cornell Brockington in 2004.
Leading UConn rushers in the Big East era:
Donald Brown—367 carries, 2083 yards, 18 TDs
Jordan Todman—47 carries, 296 yards, 3 TDs
Andre Dixon—9 carries, 37 yards, 0 TDs
Andre Dixon—167 carries, 828 yards, 3 TDs
Donald Brown—170 carries, 821 yards, 8 TDs
Donald Brown—161 carries, 896 yards, 7 TDs
Terry Caulley—120 carries, 674 yards, 3 TDs
Terry Caulley—141 carries, 659 yards, 6 TDs
Lou Allen—86 carries, 381 yards, 3 TDs
Cornell Brockington—85 carries, 337 carries, 4 TDs
Cornell Brockington—238 carries, 1,218 yards, 11 TDs
Chris Bellamy—71 carries, 296 yards, 3 TDs
The candidates to tote the rock for the Huskies in 2009 boil down to Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman.
Dixon lead the team in rushing in 2007, but is 2008 campaign was riddled with bad luck and poor decisions. Slowed by injury, he watched from the sideline as Donald Brown grabbed the headlines.
Then, in December he was arrested on a drunken driving charge and was suspended from the team indefinitely.
This marked the second time in two years Dixon had been disciplined by Coach Edsall. If he can keep his nose clean this offseason, he will be in the mix for carries this fall.
Sophomore-to-be Jordan Todman made the most of his opportunity in the No. 2 role last fall, averaging over six yards per carry.
He is a smaller, shiftier back who could be a nice fit in the new offense.
If your fantasy draft was today (03/11/09)....
Dixon and Todman are both worthy of draft consideration in the late rounds. It’s certainly possible that one could emerge as a 1,000-yard rusher, but don’t expect Donald Brown-like production.
History doesn’t suggest it, and the new offensive philosophy won’t help either.
Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, your premier resource for college fantasy football information. Check us out.