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Damien Thigpen is recuperating from a torn ACL.
"The Mayor" Johnathan Franklin has graduated and left for the greener pastures of the NFL. Fifteen total touchdowns and over 2,000 yards of total offense also vanishes with the departure of the Dorsey High School product.
While no current member of the squad will replicate those numbers, a starter needs to be found.
At this point, there isn't a tailback on the roster that's ready to take over the spot as the featured back. There's a great possibility that it could very well be a "running back by committee" scenario this upcoming season.
Damien Thigpen would be the natural choice as the starter. However, he's still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season against Southern Cal. Steven Manfro is also out with an injury, and will most certainly be employed in a myriad of ways on the field—ranging from in the backfield to as a receiver in the slot—upon his return.
This could finally be a breakout year for Jordon James. He possesses crazy quickness and agility, but needs to be more decisive when hitting the hole. In essence, he needs to cut down on his dancing behind the line of scrimmage.
The two other prominent options include Malcolm Jones and Paul Perkins.
A former 5-star recruit (via Scout.com) and the National Gatorade Player of the Year, Jones left the team last season—only to come back as a walk-on. He dedicated himself to getting in better shape, and it seemingly has paid off thus far. He could be the big back on the roster.
Perkins is the wild card. Out of every back on the roster, he could be the most likely to be an every-down back. The redshirt freshman from Arizona has good quickness and agility, and isn't afraid to run between the tackles.
It's not a position lacking in terms of overall talent. From Mora's standpoint, it'd probably be ideal for one back to separate themselves from the pack and truly grab the reigns of a starting spot.