Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
James making a Colorado defender look helpless
As Bruin fans sadly bid adieu to Johnathan Franklin, a new running back will take the reigns in the backfield.
However, no one knows at this point who that will be. It could very well be a running-back-by-committee scenario this season.
A potential candidate would have been former Pitt running back Rushel Shell. The former 5-star prospect decided to transfer to UCLA. In a somewhat bizarre situation, the potential transfer didn't work out.
The best in-house option would have been Damien Thigpen. However, Thigpen suffered a torn ACL against USC last year. His health is still a major question mark.
With that said, who are the other options?
Jordon James is a potential candidate. The Corona native rushed for 215 yards in a reserve role last year.
He was somewhat tentative to hit the hole and would rather dance in the backfield east and west as opposed to putting his foot in the ground and heading up field. His confidence also seemingly took a dive as the season wore on.
Redshirt freshman Paul Perkins is also an option. He played well at times during fall camp and during the season on the scout team. With Perkins, he has no collegiate experience. It could be tough to rely on him for the lion's share of the carries.
Steven Manfro could see some carries. However, there are durability concerns, and he could be more of a wide receiver at this point.
The biggest (literally and figuratively) wild card is Malcolm Jones. The former National High School Gatorade Player of the Year had two nonexistent years under Rick Neuheisel, and left the team this past year after the first game.
He has since rejoined the team and could be an important cog going forward. If anything, he'll provide a different element as the big back on the roster.