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College Fantasy Football: Running Back Position Battles

Todd at CollegeFootballGeek.comCorrespondent IAugust 29, 2009

EAST LANSING - NOVEMBER 1:  Zach Brown #30 of the  Wisconsin Badgers carries the ball during the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on November 1, 2008 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

A look at some key college fantasy football RB battles ongoing at camps across the country, courtesy of CollegeFootballGeek.com.


Akron

The Participants: Alex Allen, DeVoe Torrence, Norman Shuford

The Skinny:
Alex Allen has returned from a hip injury, but the waters still look muddy in figuring out how the running game will shake out. In the most recent scrimmage Torrence had the best stats with 32 yards on 9 carries and a TD, followed by Shuford with 10 carries for 24 yards, and Allen with 5 carries for 12 yards and a TD.

Without a dominant runner this year, expect to see the Zips offense to rely on the arm of Chris Jacquemain and a RBBC situation should emerge behind him.

The Leader:
DeVoe Torrence / Norman Shuford / Alex Allen


Buffalo

The Participants: Brandon Thermilus, Mario Henry

The Skinny:
Stud James Starks is out for the year with a shoulder injury.  Brandon Thermilus, the son of former NFL player Alonzo highsmith, will assume the No. 1 role.

The Leader:
Brandon Thermilus


Boise State

The Participants: Jeremy Avery, D.J. Harper, Doug Martin

The Skinny:
Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper went into fall camp being viewed as equal, and nothing has changed since then. The coaches are calling them co-starters and they should share an equal load of the carries.

Harper may have an advantage though. He has a bigger frame and a hard running style. Exactly what coaches look for in a short yardage/goal line back. Martin is planned on only stepping in if an injury occurs to one of the co-starters.

The Leader:
Jeremy Avery/D.J. Harper

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Colorado State

The Participants: Josh Mosure, Leonard Mason, Chris Nwoke, Lou Greenwood

The Skinny: Head coach Steve Fairchild stated that Mason and Mosure will split reps for the season opener. Freshmen Nwoke and Greenwood could see time as well, and the coaching staff wants to determine how much time they could see so they can decide who to redshirt and who to play.

“More often, it will be by committee,” Fairchild said. “How much each guy has will be determined as we go through the season.”

The Leader:
Josh Mosure/Leonard Mason


Iowa

The Participants: Jewel Hampton, Jeff Brinson, Paki O’Meara, Brandon Wegher

The Skinny:
Jewel Hampton remains sidelined with a chronic knee injury that just won’t get healthy. The more time he misses, the longer his return becomes as he must work to get back into football shape.

There is little word coming out of Hawkeye camp on how the other RBs stack up, but we are still standing behind Jeff Brinson being the starting RB for the season opener.

The Leader:
Jeff Brinson


Michigan State

The Participants: Larry Caper, Edwin Baker

The Skinny:
As expected, both freshmen Caper and Baker have looked good in camp.  The question is whether there will be a clear No. 1 and 2, or whether they will be more of a 1A and 1B.  For the moment, Caper appears to have the slight edge here.

The Leader:
Larry Caper


Mississippi

The Participants: Brandon Bolden, Cordera Eason, Enrique Davis, Devon Thomas

The Skinny: The coaches haven’t officially listed the RB depth chart but recent comments by head Coach Houston Nut imply that Brandon Bolden will be the No. 1 RB. Expect Cordera Eason and WR Dexter McCluster to get the bulk of the other carries.

The Leader:
Brandon Bolden


Minnesota

The Participants: Duane Bennett, DeLeon Eskridge, Kevin Whaley

The Skinny:
Bennett appears to be fully recovered from his 2008 knee injury and has been taking most of the first team reps in practice.

The Leader:
Duane Bennett


Nevada

The Participants: Vai Taua, Michael Ball, Luke Lippincott

The Skinny:
Vai Taua is looking more like the clear No. 1 RB here.  Lippincott is reportedly going to be a “jack of all trades,” playing a little H-back, lining up in the backfield and in the slot. 

The coaching staff will make sure he gets plenty of touches, but they will mostly not be in a conventional RB-type mode.  The guy who will spell Taua at RB is freshman Michael Ball, who has turned heads since arriving on campus.

The Leader:
Vai Taua


New Mexico

The Participants: James Wright, Demond Dennis, A.J. Butler

The Skinny:
Wright was the early leader for the starting job, but it’s been Dennis that has turned heads this camp.  Don’t be surprised if this is RBBC with Wright being the goal line back.

The Leader:
James Wright, Demond Dennis, A.J. Butler


Northern Illinois

The Participants: Me’co Brown, Chad Spann, Justin Anderson

The Skinny:
Me’co Brown has emerged as the starter through his strong fall camp performance. He will not be a workhorse back though. Justin Anderson and Chad Spann will see carries and eat into Brown’s stats. The odds are that this will stay RBBC throughout the entire season.

The Leader:
Me’co Brown


Pittsburgh

The Participants: Dion Lewis, Shariff Harris, Ray Graham

The Skinny:
Freshman early enrollee Lewis was the spring star.  Another freshman, Ray Graham, arrived on campus this summer and has been all the rage.  Harris was suspended from the team for a few weeks.

The Leader:
Dion Lewis is still the No. 1, but watch out for Graham


Rutgers

The Participants: Joe Martinek, Jourdan Brooks, Kordell Young

The Skinny:
Young has been out with an injury, allowing Martinek to get most of the first team reps this August.  “Jersey” Joe is a fan favorite, but can he assume the role of feature back once everyone else is healthy?

The Leader:
Joe Martinek


San Diego State

The Participants: Atiyyah Henderson, Brandon Sullivan, Davon Brown

The Skinny:
Henderson appeared to be leading this group, but he has an undisclosed arm injury that could keep him out of action for an extended period of time.

The coaches like all three freshman RBs, but many of these young backs are dinged up. Lack of durability and plenty of talented options makes us believe this will stay a RBBC situation unless one of these guys catches on fire in game action. 

The Leader: Brandon Sullivan


South Florida

The Participants: Mike Ford, Jamar Taylor, Mo Plancher

The Skinny: Taylor is out six to eight weeks with an injury, Ford has been suspended for the first two games, leaving the starting gig for Plancher.  He is an early season consideration based upon USF’s weak schedule. 

The Leader:
Mo Plancher


Texas

The Participants: Vondrell McGee, Cody Johnson, Fozzy Whitaker

The Skinny:
Cody Johnson started off the spring as the top RB, but Vondrell McGee and Fozzy Whitaker overtook him when he went down with a hamstring injury.  McGee was recently names the starter for the opening game.

The Leader:
Vondrell McGee


Texas A&M

The Participants: Christine Michael, Cyrus Gray

The Skinny:
Christine Michael has been the star of August camp.  He is the future.  But can he supplant Gray as the top dog in early 2009?

The Leader:
Christine Michael, Cyrus Gray


Tulsa

The Participants: Charles Clay, Jamad Williams, Alex Singleton

The Skinny:
The coaching staff has been touting Clay all off-season, and he should be the top dog.  However, if the staff decides to get cute with Clay, lining him up all over the place, it could open the door for Williams to put up some nice stats himself.  Singleton is a talented freshman who turned down a schollie from LSU to attend Tulsa.

The Leader:
Charles Clay


Wisconsin

The Participants: John Clay, Zach Brown

The Skinny:
Zach Brown has all but been named the starter for the opening game.  Clay has even been quoted as saying he has no problem being the backup.  Very weird stuff going on in Madison.  The bottom line is that Brown outplayed Clay in August camp.  Clay has always battled weight issues and

The Leader:
Zach Brown


Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, your premier destination for all things college fantasy football.

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