February 21, 2008

Let the competition for carries begin

Who's back -





RUNNING BACK:





Kevin Moyd (Jr.) Had as many special teams points in 2007 as he did carries
Demetrius Sumler (So.) Was the Buffs' second leading rusher with 335 yards last fall
Brian Lockridge (So.) Led CU running backs with a 5.6 yards per carry average in '07
Cory Nabors (So.) Saw action on special teams last season as a redshirt freshman
Arthur Jaffee (R-Fr.) Was a preferred walk-on from Boulder (Colo.) Fairview last fall





FULLBACK:


Maurice Cantrell* (Sr.) Started five games in 2006 and two last season
Jake Behrens* (Jr.) Was credited with three starts in 2007. Rushed for 33 yards.



Who's gone -







Hugh Charles* (RB) Ranks sixth in school history with 2,659 career rushing yards
Byron Ellis (RB) Was the Buffaloes' best running back in pass protection
Samson Jagoras (FB) Transfer from WNMU, saw limited action the last two seasons




* - Indicates player started in 2007.



Overview -



The graduation of Hugh Charles and Byron Ellis will create a wide open competition at the running back position this off-season. Many in Buff nation were ready to anoint Darrell Scott the next starter when he put on a Colorado Buffaloes hat during his signing day announcement, but a number of other talented backs will be competing hard to be the feature back as well.



Brian Lockridge and Demetrius Sumler both have one year of playing experience under their belt and they will have the benefit of being on campus for spring practices.



The energetic Lockridge was one of six true freshmen to see the field last fall. He made his college debut in week three against Florida State. A week later against Miami of Ohio, Lockridge rushed for 90 yards and one touchdown. He finished the regular season with 213 yards on just 38 carries.



There has been some debate as to whether Lockridge, at just 5-foot-7, 175-pounds, has the size to be a feature back at the Big 12 level or if he will be more of a situational back of the course of the next three years.



Sumler had an impressive debut, subbing in for the injured Hugh Charles against Colorado State last fall. He rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in the game. His performance the rest of his redshirt freshman campaign was up and down. He scored three touchdowns against Baylor but his 3.4 yards per carry average last season was the worst among CU's running backs.



At 210-pounds, Sumler has the size to compete at the Big 12 level. The question is whether or not he has the speed to be a feature back.



Junior Kevin Moyd and sophomore Cory Nabors, along with walk-on Arthur Jaffee, will also be competing this spring. Moyd and Nabors saw action on special teams last fall.



Now on to the subject of Darrell Scott.



Many believe he is the type of running back that will compete for a Heisman Trophy down the road. Rivals.com has a pretty impressive track record when it comes to ranking the nation's top running back each cycle: Reggie Bush in 2003, Adrian Peterson in 2004, Jonathan Stewart in 2005, Chris Wells in 2006 and Joe McKnight in 2007. But the last top ranked running back CU signed (Marcus Houston) didn't turn out to be the player that the coaches, analysts and fans were expecting.



Scott is a physical specimen. He stands in at 6-foot-1, 215-pounds and has 4.32-forty speed. He rushed for 7,507 yards and 98 during his high school career. He even averaged 47 yards per punt.



Don't forget about Ray Polk, as many seemed to do on signing day after Scott made his announcement. The Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep standout was ranked as the nation's 11th best running back prospect from the 2008 class. Like Scott, Polk is a well-rounded back. He is fast; he can run inside and outside, and according to his high school coach, he is also a good pass blocker.



Speedy Rodney Stewart will also join the mix this summer. He will be competing immediately for playing time as a return specialist. Stewart averaged 10.8 yards per carry as a senior.



At fullback, the Buffaloes lose Samson Jagoras to graduation but they will return two players in Maurice Cantrell and Jake Behrens that have plenty of experience.

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