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Cincinnati Football: Analyzing the Running Back Position for the Bearcats

The 2016 season featured a triple headed attack of running backs out of the backfield for the Bearcats. They were effective runners all year long, but a significant contributor in Hosey Williams will be long gone by the time next season rolls around. Who will replace him and who is coming in? We take a look.

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The rushing attack for the Bearcats last season was puzzling at times. It was focused around running a three-headed attack, which I have nicknamed the Three-Headed Hydra, that featured Hosey Williams, Mike Boone, and Tion Green. Between the three of them, they tallied over 2,100 total yards and 21 touchdowns. It was decent production out of a decent amount of carries. All three of them managed to average just about five yards a carry and had their share of good games, yet heading into next season some questions still need answered, including why Mike Boone wasn't given more carries despite having significantly more dominant production and if seniority will be a key this season in the backfield as it was last season. Let's take a look at the grades for last season and the projected value heading into the next.

Hosey Williams - 2015: C+, 2016 N/A

As a senior, Williams found himself with the ball a great deal of the time and was only 13 carries behind the snap leader in Tion Green. Williams had the most yards on the season with 777 for an average of 5.6 yards per carry. He only tallied four touchdowns, but one of them was an 84-yarder midway through the season against Connecticut. Williams was a senior this past season and will not be returning to the Bearcats. Though he had a good season, the Bearcats will be just fine without his services.

Tion Green - 2015: C-, 2016 C+

Green is more of a bruiser than a rocket out of the backfield, but he was an effective runner in between the tackles. Green finished the season with the most carries on the team (151) for 729 yards and an average of just under five yards a carry with 4.8. He added eight touchdowns to that resume and a solid 13 catches for 101 yards. He will be returning to the Bearcats this upcoming season and in my eyes should be a third down or low yardage back that they send in with a few extra linemen but, due to Tuberville's tendency to lean toward seniority over success, he will likely be the full-time starter. I see him filling the mold of Hosey Williams perfectly.

Mike Boone - 2015: B, 2016 B to A-*

When Mike Boone came onto the field this past season, he ignited the offense with spectacular explosion out of the backfield and had acceleration that his linemen were not used to. He would explode to ten yards before anyone had even noticed, which is why having significantly less carries than his superiors (only 104) he managed to have the most touchdowns with nine, the second most yards with 749, and the highest yards per carry average with an astounding 7.2. He made the most of the carries he got and in my eyes should undoubtedly be the starter going into next year. More likely though, he will probably serve time behind Green once again, which is why he receives the B ranking. If he is the full-time starter and gets around 300 carries on the season, he will undoubtedly eclipse 1,500 yards.

Other Names to Listen For

There are several guys in the depths of the lineup that many should be looking for in garbage time or even just to be excited for. First up is Chad Banschbach who saw some time this year against UCF most notably and is heading into his junior year. The rest are redshirt freshmen with similar skill sets to Mike Boone's as listed above. Taylor Boose and Joshuwa Holloman are both young, fast, and explosive athletes that should make their mark on special teams. If I had to give an edge to either, I would have to roll with Holloman myself. Meanwhile, the most significant recruit to look forward to is Gerrid Doaks, who will likely come in labeled as an athlete, but played mostly running back in high school.