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Recruiting 2014: State of the Running Backs

Duke Johnson is on the verge of blossoming into a top shelf FBS back but there is precious little depth behind him. What does that mean for the state of the Canes 2014 class. Well one elite player is already on board, who will join him?

Joe Yearby
Joe Yearby

Current Team:

Seniors: Eduardo Clements, Maurice Hagens


Sophomores: Dallas Crawford, Duke Johnson

Freshmen: Danny Dillard (RS), Gus Edwards, Ray Lewis III

Duke Johnson is the clear cut starter here and one of the most electric players in the game right now. He has the ability to make a run at the Heisman before his career at Miami is over. The team is woefully thin behind him however. Clements will likely never play again due to a neck injury. Hagens has generated some encouraging buzz so far and might be able to handle a few carries in short yardage work behind Duke. Crawford is more of a Swiss Army knife style scat back who will try to find his niche in what will likely be limited touches.

The freshman group is somewhat underwhelming with Gus Edwards being the main cog of the group as the only one that looks to have potential starting ability down the line.


7 bodies are on the roster but 2 SR’s leaving after the year and 2 that look like bit time players. That leaves Duke (who could bolt to the NFL after 2015), Crawford, and Edwards as the only contributors heading into the 2014 season. Given that situation and the oft injured nature of the position, Miami will be looking to take 2 if not 3 running back during the 2014 cycle.

2014 Recruits:

Current Commitments: Joseph Yearby (4*)

Current Targets: Dalvin Cook (4*), Sony Michel (5*), Derrell Scott (4*), Brandon Powell (4*)

Current commit Joe Yearby might be the best pure RB in the State of Florida and could be the most ready made player at the position in the entire 2014 class. He will almost definitely earn snaps immediately as a Frosh. Miami will have to hold off some competition for him through the fall.

Dalvin Cook is arguably the best fit next to Yearby in this class and there’s no doubt that his Central teammates and current Miami commits are trying to convince him of just that. The flipside is the Cook is considered a strong Gator pledge at the moment and is openly recruiting others on their behalf. That said, there is some underlying good news for Cane fans as Cook has plenty of reasons to frequent the Miami campus during the fall and I’ve consistently been told that Miami will have their say in this before it’s all said and done.

Sony Michel is the 3rd of the big time South Florida trio of backs. He is a solid UGA commit at the moment and there’s no signs of that ever changing. The Miami staff seems to have let things settle on that front for a while but it’s safe to assume that they will pick up a heated recruitment of him sometime during the fall.

Brandon Powell is yet another local target that is currently committed elsewhere. Tennessee is his school of choice at the moment and Miami is hoping that is didn’t get to the party too late as they just recently threw their hat in the ring with an offer. Powell is more of a scatback style burner that would also be a good complement to Yearby in this class.

Finally, the lone out of state player on the list at the moment is North Carolina RB Derrell Scott. Miami is trailing a few programs on this battle but their do have some fairly strong interest so it’s worth noting him just in case.

How do they fit?:

As I do with each installment of this series, I will take a look at how this cycle could impact the 2015 team which is a couple of years down the road. Things don’t look great as far as landing that coveted 2nd back right now but there’s no doubt that Miami will either land one from the list above or add a name that is off the radar right now the same way they did with Edwards last cycle. For the sake of this exercise will project the likeliest of the unlikely options to them, that being Dalvin Cook. That brings the updated depth chart for the 2015 season to this (Keep in mind that doesn't include any 2015 signees):

 photo RB_zpsf58aa806.png

Given that there is and always will be some attrition of the next couple of seasons (I.E. Duke turning pro), you can see that the 2015 class can fill in the bottom portion of that depth chart and allow for two elite backs in this potential 2014 class to have the lions share of the workload to themselves by year 2 into their career. Hence why it’s become vital that Miami look to add a 2nd elite talent at this position in this cycle. There’s a really good chance for the Miami staff to really get the depth and talent of this position taken care of for the foreseeable future.

Previous Positions Profiled in This Series:

Offensive Line

Wide Receiver

Corner Backs