It's almost time, boys and girls. National Signing day is just a little over a day away, and there is still a lot to settle in this year's recruiting class. Today, we continue our series of examining the 2015 Miami roster with a look at the running backs, a position with a rich history at the University of Miami, and one with plenty of story lines on the recruiting trail this year.
Who We Lost
Duke Johnson - Nothing really noteworthy about this guy. You might not have even noticed him on the roster, really. Shouldn't be too hard to replace. Moving on, nothing to see here.
OK, in all seriousness, replacing the school's all-time leading rusher is not going to be an easy task. Not only did Duke lead the team by a mile with over 1,600 rushing yards, but he was also the team's third leading receiver. Duke will be dearly missed by all Hurricanes fans.
Who We Have
Joseph Yearby - The apparent heir to Duke Johnson's seat as the Miami workhorse, Yearby has all the tools to be an elite college running back. He was one of the best players from last year's recruiting class who now has a year of experience under his belt and is another year removed from a broken leg that ended his high school career. His vision is excellent and makes quick cuts in-between blockers. He is not a burner that will simply run away from people, but is plenty fast and more than makes up for it in the way he plays the position. The starting job is his to lose, in my opinion
Gus Edwards - "The Bus" is, in a word, big (as his nickname implies). 6'2 230 is a decent size for a linebacker, let alone someone linebackers are supposed to be able to tackle. Edwards was a signing day addition from the 2013 recruiting class and has shown some steady improvement throughout his career. When he first came to Miami, he ran more like a scat back than a power back. He has learned to use his size, however, and was second on the team with 6 rushing touchdowns. He should see plenty of carries behind Yearby this season.
Walter Tucker, FB - Tucker is the team's fullback, and he is good at what he does. He isn't going to wow you when he gets the ball, but he delivers punishing blows as a lead blocker, or even coming from the weak side. You may remember the block at the end of this play (lets all just pretend this game ended after this play as well).
Who We are Getting
Mark Walton - Walton is a four star running back out of Booker T. Washington in Miami. He is notable for originally being part of the 2016 class, but reclassified to the 2015 class in the middle of this season. He is a very solid back who has plenty of talent and, as you can see above, will provide some MUCH needed depth to this position.
You probably noticed a very glaring absence from this list. If you haven't heard the news, i'm sorry to be the one to tell you that 4 star back Jordan Scarlett is no longer committed to Miami. You can read more on that from our recruiting updates HERE.
Miami is going to have some talent at the running back position this year, but it is a position where they may be a little thin. Losing Scarlett (and, less recently, Dexter Williams) from this recruiting class is a really big blow that could have an impact in 2015. Injuries to someone like Yearby or Edwards could really put Miami in a bind on game days. There is also always the possibility of Miami adding another running back in the next few days to this recruiting class. If they are able to stay healthy, Yearby and Edwards should provide a nice one-two punch and provide balance to Brad Kaaya's passing game. If Yearby is able to have a breakout season and be a workhorse, it will make the depth issues less of a concern. Losing someone like Duke Johnson would be hard for any program to deal with, but Miami has some pieces in place to soften the blow.
Enjoy National Signing Day, Canes fans! Stay tuned to State of the U for all of your up-to-date news on Miami recruiting. Go Canes!