One is a true sophomore who starred at RB at a Miami high school, leading them to multiple State Championships.
The other is a true freshman who starred at RB at a Miami high school, leading them to multiple State Championships.
And while they share other similarities, and some key differences, there's not debate that the tandem of Joseph Yearby and Mark Walton are the perfect combination for the Miami Hurricanes at Running Back.
The older of the two, Joe Yearby is the starter for the Canes at RB, and his talent can be seen as he slashes, dashes, and cuts through opposing defenses.
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To this point of his sophomore year, Yearby has run for 311 yards and 3 TDs on 41 carries, averaging a robust 7.59 yards per carry and 103.7 yards per game. Not only has Yearby been a steady performer running the ball, but he's also impacted games with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Yearby has caught 6 passes for 110 yards and a TD in 3 games.
What Yearby really does well is make people miss. He's shifty, and elusive, and a step faster than he was as a freshman, a fact that is even more impressive when you consider the fact that he's put on nearly 20 lbs of muscle since the end of last season. Yearby has continued to evolve his game, and looks to be one of the top backs in the ACC.
His counterpart, the yin to Yearby's yang, the jelly to Yearby's peanut butter is freshman Mark Walton. Like Yearby, Walton was a highly touted recruit, carrying a 4-star rating in the 2015 recruiting class. And, he's wasted no time proving that he was worthy of that lofty ranking.
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While Yearby is leading the team statistically, Walton's contributions cannot be overlooked. The freshman has rushed for 150 yards and 4 TDs on 34 carries, and is averaging 4.41 yards per carry and 50.0 yards per game. Walton, who excels at catching the ball out of the backfield, has 5 catches for 33 yards so far this season.
But, those numbers could be even more impressive if Walton didn't have 2 TDs called back during the Nebraska game. He had a 19 yd run and a 37 yard catch-and-run called back due to penalty. Those plays, though they do not factor in his official stats, show the kind of electric playmaker Walton is and can be.
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Joe Yearby and Mark Walton aren't just the perfect combination based on statistical performance. They are great teammates and have a wonderful rapport.
"Me and Mark are a 1-2 punch" Yearby said after the FAU game. "Anything I can do, he'll come back and do the same thing." Yearby added that he's "glad to have him (Walton) at RB" with him at Miami.
Walton echoed those positive sentiments. "I mean, we keep feeding off each other", he said after the FAU game. "We're just motivating each other."
That camaraderie and connection has been a long time in the making. Yearby said that he and Walton "grew up together, and played little league ball together." Yearby added that he's always looked at Walton "like a little brother."
Now that both of these talented players have grown into physical, dominating backs at the college level, their brotherhood, their connection, their perfect combination of skills has helped propel the Canes to their first 3-0 start since 2013.
And, hopefully, they will maintain their high level of play as Miami marches into the heart of their schedule.
If the beginning of the year is any indication, the perfect combination of Yearby and Walton will do just that.