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Miami Hurricanes Football Spring Preview: Running Backs

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The Canes will add an exciting freshman to an experienced group

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Miami Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes’ running backs will enter spring practice as one of the most talented and deep position units among the entire team. Mark Walton has now left Coral Gables, but his mid-season injury in 2017 endowed the Canes’ younger backs with critical experience to build upon moving into 2018.

The Returnees

Travis Homer, Junior

Homer did an admirable job last season as the primary workhorse in Mark Walton’s absence. In his nine games as a starter he totaled 138 attempts for 759 yards and 5 TD. At 5’11” and 200 lbs. he will continue to bear the brunt as the Canes’ primary runner both in the spring and fall. Homer leads by example, but as a junior he will be leaned on to become a more vocal leader and motivate the offensive unit as Mark Walton did.

DeeJay Dallas, Sophomore

Dallas is the offense’s X-factor. He is officially listed as a running back, but he showed last year that his talents also extend to receiver and quarterback. For the spring, DeeJay must continue to build strength and sharpen his pass blocking. Richt will undoubtedly devise further personnel packages and play calls to take advantage of Dallas’ athleticism and ability to play anywhere on the field.

Trayone Gray, Redshirt-Senior

Gray’s career, unfortunately, will culminate in 2018 with little fanfare. A highly athletic Dade county prospect, Gray never made a successful switch from his high school quarterback position to running back. Injuries became another setback which mired Gray as the Canes’ third or fourth running back option. He’ll continue to be a depth piece this spring, but is not expected to make significant contributions moving forward.

Robert Burns, Redshirt Freshman

Burns redshirted his freshman year as he was still recovering from a few of his high school ailments including a shoulder injury. Burns definitely has talent, but with no experience and nagging injuries it may be hard to him to establish himself in the RB rotation. Hopefully Burns will be in full health throughout the spring so he can add even more depth to the position group.

The Newcomer

Lorenzo Lingard, Freshman

Lingard landed in Coral Gables as an early enrollee able to participate in spring practice. He is an All-American five-star prospect with speed, power, and size. Lingard is reminiscent of the stable of running backs Richt groomed for years at University of Georgia. Coaches, players, and fans are all excited to see exactly what Lingard can contribute in 2018, so this spring session and off-season strength program will only help his chances to become a breakout star in his first year.