After practice two weeks ago, Kliff Kingsbury said that Justin Stockton was "going to be the guy this year" for Texas Tech. Heading into the past two seasons we knew who "the guy" was, in Deandre Washington. With him gone, there has been much speculation as to who would get the bulk of the carries in 2016. But now that Kliff has given Stockton his highest endorsement, it seems that he will get a majority this year. But, with such a full stable of talented running backs, and given Stockton's size, it seems hard to believe that several other backs won't get a ton of carries this year.
Stockton has been electric in the open field the past two years. Outside of Grant, Stockton has been the fastest person on the team. Kliff has done a great job finding ways to get Stockton outside of the tackles and into the open field. But when he has lined up in the backfield and tried to make plays inside of the tackles he has had issues with producing the same kind of play-making ability that he has shown outside.
If you would've asked me before spring practice who the starting running back would be heading into the season, I would've almost guaranteed it would be Demarcus Felton. I think he's a stud, and he's really going to have a great year. In his limited touches last year he shined, including a long TD run at the end of the Iowa State game. He's short, but has the physical mass to take hits more regularly than Stockton does.
I think most Tech fans thought Dauphine was going to be the person that gets the most carries this year, and he might. Dauphine is a physical specimen with the size and speed that rarely comes along. It does sound like that in the past he's just been handed the ball and let his natural athletic ability take over, but now in this new system he's having trouble picking up blitzes and seeing the play develop. The one thing that will keep a running back off the field this year is the inability to pick up a blitz and allow Patrick Mahomes to get hit. Mahomes is the most important asset to this team. If Dauphine can pick up the offense and identify blitzes earlier, he may grab the starting job and never look back.
I'd like to see Quinton White get some touches this year, and he has been a team-first guy his entire career. He's been a great pass blocker, and even playing a fullback-type position this year.
In the end, I think Stockton's experience has him ahead of the other backs. Add onto that that he played with the "ones" Saturday in Midland and made the most out of his limited touches (three carries for 44 yards and two TDs). He's able to see blitzes coming, pick them up, and protect Mahomes. He has shown ability in games to be a difference maker and makes plays, and is good at catching the ball out of the backfield. Right now, it makes sense that he's leading the pack, but I still find it hard to believe that he's going get the majority of carries through the entire year.