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State of the program: Running Backs

Continuing our summer series with a look at our running backs.

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the summer, we will be taking a look inside the state of the Texas Tech football program. We will analyze each position as a whole and look at the players that have left the team, the current starting players, and how each position is set up for the future. This week, we analyze the running back position that is still trying to find its way.

Past

Contrary to popular belief, Tech has a rich running back history. From Bam Morris to Byron Hanspard to Sammy Morris to Baron Batch, there’s an illustrious group of alumni. Deandre Washington may have had the best career of them all, and propelled that into being the highest drafted Tech RB since 1997. Last season, it was difficult for this group to gain it’s stride. The team was dead last in the Big 12 in rushing as not one player rushed for over 500 yards. Players Justin Stockton and Quinton White, who were once thought to be the futures at the position, failed to live up to their potentials.

Present

As we head into year 2 post Deandre Washington, Kingsbury is still searching for his replacement. One bright spot for this unit last year was the emergence of true freshman Da’Leon Ward. Ward ran for 370 of his 428 yards in the final four games, and earned the starting RB role by the end of the year. Ward continued this play during spring as he was by far the most talented RB in the scrimmages. Ward suffered a left leg injury during the spring that brought his spring season to a halt and exposed our lack of depth. Demarcus Felton assumed starter duties right after and struggled through the rest of spring. Then there’s Justin Stockton who saw his looks and touches diminish significantly through the year last year. Many still believe he can still be a threat out of the backfield but at this point it remains to be seen if he can regain his previous form. One thing that will help shore up the depth is incoming graduate transfer Derrick Mitchell Jr. It is hard to gauge just how good Mitchell is, as he did not get many touches at Iowa, but adding a veteran presence for this unit that already has good rapport with Nic Shimonek can only help.

Future

Da’Leon Ward is the present and future for this unit. If he continues to grow, he can add his name to the list of great Tech RBs. Felton still has two more years with the Red Raiders himself so that tandem can definitely lead the way. Tech currently does not have any youth coming to campus next year, with the exception of JUCO transfer Desmond Nisby, but that could be changing soon. Devin Brumfield a 3 star RB from Louisiana is high on the list of targets coming in. 247 gives Tech a 100% prediction of his commitment, so that would be big get for this unit moving forward.