A freshman record breaker, a proved senior workhorse, and three hybrid fullbacks who are athletic enough to play full time at tailback, and oh yeah one of the best return men in the nation make up your 2014 UTEP running backs.
All through spring, and fall camp, UTEP has listed Aaron Jones and Nathan Jeffery as Or's on top the depth chart, reasons why: you will see both on the field in certain packages, and both will probably start.
Jones of course is coming off a banner freshman year, running for over 800 yards including three games where he went over 100 yards on the ground, Jeffery is fully healthy and is UTEP's best athlete.
During camp there were sets with both Jones and Jeffery in the backfield, usually it was Jones who would be motioned and moved around, though both can be moved around to create havoic on a defense pre-snap wise.
Both are very capable catching passes out of the backfield which UTEP will do more of this season, though Jones has that extra ability to stretch the field if Jameill Showers sees a match up he likes.
Behind these two the wealth is plentiful in depth.
Josh Bell, Darrin Laufasa, and Jeremiah Laufasa are interchangeable fullbacks/tailbacks and all should get some carries this season in certain situations and downs.
All three are dynamic athletes and have great hands, along with that punishing running ability UTEP will certainly use in short yard situations.
Junior Autrey Golden has also been working out of the backfield in passing situations, giving UTEP four to six consistent pass catchers out of the backfield which will be a match-up nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.
The combination of speed, power, and athleticsim has to rank UTEP tops C-USA in terms of overall talent in the backfield rotation.
Four of the five top all-purpose yard gainers from last year for UTEP were running backs: Golden, Jones, Jeffery, and Bell. I could only see their touches, and production increase with the numerous versatile installs UTEP worked on in camp, particularly utilizing the running backs in the pass game more often.
While there is certainly plenty of proven, veteran talent on the 2014 depth chart, the future looks even brighter.
Freshman David Hamm had a solid camp according to coach Kugler, the way I see it if a true freshman is standing out and drawing a media quote from Kugler in a camp where the backfield is already loaded that is more than a great sign.
I did not get to see Hamm in any contact drills, but his prolific rushing numbers in high school are very impressive.
Fellow true freshman Treyvon Hughes will be greyshrited and will not be active until January, but he is another guy who can fiugre into the future as a "needs his touches guy".
Another impressive hard worker I saw in camp was freshman Noah Siegrist.
He may not stand out size wise, but the kid runs hard and looked like a sponge soaking up info from the older backs, I could see him developing into a nice weapon as a scat back and even returner with his division one ready speed
Big rushing yards are to be expected from UTEP's run scheme, 2014 will be a prime example of the production this offense can produce with a physical front, and talented runners.
|Running Back Depth Chart|
|Aaron Jones-29 or Nathan Jeffery-25|
|Fullback Depth Chart|