|The runningbacks lost two seniors from last season but return leading rusher B.J. Catalon (pictured) and Waymon James, who missed 11 games last season.< td>
|Returning Statistical Leaders
|Carries: Catalon; 123 |
|Yards: Catalon; 582|
|Avg. per rush: James; 9.9|
|Touchdowns: James; 1
UNIT RANKING: B+
STRENGTHS: Size, Speed, experience
WEAKNESS: Unproven depth
The Frogs runningback corp lost two of their bigger backs with Matthew Tucker and Aundre Dean completing their eligibility at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Tucker was a four-year contributor for the Frogs racking up over 2,600 yards and 33 career touchdowns. The good news is the Frogs’ cupboard isn’t exactly empty. One could argue that it looks pretty good. Sophomore B.J. Catalon is the team’s returning rushing leader after racking up nearly 600 yards as a true freshman in 2012. Surprisingly, he didn’t score in any of those games. A year ago at this time Catalon was ready to take part in his first practices as a college runningback and throughout the spring he drew praise from head coach Gary Patterson. Now, he’s regarded as quite possibly the team’s best back. While Catalon has certainly impressed, the best news may be the return of senior Waymon James, who missed nearly the entire season in 2012. Before he was injured on the road against Kansas, the dynamic James was averaging an eye-opening 9.9 yards per carry. If he’s healthy, watch out. His goal last year was to surpass 1,000 yards.
Will Waymon James be 100% this spring?
The other big name Frog fans have anxiously awaited the arrival of is Aaron Green. The former five-star runningback who signed and played with Nebraska as a true freshman in 2011, had to sit last season but that didn’t stop Patterson from praising the elite runningback. Green blends good size and speed and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. He may not be as fast as Catalon, but he definitely gives the Frogs another homerun threat. Another player to keep an eye on is Jordan Moore. It’s unlikely Moore sees action this spring after he suffered a freak knee injury in bowl practices when simply making a cut. However, the prospects of a 6-foot-3, 210-pound runningback with 4.3 speed can’t be overlooked too much.
What to watch: Is James back to 100%
Let’s face it, James’ injury was probably the hardest to take. He had carved rushing yards through Grambling and Kansas and even had a long run on the play he was injured on. What seemed to be a routine tackle and maybe a slight sprain for James (he walked off the field), he was lost for the season. Now, he returns after nearly five months of no football and the big question is, is the same Waymon James. If not, Catalon and Green will be ready to carry the load for the Frogs this spring. It’s likely that the coaches will take every precaution necessary to make sure he makes it out of spring healthy .
Breakout player: Aaron Green
As previously mentioned, Frog fans await to see the emergence of Green. Had Green signed with TCU out of high school, he would’ve been the highest rated recruit signed in the Patterson era. After playing limited time as a true freshman at Nebraska behind a guy named Rex Burkhead, Green is chomping at the bit to prove he is still an elite runningback. With James and Moore coming off injuries, it will likely be the Catalon and Green show most of the spring.
Green should have a breakout spring
Keep an eye on: Waymon James
We all know what kind of player James is. The biggest question mark coming out of this spring is if he’s back to 100% or still working on getting there. If he is back to 100%, is he ready to take over his starting position?
- Green emerges and draws praise from Patterson
- Catalon finishes spring as the starter at RB
- James comes along slowly and will be ready to go full speed in the fall.