Wildcats Position by Position Breakdown: Running Backs

 

 

RUNNING BACKS

                The Cats return Nic Grigsby who rushed for 1,153 yards on 214 carries for a 5.4 average and scored 13 TD’s.  Talk about a quiet 1,253.  Nic is one of the nation’s most underrated backs in college.  He enjoyed the open running lanes created by the awesome passing scheme involving Tuitama and Mike Thomas.  However, this year seems to be much different.  The Cats will have to find their vertical passing game somewhere else and figure out who is going to be their QB.  This directly affects the running game.  Also, depending on who is in at QB (Foles or Scott), the Cats scheme will greatly change.  With Foles in, look for more straight up zone plays, draw plays, or possibly a FB in to give Grigsby an Iso.  With Scott in , the Cats basically have two running backs in the backfield, creating a zone read option which drives defenses mad.  Grigsby will also have to deal with the loss of his workhorse, Eben Britton, to the NFL. 

Grigsby_medium
(Repeat of 2008, injury free I hope)

                Make no mistake, the loss of Tuitama will be huge on the entire offense, including the rushing attack.  I still think that Grigsby reaches 1,000 yards this season and will possibly get 175 carries this coming year.   Grigsby was also honorable mention Pac-10 in 2008.  Look for Grigsby to be the inside the tackles back and grind out short yardage on third down.  Also coming in on third downs and goal line situations is redshirt freshman Greg Nwoko who comes in at 6’2" and 220 lbs.   Depending on how he handles his playing time, Nwoko could be the go to guy close to the goal line and on third downs with less than two yards to go.

Nwoko_medium
(Short yardage king)

 

                The "other" back Arizona deployed in 2008 was Keola Antolin.  All he did was carry the ball 117 times for 525 yards for a 4.5 yard average and 10 touchdowns.  Not too bad for an every third down back. Antolin, who is a little quicker than Grigsby, is able to come into the ballgame and possess the ability to break the long one at any time.  His longest rush last year was 59 yards, and nobody was going to catch him.  Don’t give this guy a crease or he’ll be gone before you know it.

Antolin_medium

                Arizona did a good job recruiting in 2009 and picked up running back sensation Daniel Jenkins who could possibly be the fastest running back on the team.  Jenkins, from Moreno Valley, California, was a four star recruit (Rivals).  He is a mini Keola Antolin and could see some playing time in 2009.  His ability to catch the ball gives him a small chance to play in the slot for the Cats if running back doesn’t work out for them.   

Daniel_jenkins1_medium
(Don't let Jenkins break on you or he's gone!)

                  Also recruited by the Cats is freshman Kylan Butler.  Butler is 5’8" and 180 lbs in high  school and comes out of powerhouse De La Salle in California.  Butler has good size, and should probably come into fall drills heavier than 180, which makes him another option for inside the tackles should anything happen to Grigsby this year.

Kylan_medium
(Kylan Butler can fly too. May be slot receiver/KR)

             The coaches have also tinkered with putting Butler in the slot position as well.  All in all, the Cats will have two great returners, one promising redshirt, and two outstanding 2009 recruits to add to the depth chart for 2009.

 

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