Hokies Football Preview: Breaking Down J.C. Coleman, the Running Backs, and Fullbacks

Yesterday, we took a look at Michael Brewer and the quarterbacks to kick off our position-by-position preview of the Hokies. Today, we continue as we look at J.C. Coleman and the running backs, and Sam Rogers and the fullbacks.

Pre-Fall RB Depth Chart

  1. J.C. Coleman
  2. Trey Edmunds
  3. Marshawn Williams
  4. Travon McMillian
  5. D.J. Reid
  6. Deshawn McClease

For this depth chart and conversation, we are not currently including Shai McKenzie as his future is unknown while still being suspended indefinitely.

Pre-Fall Fullback Depth Chart

  1. Sam Rogers
  2. Steven Peoples
  3. Jerome Wright
  4. Logan Adkins

When breaking don the running backs, it all starts with J.C. Coleman who had a wild 2014 season. Coleman started the first game against William & Mary, but fell down the depth chart quickly after that game, and didn’t get the starting job again till Marshawn Williams, Shai McKenzie, and Trey Edmunds all went down with season-ending injuries.

However, Coleman took advantage of the opportunity, starting in the final four games and having over 90 rushing yards in all four games. Over the course of those four games, Coleman had 81 carries for 468 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and an impressive average of 5.78 yards per carry.

Coleman has very good acceleration and explosiveness that he can use to take advantage of a hole to create a big play. Coleman is not the strongest player, but he is a tough runner with the speed to make big plays and flip the field for the Hokies.

One thing that really helped Coleman was Wyatt Teller becoming the starting left guard. Teller created some huge holes for Coleman to run through and the veteran running back was able to take advatange. Coleman is playing like a poor man’s David Wilson, but could have a Wilson-level year due to the quality blocking that Teller provides plus his own great speed.

The man that seems most likely to push Coleman for the starting job is Trey Edmunds who is now fully healthy. Edmunds suffered another injury only a few games in the 2014 season after his 2013 season ended due to a broken tibia suffered against Virginia, and caused him to miss some time early in the 2014 season.

When Edmunds was healthy in 2013, he had a very strong season with 166 carries for 675 rushing yards, 4.1 yards per carry, and 10 rushing touchdowns. Edmunds showed in the 2013 season that he had the potential to be a star down the road for the Hokies.

This spring, Edmunds showed that he was fully healthy and ready to play a lot this fall. Edmunds is a very balanced running back with a good blend of speed and strength though definitely not as fast as Coleman and not as strong as Marshawn Williams.

However, Edmunds is a reliable running back that can be counted on to lead the Hokies’ rushing attack whether he earns the starting job this year or down the road. Coleman may be the frontrunner, but Edmunds will be ready to push Coleman for his starting job.

Marshawn Williams is still recovering from a torn ACL, and could be headed for a redshirt year depending on how well his recovery has gone by the start of the season. Williams is not a very fast or explosive running back, but he is a tough, downhill running back that has the ability to run over some opposing defenders.

Williams only averaged 3.8 yards per carry last season, and will have to improve in that regard in the future, but the sophomore running back definitely should be the choice in short-yardage and goal-line situations. If Williams can add some speed and explosiveness, he could surprise everybody and take the starting job.

Travon McMillian looked good in the spring as he showed a lot of speed and explosiveness in his first full spring at running back. McMillian seems ready to push for some playing time though it looks like that he will at least touch the field some as a kick returner.

McMillian’s playing time could depend some on whether Williams redshirts this fall or not. McMillian seems to have a lot of potential, but his time to be one of the featured running backs in Blacksburg doesn’t seem likely to be this fall.

Deshawn McClease is the new running back in the building for the Hokies, and may be the one that can earn some playing time though a redshirt seems more likely with the running back talent on the roster. Coleman Fox could end up at running back or wide receiver, but seems headed for a redshirt while D.J. Reid is buried on the depth chart.

At fullback, the group is led by the hard-working Sam Rogers who is productive as a blocker, runner, and receiver. Rogers had 32 carries for 140 yards and an average of 4.4 yards per carry while also having 20 receptions for 230 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, and an average of 11.5 yards per catch.

Rogers has a future in the NFL as a fullback, and is a great leader as a hard worker that wanted badly to be on the field this spring while he was injured.

Steven Peoples had a strong spring and has already climbed to number 2 on the depth chart at fullback. Peoples would be a starting fullback for a lot of teams, but this hard-working walk-on will be stuck behind Rogers for a couple more seasons until he graduates. The Hokies are set at fullback for the next four seasons with Rogers and Peoples knowing how to get the job done.

Jerome Wright is still trying to find a role on this team, but is already somewhat buried on the depth chart behind Rogers and Peoples. Former Christianburg player Logan Adkins is fourth on the depth chart and while he may never play for the Hokies, he definitely is a good example of the hard-working walk-ons the Hokies have.

Projected RB Depth Chart vs. OSU

  1. J.C. Coleman
  2. Trey Edmunds
  3. Marshawn Williams
  4. Travon McMillian
  5. Deshawn McClease
  6. D.J. Reid

Projected Fullback Depth Chart vs. OSU

  1. Sam Rogers
  2. Steven Peoples
  3. Jerome Wright
  4. Logan Adkins

Right no, Hokie fans don’t have much reason to expect too much change on the depth chart though you never know sometimes. Of course, some of this could change if Shai McKenzie does come back to play for the Hokies this fall.

Advertisements