Football Guide: Positional grades for the running back
Jonathan Haden, Runningback
Projected starter: Terris Jones-Grigsby (redshirt senior)
Backups: Adonis Smith (redshirt senior), Nick Wilson (true freshman), Jonathan Haden (true freshman), Jared Baker (redshirt junior), Zach Green (redshirt freshman), Ty Cruz (true freshman), Jonah Huff (true freshman), Jocquez Kalili (true freshman)
Departures: Ka’Deem Carey (NFL), Daniel Jenkins (graduation), Kylan Butler (graduation), Myles Smith (no longer with team), Pierre Cormier (medical)
Returning stat leaders: Jared Baker (2013-14) – 127 rushing yards on 27 carries and 4.7 yards per carry average
Ka’Deem Carey is the best running back, and one of the best players, in Arizona history. He has tied or owns over 25 school records, among which include his program-best 4,232 rushing yards.
It is impossible to replace a star of his status with just one player, and Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is too smart to attempt to do so.
A committee of running backs will likely split carries as they attempt to account for all the production lost from the departure of Carey and QB B.J. Denker, who was second on the team with 1,074 rushing yards last season.
Leading the committee this year is redshirt senior Terris Jones-Grigsby.
Jones-Grigsby, who is the younger brother of former Arizona standout running back Nic Grigsby, has pulled away from the younger running backs with his knowledge of the playbook and multifaceted running style.
To begin the season, he will likely get the majority of rushing attempts and the biggest opportunity to make plays.
Among the backups who figure to get playing time include: true freshman Nick Wilson, redshirt junior Jared Baker and true freshman Jonathan Haden.
Each brings a different running style and should serve as change of pace backs from Jones-Grisgby.
Of the trio, Wilson brings the most complete running style to the table. The four-star recruit has the natural talent to make an impact in his true freshman year.
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