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2014 Rutgers football training camp: Running backs

Can Paul James stay healthy for an entire season?

Redshirt sophomore RB Desmon Peoples
Redshirt sophomore RB Desmon Peoples
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

The Scarlet Knights enter 2014 with such a wealth of running backs, they moved the backup to help out the secondary. Paul James was the unquestioned starter heading into fall camp, and you could have been just as confident with Justin Goodwin as the second string. But a rash of injuries caused an emergency situation in the defensive backfield that forced Goodwin to take his talents to the defensive side of the ball. Who will spell James during the season?

Training Camp Depth Chart

2013 production

Name Pos. Ht., Wt. Class Rushes Yards TD Yds/Carry
Paul James RB 6'0", 205 R-Jr. 156 881 9 5.6
Justin Goodwin RB 6'0", 200 So. 111 521 5 4.7
Savon Huggins RB 6'0", 200 Sr. 86 286 2 3.3
Desmon Peoples RB 5'8", 175 R-So. 6 16 0 2.7
Michael Burton FB 6'0", 230 R-Sr. 9 61 0 6.8
Sam Bergen FB 6'0", 235 R-Sr.
Josh Hicks RB 5'10", 205 Fr.
Robert Martin RB 6'0", 200 Fr.
Devan Carter RB 6'2", 215 R-Fr.
Jacob Kraut FB 5'11", 250 Fr.

With Savon Huggins rehabbing after offseason shoulder surgery, the most viable option for backup running back is Desmon Peoples, who had as strong a camp as anyone and was the recipient of a couple of most improved spring player awards during his time on the banks. Behind Peoples, there are two exciting freshmen looking to make their mark - and not just on special teams. Robert Martin and Josh Hicks are both former high three-star recruits who are pushing for the backup role to Paul James. The backup is without a doubt an important position for Rutgers, as Paul James has a history with injuries.

Fullback is in good hands with fifth-year senior captain Michael Burton, a player who exemplifies what RFootball is all about. The offense runs much better with him in the backfield, whether making blocks downfield or getting a change-of-pace hand off. Sam Bergen and #1 FB recruit Jacob Kraut round out the reserves.

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Running back is one of the better positions for the Knights in terms of depth, and expect a lot of carries and halfback receiver routes to be spread among the group. OC Ralph Friedgen likes to use halfbacks as receivers out of the backfield, and having plenty of options can help RU catch opponents off guard. Expect a breakout player to emerge from the rushing game.