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Gopher Football - Spring 2015 Running Back Preview

The 2015 Gopher Football Spring game is almost here. With our top two running backs gone from last year, get a quick primer on who to look for.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Three years ago Donnell Kirkwood was the man and he started out that way in 2013 too. Then due to injuries and great off-season work, David Cobb jumped from the third running back on the team to became #1 in our hearts for two seasons. With both of them graduated, who will be the next man up? Will Rodrick Williams Jr. shed tackles like he shed pounds this spring? Will Berkley Edwards make Michigan regret not making him a Michigan man? Will Jeff Jones make us all say, I BELIEVE WE WILL WIN. Will Rodney Smith live up to what the coaches have been saying and make us say Cobb who?

Check out the video below for a little taste on who the Spring practices have been going for these very young players.

One thing to notes is that Kill has said lately that he is very happy how the unit as a whole, to include Edwards, Williams, and (I believe) Jones are doing in pass blocking. That's great news because it stops us from telegraphing as much if it would be a pass or run play.

Full Backs

41 Thomas, Miles 5-11 250 JR Downs, Kan. (Butler County CC)
43 Hartmann, Tyler 6-3 251 RS SO Andover, Minn. (Andover HS)

Running Backs

37 Parks, Josh 5-10 200 FR Chisago Lakes, Minn. (Chisago Lakes HS)
n/a Johannesson, James 6-1 221 FR Fargo, N.D. (Fargo South HS)
n/a Brooks, Shannon 6-0 205 FR Jasper, Ga. (Pickens HS)
32 Edwards, Berkley 5-9 192 RS FR Chelsea, Mich. (Chelsea HS)
35 Williams Jr., Rodrick 5-11 229 JR Lewisville, Texas (Lewisville HS)
44 Kirsch, Jacob 5-11 207 RS SO Rochester, Minn. (Rochester CTC)
24 Smith, Rodney 5-11 202 FR Jonesboro, Ga. (Mundy's Mill HS)
n/a Femi-Cole, Jonathan 6-0 218 FR Vaughan, Ontario, Canada (St. Andrew's College)
16 Jones, Jeff 6-0 207 FR Minneapolis, Minn. (Washburn HS)

Berkley Edwards-Minnesota football practice

This is going to be a young but very talented backfield with depth, albeit unproven depth. Right now it seems that the new, lighter Rodrick "Nugget" Williams will be our #1 back to start the season but look for Rodney Smith and Berkley Edwards to get plenty of touches. Jeff Jones will be a big factor too, but he may play more in the slot or catching out of the backfield. Luckily, with him in the defenses will also have to be prepared for a run up the middle or to the outside as well. The good news is all of these guys have had some good plays in practice and as I said earlier are pass blocking well. I really think we are going to be in good hands next year. That said, who will emerge as the #1 back is anyone's guess.