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In Depth Depth Chart – Running Backs

 

Previously postedQuarterbacks

Running Backs … 

Fall “Pencil” Depth Chart:

1. Kyle Evans, Sr.

2. Alex Fontenot, R-Fr; OR Beau Bisharat, Jr., OR Donovan Lee, Sr.; OR Travon McMillian, Sr.

6. Deion Smith, Fr.

7. Chase Sanders, So.

 

By the Numbers (2017):

— Travon McMillian (Virginia Tech)… 104 carries for 439 yards, two touchdowns … 12 receptions for 173 yards, three touchdowns

— Beau Bisharat … 21 carries for 61 yards … one reception for six yards

— Kyle Evans … 2 carries for 2 yards … one reception for six yards

 

 

Reasons to be excited:

Travon McMillian didn’t travel across half the country for a nice view of the mountains.

Senior transfer running back Travon McMillian was the offensive player-of-the-year coming out of high school in Virginia in 2014. As a dual-threat quarterback, McMillian completed 97-of-169 passes for 1,472 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 1,537 yards and 20 scores on 166 attempts. Rated as the No. 30 athlete in the nation by Rivals, McMillian stayed in-state, choosing to sign with Virginia Tech.

In three seasons for the Hokies, McMillian appeared in 39 games and made 22 starts. He rushed 449 times for 2,153 yards and 16 touchdowns while catching 35 passes for 351 yards and another seven scores. Despite playing in a running-back-by-committee system the past two seasons, McMillian left Blacksburg ranked 16th on Virginia Tech’s all-time rushing list.

Wanting to increase his NFL stock, McMillian wanted to find a program which was in need of a feature back. He reached out to Phillip Lindsay last December, and quickly received a response from CU’s graduating senior back.

McMillan has been on campus for the past month, and has the month of August to convince running backs coach Darian Hagan that he should be the feature back at Colorado this fall.

McMillian grew up in Virginia, and spend the first three seasons of his collegiate career competing for Virginia Tech. He had no ties to the state of Colorado or the CU program. He came to Boulder because he believes he has the talent to play on Sundays, and wanted to go to a program which would help get him there.

And he won’t get there watching from the sidelines at Folsom Field.

 

The other backs aren’t conceding the starting role.

Nothing fuels good athletes like competition.

For the running backs on the CU roster who have been playing behind Phillip Lindsay the past three seasons, the time to make their move is now.

Tops on that list, at least entering Fall Camp, was senior Kyle Evans.

Evans was Lindsay’s primary backup in 2016, finishing with 346 yards and three touchdowns on 84 carries.

In the spring of 2017, he dislocated his hip and missed the bulk of the offseason. He had just two carries for two yards last season, as the coaches were cautious with him.

“I thought I was 100 percent (healthy), but the coaches wanted to make sure I was OK, and they were thinking for the future,” Evans told the Daily Camera. “We still had Phil at the time and he was carrying the load and he did it well. I just kind of fit into my role and it was OK.

“Now I’m really trying to take the next step and play a lot more this season.”

Not that “pencil” depth charts mean anything come the season opener, but Evans was listed ahead of all of the other backs when the team posted the depth chart heading into Fall Camp.

So don’t write off Kyle Evans as a serious contributor this season.

 

Reasons for concern:

— How to keep everyone happy, and still put the best product on the field?

Remember Beau Bisharat?

A four-star athlete out of Carmichael, California, Bisharat was the highest-rated recruit out of CU’s Recruiting Class of 2016.

Much was expected out of Bisharat, but, with two years of eligibility exhausted and two years remaining, there is little to show for his efforts.

Bisharat is CU’s leading returning running back from 2017, which sounds good, until you realize all Bisharat had all of 21 carries for 61 yards last season, with one catch for six yards.

There are three senior backs on the roster this fall, with McMillian, Evans, and Donovan Lee all finishing up this fall. All other things being equal, Bisharat is in line to be the only upperclassman in the backfield next fall.

Except … Buff fans are excited to see what red-shirt freshman Alex Fontenot can do, and the Buffs have a four-star running back recruit in Jaren Mangham lined up for the Recruiting Class of 2019.

Will Bisharat take a step forward this fall … or a step back?

On paper, the Buffs are fairly deep at the running back position, with a bright future.

The running back candidates entered Fall Camp with a “all for one; one for all” mentality, but you know that they all spent the summer hoping/planning on being the feature back this fall.

Only one will earn the start against Colorado State.

Only one will be in position to follow Phillip Lindsay as the feature back at Colorado.

Will the enthusiasm in the running backs room continue throughout the season?

 

Bottom Line … The 1,000-yard question surrounding the Colorado rushing attack this fall: Is CU bringing in the Travon McMillian the back who rushed for 1,003 yards as a freshman, despite starting only seven games? Or is CU inheriting the back who went for 439 yards last fall, unable to distinguish himself from the other Virginia Tech running backs?

Many national pundits lowered their expectations for the Colorado program this fall due to the graduation of three-year starter Phillip Lindsay. “The void running back Phillip Lindsay left in Colorado’s offense is bigger than his 5’8″, 190-pound frame,” said Lindy’s.

McMillian may be the first option to replace Lindsay, but, fortunately, he is not the only option.

Kyle Evans is 5’7″, 180, while Beau Bisharat is 6’2″, 225, with Donovan Lee and Alex Fontenot in between in size in both size and experience.

Running backs coach Darian Hagan is not lacking for options … but will he choose wisely?

Of course, how the rushing attack develops is also very much dependent upon how well Steven Montez has matured at quarterback, how well the offensive line develops, how the talented (but inexperienced) wide receiver corps works out, and how Darrin Chiaverini does in his first opportunity to be the primary play caller at Colorado.

Senior Kyle Evans, for his part, sees great potential in a lot of his fellow backs and believes the versatility of a committee approach could benefit the Bufs.

“I think we can mix up a lot of defenses with it,” he said of using multiple backs. “Everybody is a great candidate to be a starter.”

Running backs coach Darian Hagan, though, is of record stating that he wants a feature back, not a running back by committee.

We may not know until 7:30 p.m. on August 31st who that feature back will be …

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One Reply to “In-Depth Depth Chart – Running Backs”

  1. Well well well, seems to be minimal interest in the Mighty Buffs running backs. How come? Don’t know myself.

    Lindsay……….LINDsay…………LINDSAY

    Who will it be this year.

    Colorado rushing ranking in pac 12 conference games

    2013 10th
    2014 6th
    2015 11th
    2016 8th
    2017 7th

    Welp, like the passing offense, the Mighty Buff rushing offense is “midland to poor” when under the direction of Lindy.

    The ol “addition by subtraction” rule. Gotta love it.

    2017 mantra from the Buffs was “New Era” But it wasn’t cause the offense was stuck in the old era.

    Old era is history………….2018 mantra………

    FOLSOM FIRE

    GO BUFFS

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