Miami Vs. FSU
The University of Miami has a storied history of great running backs to wear the U. From the Greentree practice fields to gameday, Miami was at its best when the competition at running back raged from summer practices into fall camp. This fall, Miami’s backfield will be LOADED with blue-chip talent vying to be the bell cow of this offense. Let’s preview one of the most competitive and wide-open positions in all of camp: RUNNING BACKS!
2021 Stats: 145 Rush, 561 Yards, 8 TD, 280 Receiving Yards, 3 TD
Jaylan Knighton was just what the offense needed to go to the next level. A consensus 4-star player in the 2020 class, Knighton was considered lightning in a bottle, the most explosive runner that the Hurricanes signed, with the ability to take any play to the house.
After missing the first four games of the season, Knighton came back when we already lost Don Chaney Jr. for the rest of the year and then lost Cam Harris later at UNC. Getting his first start against 18th ranked NC State, Knighton showed why he was an integral part of this offense and how it can look with him leading the backfield. Knighton had 166 yards of total offense (83 rushing, 83 receiving) and a TD, including a wheel route that he took to the house. His vision and patience while running combined with his receiving ability made him a difference maker for the offense and gave the Canes a dimension that wasn’t previously available.
In eight games as the feature back, Knighton rushed for 561 yards on 145 Carries with 8 TDs. He also added 20 catches for 280 yards and 3 TDs. An all around back in the true sense of the term, Jaylan Knighton has proven that he is the true RB1 for next year.
Donald Chaney Jr.
2021 Stats: 11 Rush, 44 Yards, 1 TD, 4 Receiving Yards
Ideal Size. Breakaway speed. Elite vision. That’s what you want when you are looking for the leader of your running back room and Don Chaney Jr. has those traits in spades. The prototypical running back with the size of 5’10 and 208 lbs., Chaney had the elite blend of size, vision and breakaway speed that made him a 5-star prospect at one point during his high school career. A 3-time state champion high jumper in track and 2-time Miami-Dade County Player of the Year, Chaney committed to the Hurricanes on February 3rd, 2019 and never wavered on his commitment.
During his freshman year, Chaney was the third leading rusher on the team (Cam’ron Harris, D’Eriq King) and made a case that he should be the lead back. When the offense struggled to run the ball, Chaney came in and the offense started moving. Coming into last season, Chaney looked like he was ready to take over as the lead running back but was sidelined with a shoulder injury that he sustained in the second scrimmage. Chaney worked hard to get back to form and was ready to contribute this year but suffered a knee injury that derailed his season in the second game. While frustrating for the talented back, Chaney attacked his rehab and should be coming back to full health this year.
With this new staff and now being one of the veterans in the locker room, look for Don Chaney Jr. to live up to his immense talent and push to claim the title of RB1 next year.
2021 Stats (Ole Miss): 105 Rush, 553 Yards, 3 TD, 173 Receiving Yards
Henry Parrish is the most recent running back to throw his hat in the ring to lead the backfield. Coming from Ole Miss, Parrish played an SEC schedule last year, playing in all the games during his true freshman year. Parrish was recruited and coached by the current running backs coach, Coach Kevin Smith. He was in the same recruiting class as the other two running backs above, Chaney and Knighton. With Chaney working his way back from surgery and Knighton held out of spring practices, Parrish was able to get the bulk of the spring practice carries and able to establish himself with the team and coaches. With all the spring practices under his belt and going through all of the summer workouts healthy, Parrish has as much claim to be the bellcow of this offense as anyone else in the room.
2021 Stats: 23 Rush, 172 Yards, 2 TD, 18 Receiving Yards
Thad Franklin was one of the running back commits that the coaches were very high on in the 2021 class. He was one of the most productive running backs in Miami Dade history. A consensus 4-star recruit, Franklin has a different body type than the other backs, one that is a bruiser type that has power and speed. Franklin consistently falls forward, getting positive yardage and moving the chains. Similar to Parrish, Thad was a benefactor of being healthy during spring practices and splitting the available carries. Franklin has put in the work with strength and conditioning coaches and is coming into fall camp as the true dark horse to surprise everyone and win the starting job.
2021 Stats (Lake Charles College Prep HS): 65 Rush, 743 Yards, 11 TD, 2 Receiving Yards
Trevonte Citizen has the potential to make waves as a true freshman. Coming from Lake Charles College Prep in Louisiana, Trevonte Citizen had a productive senior year in high school, averaging 123.8 yards per game and leading his team to an 8-2 record. The 9th best running back in the 2022 recruiting class and 108th overall prospect, Citizen was one of the National Signing Day surprises when he chose the Canes over the favored Gators and LSU Tigers. Citizen is an SEC-level running back who has the college-ready frame to contribute early in his career. He was able to reshape his body with the help of the strength and conditioning coaches and has been participating in summer workouts. Learning the playbook and schemes will allow Citizen to see the field as a true freshman and we can’t rule out that he takes meaningful snaps this year.