2002 Football Preview: Running Backs

2002 Football Preview: Running Backs

Chris Coleman previews Virginia Tech's running backs for the 2002 football season. With the likes of Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones, Tech may have the best backfield in the nation.

There really isn't much I can tell you that you don't already know regarding the Virginia Tech backfield. They could possibly have the best two running backs in all of college football. In fact, they could very possibly have the two best running backs in all of college football on the field at the same time next year! Let's take a look at the individuals that will make up the best backfield in the nation...

Tailback-
Lee Suggs (6-0 201) r-Sr.-
Suggs will provide the spark that the Hokie offense was missing last year. In 2000, Suggs proved to be one of the best backs in the nation, rushing for 1207 yards and scoring 28 touchdowns. He is especially effective in short yardage situations, an area in which Tech desperately needed help in 2001 when it seemed every carry either went for 0 yards or 20 yards. Suggs is fully recovered from his torn ACL, and should be a first round draft pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.

Kevin Jones (6-0 211) So.- Kevin Jones was the most highly recruited high school football player in the country during his senior year. Last year, as a true freshman at Virginia Tech, he showed us why. Jones gained almost 1,000 yards on the ground, despite only starting 3 games. He has amazing speed and is a fun player to watch. However, he still needs to learn to lower his pads and initiate contact instead of trying to outrun everyone. An offseason of training coupled with learning under Lee Suggs this coming fall should make Jones one of the most dangerous players in the country. He is a future Heisman Trophy candidate who has the potential to become one of the greatest backs in the history of college football.

Mike Imoh (5-8 185) Fr.- When looking for a phrase to describe Mike Imoh, the following comes to mind..."Small in stature, big in ability." Imoh was the 3A Offensive Player of the Year in Virginia this past season at Robinson High School. He has great speed and agility, however what sets him apart from the competition is his ability to run between the tackles. With his height, he could put on another 25 pounds and become another Shyrone Stith for the Hokies. Imoh will likely redshirt during the 2002 season.

Fullback-
Cedric Humes (6-1 218) r-Fr.-
Humes is a tailback playing fullback. Why, you ask? Well, because he was a tailback until shortly after spring practice. With the tailback position overflowing, the Tech coaches decided to move Humes to fullback in order to better use his abilities. He will be playing a fullback role, but he will bring tailback skills to the position. He has awed the coaches with his ability at tailback, so this move is likely only for one season.

Doug Easlick (5-11 230) r-Jr.- Easlick brings the most experience to the fullback position. He was the number one backup last season, and got a chance to learn under Jarrett Ferguson. He has excellent size for a fullback and had a good spring at the position. Either he or Cedric Humes will be the starter, but both will see a lot of playing time.

Josh Spence (6-0 233) r-So.- Spence has finally settled on one position, and with his physical ability he is likely to stay at fullback. An absolute beast in the weightroom, Spence needs only to transfer that ability to the football field and he has a chance to be a great fullback. He will likely make most of his contributions on special teams this season, but once he settles at fullback and learns the position he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Overall...
Basically the question to ask is not "how good will this backfield be?" A better question would be "will Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones rush for 1,000 yards each?" With a 13 game schedule, this scenario is very possible. And with Suggs and Jones in the backfield together at certain times this season, opposing defenses will have their hands full. The biggest question in the offensive backfield is whether or not the trio of fullbacks will be able to match the numbers of the ever-productive Jarrett Ferguson. We'll know in a few months, but with the overall talent at tailback and fullback, the question shouldn't keep Tech fans up at night.

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