Replacing Perkins: Mississippi St. has depth at running back
It’s always an annual challenge trying to replace an impact player, but in the SEC, coaches are paid to recruit and develop the next standout athlete in fear of the impending hot seat should seasons turn sour.
Over a two-week period, we’ll take a look at a key player loss for each program in the conference and break down that position’s potential replacements. Rest assured, a few of these guys will be household names by season’s end.
- SOUTH CAROLINA
- OLE MISS
- TEXAS A&M
- TODAY: Mississippi St.
- Sunday: Tennessee
- Monday: LSU
LaDarius Perkins was Mississippi St.’s leading rusher for tailbacks each of the last two seasons, but running backs coach Greg Knox is confident the Bulldogs’ depth at the position will prevail in his absence this fall.
“I don’t know if I’ve had this many quality running backs in a while,” Knox told The Clarion Ledger in a recent interview.
Josh Robinson and Nick Griffin have battled throughout camp for the starting job and there’s several talented players behind those two who could see playing time as well. Reps have been split evenly thus far, bur a few ballcarriers should separate themselves from the rest of the pack next week.
Robinson, a junior, averages nearly 6 yards per carry career and gave the coaching staff a glimpse into the future last fall with 184 yards rushing over his last three appearances. Against Arkansas, the 5-foot-9 bundle of granite passed the century mark during an overtime win.
Knox says the Bulldogs could use a two-back set at times this season behind quarterback Dak Prescott since there is so much depth in the backfield. Griffin’s the senior, short-yardage option who will likely surpass his number of total career carries (72) in his final season.
Career totals for Mississippi St. RBs heading into 2014
- Josh Robinson, Jr. — 133 carries, 794 yards, 4 TD
- Nick Griffin, Sr. — 72 carries, 427 yards, 3 TD
- Ashton Shumpert, Soph. — 46 carries, 190 yards, 3 TD
- Brandon Holloway, Soph. — 8 carries, 38 yards
- Dontavian Lee, Frosh
- Aeris Williams, Frosh