Spring semester classes are over in Fort Collins, seniors are getting ready to graduate and summertime is right around the corner. For the Colorado State football team, this means getting ready for summer workouts. Summer workout programs are important for every football program around the country. However, for Colorado State, they have some major holes in their offense that must be addressed. One position on offense that must be addressed is running back.
Running back Kapri Bibbs, an undrafted free agent signing for the Denver Broncos, left the program after just one season. Bibbs experienced a large amount of success in his lone season at Colorado State, rushing for 1741 yards for a nation leading 31 touchdowns, both single season records for the Rams. Bibbs also broke the school's single game rushing record, running for 312 yards against Nevada, along with 6 touchdown rushes in a late season victory at New Mexico. Another loss at the running back position is Christian Nwoke, a senior running back for Colorado State who is graduating after a solid career with the Rams that places him 10th all time among Ram running backs in career yards. A final loss for the Ram's backfield is Donnell Alexander, who is transferring to Akron for the upcoming season. Alexander, who scored on the statue of liberty play in the New Mexico Bowl to tie up the game late against Washington State, was looking like the man to beat to be the starting running back for the Rams this upcoming season.
With the departure of their three leading rushers from a season ago, running back is clearly a position lacking depth for the Rams. Spring football featured two players that are competing for playing time at running back. Junior Jason Oden, a former safety for the team who has moved to the offensive side of the ball, ran with the first team during the spring game. Oden totaled 84 yards on 16 attempts and scored a touchdown on the Rams opening drive. In addition, Oden also caught 3 passes for 36 yards. The other running back that got some time with the first team during spring practices is redshirt freshman Bryce Peters. Peters, who was a 3 star recruit (per Rivals) out of Houston, Texas, is a speed back to go along with the power running style of Oden.
Entering the summer, Oden and Peters are the two backs that are favored to compete to be the featured back in the Rams backfield this upcoming season. However, the Ram's recruiting class features a plethora of backs that can come in and compete. Names to keep in mind include: Treyous Jarrells, Deionte Gaines and Deron Thompson.
Treyous Jarrells enters the program after a season at Grossmont Community College in El Cajon, California. Last season at Grossmont, Jarrells rushed for 1139 yards, averaging 6.4 a carry and scored 15 touchdowns. At 5'8" and 190 pounds, Jarrells has good size and runs a 4.5 40 and could be the playmaker at running back that the Rams are looking for. Jarrells and Colorado State are a good fit because the Rams need competition at running back, and Jarrells is looking to come in and be an impact as soon as possible.
Deionte Gaines is a 3 star athlete out of football powerhouse Dr. Phillips High in Orlando, Florida. Gaines is another speed back, but is only 5'8" and 164 pounds, so the idea that he can play the traditional running back role might not be an option right away, but Gaines can come in and make plays for the Rams if they find a way to get him into space. At Dr. Phillips, his senior year production shows that he can do it all. He had 462 yards and 11 touchdowns on 55 carries, 564 yards on 28 catches for 5 touchdowns, all to go along with two punt returns for touchdowns. After gaining offers from schools such as Arizona and Cincinnati, the Rams have acquired an athlete that will be able to impact the team in multiple different ways.
Deron Thompson is a three-star all purpose running back from Wichita, Kansas, who chose Colorado State over Minnesota. At 5'9" and 175 pounds, Thompson has pretty good size for a running back to go along with his 4.33 40. In Thompson's senior season, he ran for 988 yards with 17 touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards a carry. With size and speed, Thompson is a good fit for the Rams offense. Like the other newcomers to the Rams backfield, Thompson has the ability to make an impact in his first season with the Rams.
Even though Oden and Peters are the favorites after spring football, nothing is a given in the world of college football. After a spring of limited depth, the Rams will welcome new backs to come in and compete right away. Starting in August, Oden and Peters will have to compete with Jarrells, Gaines and Thompson for touches in their first game against rival Colorado on August 29th. With the new additions, plus the addition of transfer sophomore running back Dalyn Dawkins from Purdue who will be eligible to play in 2015, the future of the Rams' backfield after Bibbs is looking bright.