The transition to the more wide open spread attack was sometimes rough around the edges for the RB position in 2012. Hopefully a year in the system will add to a better comfort level amongst the return backs, leading to more offensive production and fewer mistakes. The position was also addressed through recruiting with the signing of two JC backs and two high school backs.
Redshirt junior Demetre Baker led the Jags in rushing last fall with 595 yards and 3 TD after rushing for 491 yards and 9 TD in 2011. The former Georgia Bulldog is the odds on favorite to come out of spring drills on top of the depth chart. Vigor High School’s Kendall Houston, another redshirt junior, has had a great career at USA after transferring back home from Arkansas State. For his career he’s totaled 1,666 yards rushing to go with 20 TD. He’s a powerful, tackle breaking machine who played the 2012 still recovering from a knee injury, hopefully he’ll be back to his old self by the 2013 season.
T.J. Glover has started games at RB and WR in his career, as well as being the primary kick returner. The redshirt junior has serious long speed, so regardless of whether he gets the ball as a receiver or RB, the goal is to get it to him in space. Glover missed the 2011 season, but bookended around that season, he has led USA in all-purpose yards both years. In 2010 he paced the Jags with 994 all-purpose yards, ranking first on the team in kickoff returns, second in punt returns, tied for third in rushing (234 yards, 2 TD) and fourth in receiving (155 yards, 1 TD). In 2012 he totaled 1,181 all-purpose yards, ranking first on the squad in kickoff returns, first in punt returns, fourth in rushing (210 yards, 1 TD) and seventh in receiving (206 yards). AS a matter of fact, Glover’s All-Purpose Yards total over that 3 year period, despite missing the 2011 season, is still more than any Jaguar over that same 3 year stretch.
Redshirt sophomore Terrance Timmons (212 yards rushing, 46 yards receiving) and redshirt senior Julien Valentin (60 yards rushing, 1 TD) will also be in the mix for playing time at RB.
Big redshirt junior Desmond Jones (5’11,230) worked his way onto the field last season picking up 25 yards rushing and 21 yards receiving while catching a TD pass. Unfortunately, Jones will sit out this spring recovering from injury. With talk of using QB Brandon Bridge in some Colin Kaepernick-esque packages, it will be interesting to see if there are some groupings that utilize an H-Back, where Jones or redshirt sophomore RB Devin Robinson (6’1,225) or TE Rush Hendricks (6’3,245) might fit the bill.
Junior college transfer Jay Jones rushed for 504 yards and 3 TD last fall for Northeast Mississippi CC while catching 11 pass for 150 yards and 1 TD. Prior to that, at Northwest Mississippi CC in 2010, he ran for 920 yards and 8 TD, while pulling in 27 receptions for 281 yards and 3 TD. The early reports from workouts in January are that while Jones might not be the biggest guy, he’s clearly one of the better athletes on the team.