Last season the Rutgers Scarlet Knights had the benefit of having a key quality in their running back room – experience. New running back’s coach Nunzio Campanile will begin his first year at the collegiate level after spending eight years with Bergen Catholic and eight with Don Bosco Prep. Between graduate transfer Gus Edwards and proven seniors Robert Martin and Josh Hicks, the running back position was one of the least worrisome spots for the coaching staff. With those three now gone, there will be a few backs set to pick up the production where it left off. Lets take a closer look at this year’s backs.
A 6-foot, 220-pound back, Jon Hilliman was a sight for sore eyes upon the departure of Gus Edwards and his downhill running style. The Boston College graduate transfer is coming off of a 638 yard year rushing, with 155 yards receiving and seven total touchdowns.
Literally wake up everyday and thank god man . Thru the ups and down he gave me this opportunity. Not everybody gets the opportunity to come back home after leaving. I definitely don’t take it for granted https://t.co/Hd2DKRe3IW
— Jonathan Ⓜ️ Hilliman (@thrilliman) March 14, 2018
Now, the New Jersey native is back in his home state and set to take on Big Ten defenses. While at BC, Hilliman showed an ability to find open holes and hit them with a burst at will, with the strength to run through unsure tackles. Considering his running style, suited to take on a game’s worth of damage, and his experience, I expect Hilliman to step into the starting role as Rutgers main running option.
At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Raheem proved that his frame was nothing more than a measurement, finishing off runs like a fullback. Blackshear is a versatile weapon of a running back, and one who may not see the lion’s share of carries, but will be used in all facets of the offense to maximize his athleticism.
At 180 lbs, the redshirt sophomore from Pennsylvania is another back who is going to have to be deployed in different, smart ways. Snoweah will be entering this year seeing action only on special teams, but will have an opportunity this year to showcase his talents in a less crowded backfield. Snoweah’s senior year high school tape looks like something out of a Madden game though, watching it should brew some excitement for the young back.
Coming off a 2017 redshirt season, Sneed is another running back whose emergence could be intriguing. He is a bigger back at 215-pounds and, as his senior high school tape showed, any tackles above the waist were easily shaken off.
2018 will be a different year in the Rutgers running back room. One which is filled with less experience, but is bolstering with talent. With returning backs Raheem Blackshear, Trey Sneed, and Charles Snoweah, the coaching staff gains some consistency. Each back seems to have a unique skill set which does overlap with each other, all which can be inaugural to an offense. Look for these talented backs to fill the production hole left by the departures of Edwards, Martin, and Hicks.