Rutgers enters the season with three seniors capable of producing at the running back position. Here’s a closer look at what they offer.
Robert Martin (#7)
Rob Martin will get the first shot at the starting job as the coaches have seen what he can do, and already know he is an integral component of both the team and offense. The back has brought dependability to the rushing game, totaling 1,822 yards and averaging 5.2 yards per carry over his college career.
Injuries deterred a solid 2016 season featuring 625 rushing yards. This followed a year where Martin rushed for 763 yards in just two more full games. Get the NFL numbers out of your head for a second and let this sink in: Rutgers football has had only 7 backs rush for 1,000 yards on the year in its football history. Martin will face competition for his starting job this year with transfer Gus Edwards chomping at his heels. However, in Jerry Kill’s spread offense, there should be plenty of room for everyone to feast. That makes an opportunity for Martin to join a group of Rutgers rushing prowess.
Gus Edwards (#13)
" … that when I do get the chance, I can prove that I'm able to be trusted on the field." pic.twitter.com/4Nw05oDBFl— GO 'CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) November 16, 2016
If Martin is your vanilla, Edwards is your strawberry and chocolate mix. At 6-foot-1, 235-pounds, Gus was known for his powerful running at Miami, however reports from camp have been saying coaches are becoming increasingly impressed with the big man’s speed. As a three start recruit, Edwards was named the No. 1 fullback recruit in the country by Rivals.com, and went on to post decent numbers at Miami (977 yards, 12 touchdowns) while playing behind Joseph Yearby. Gus’s combination of size and speed has the opportunity to have both butts and jock straps hitting the turf when the ball is in his hands. This year will be the year for Gus to get a chance to showcase the athleticism which didn’t get a chance to fully shine while at the U.
Josh Hicks (#8)
Do not sleep on Josh Hicks. The 2014 Quick Lane Bowl MVP is one of Rutgers most beneficial assets, playing in nearly every game for the Scarlet Knights over his 3 year career.
In 2015, Hicks was able to eat up 674 years on 130 carries, averaging 5.2 YPC. The same year the back helped his injury riddled team and stepped up to played safety in a game, forcing two turnovers, one being a game saving interception. Even though Hicks has competition ahead of him this year, it would be uncommon for him to see anything different. For 3 years the back has had to find a role with the talent of Robert Martin, Desmond Peoples, and Justin Goodwin floating around. Expect Hicks to command not a large part in the offense, but complete any and all tasks asked of him with ease.
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