On the offensive side of the ball 2012 reveled just how deep Buffalo is at running back, fortunately for UB fans Buffalo is also very young at half back. Injuries to Branden Oliver, James Potts, Boomer Brock, and other UB backs led to six different players showing their stuff.
Of all those players the only one in their senior year was full back Rashad Jean who played a big part in UB's win over Bowling Green.
|35||Rashad Jean (FB)
|41||Boomer Brock (FB)
Returning Players and Class (13):
Devin Campbell / Sophomore:
The only player to see action in every game was "The Fresh Prince", Devin Campbell. The true freshman ran for more than 500 yards after James Potts and Branden Oliver.
Expect Campbell to enter spting as either the number three back or in a competition with James Potts for the number two spot.
James Potts / Junior:
Potts showed a brief flash of his potential when he broke a long touchdown in UB's second game. Buffalo fans have been eager to see what Potts is capable of since he picked UB over offers from schools in the Big10, Big East, and SEC.
Unfortunately the sophomore has been a victim of circumstance. He missed his freshman year because his transcripts ere late, his redshirt freshman year for academic reasons, and all but two games of his last season due to injury.
Of all the backs on Buffalo's roster Potts is the one with the best chance of taking the starting job from Branden Oliver, that is if Potts can stay on the field.
He may be Elisha le for a medical redshirt down the line, having missed 84% of the season with injury. Potts has either two, or three seasons left depending on his inclination and ability to get a doctors note from the NCAA.
Branden Oliver / Senior:
Oliver is the king of the hill, having emerged in 2011 and playing well, when healthy, last season. It's hard to see anyone else getting the starting nod but there is now enough depth, all the way back to the sophomores, to assume he will not be getting thirty carries a game.
Brandon Murie / Senior:
Oliver is not the only bull who will be lost after this season, Brandon Murie will also graduate after 2013. Murie is a speedster who will likely seea lot more work in special teams than as a half back but he is a capable depth back for Buffalo.
Jordan Johnson / Sophomore:
Johnson is an athlete that can end up playing any skill position on the field or as a special teams staple. He may be competing for a spot in 2014 but going into next season it's likely he ends up deep depth and a special teams player.
He does have the ability to be a productive back this season but there is so much depth in 2013 that Johnson would have to be amazing in the off season to crack the top three.
Anthone Taylor / Junior or Sophomore:
He did not play last season and still has his redshirt so where he fits classwise is between him and the coaching staff. In a year when everyone was getting some meaningful playing time Taylor's knee injury kept him from getting in on the action.
Mike Gelz / Freshman:
Gelz is a walk on who will more than likely be on he practice squad in 2012.
So what are Buffalo's needs?
The emergence of Murie, the potential of Johnson, and the possibly of a medical redshirt for Potts means UB should be set at half back until at least 2015. So long as the offensive line continues to improve the backs already in uniform are talented enough to make UB a dangerous team on the ground for the foreseeable future.
That being said Coach Quinn and company did burn two of this years dozen scholarships on Running Backs.
The first is James Coleman who is an all around athlete that plays, among other things, running back . Some sites list him as a quarterback, others as a half back. Given UB has no quarterback signed this season Coleman just might be filling that slot even though his running numbers are far more impressive than any passing he does.
UB had a second back., Tim McVey, but lost him to Air Force.
Buffalo still has three more offers out there to uncommitted players. Laray Smith lists Buffalo as low in his selection order, Dorian Brown is holding offers from half of the MAC, and Terrence Upshaw has offers from Buffalo and Vanderbuilt.