In recent years UB has had a steady succession of solid running backs from James Starks, Branden Oliver, Anthone Taylor and now Jordan Johnson. Matt Simon has another solid stable of backs to work with including Johnson, Johnathan Hawkins, and a pair of 3-star recruits.
Jordan Johnson, Sr., 6-1, 220 - Although he split carries with Anthone Taylor last season, Johnson was clearly the best back on the field. Johnson has the size, speed and power to be an every down back and he showed that last season. In his first start he shredded Ohio to the tune of 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. Johnson finished with 12 touchdowns and 811 yards to lead the Bulls in scoring. Johnson figures to be an every down back and will be the bell cow to help assist whomever the new starting quarterback is. Look for Johnson to average near 5 yards per carry and potentially be an All-MAC selection if he replicates his success from last season.
Johnathan Hawkins, So., 5-11, 208 - Hawkins was one of the most highly touted recruits in last season’s recruiting class and he was one of several true freshmen that made the field. Hawkins was a consensus 3-star recruit and had offers from several Power-5 schools including Arkansas, Auburn, Penn State, and NC State. Hawkins played in 10 games as the 3rd running back and as a kick returner. Hawkins totaled only 53 yards and 37 of those came in the opener against Albany. Hawkins has the vision, speed and elusiveness to be top-tier MAC running back. Hawkins will serve as Jordan Johnson’s backup and will likely see split carries throughout the season.
Emmanuel Reed, R-Fr., 5-6, 183 - Reed redshirted last season after rushing for over 5,000 yards in his prep career. Reed is undersized at only 5-6 but his speed is his best asset. Reed is a burner that can be used as a change-of-pace back for UB to help stretch the field and keep opposing defenses honest, a-la Darren Sproles or Dri Archer.
Zach Nicholas, Jr., 6-0, 207 - Nicholas has bounced back and forth between the defensive backfield and the offensive backfield. He only appeared in two games last season and played special teams for the majority of his freshman season. Nicholas will likely play special teams and see time as a reserve running back again this season.
Michael Forman, 5-9, 207 - Forman is a former walk on to the team and will likely see time on special teams if he makes the field this season.
Billy Myers, R-Fr., 6-1, 207 - Myers is another walk on to the team and will likely not see much time this season.
Kameron Pickett, Fr., 5-11, 215 - Pickett was the 2nd ranked running back out of the state of Georgia in this past recruiting cycle and for good season. Pickett had a slew of offers including Navy, Air Force, UConn and Kent State. Pickett has a running style similar to that of former UB great James Starks, and is a slightly smaller version of the Packers running back. Pickett will likely redshirt this season.
Theo Anderson, Fr., 5-10, 210 - A standout from Florida, Pickett was a late addition to this year’s recruiting class, committing in late May. Anderson received offers from UCF, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Temple among others. Anderson, like Pickett, was also a consensus 3-star recruit, but was slowed by injuries his senior year which may have scared off some larger programs. Anderson will likely redshirt this season to add strength and bring him back to full health.