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Spring Ball Running Back

MAC Football Championship - Ball State v Buffalo Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

There was a point in early January where the UB running back situation was completely up in the air. In a move that surprised nobody Jaret Patterson declared for the NFL draft in late December.

Then less than two weeks later, in what was a surprising move, Kevin Marks entered the transfer portal.

Marks proved time and time again that if there was a difference between the production of UB’s backs, it was minimal. Every time Marks had to step up as UB’s starter or workhorse back he had answered the call.

When Patterson declared for the draft it was basically a forgone conclusion that Marks was going to be the feature back next season. Kevin’s already a top ten all time producer for Buffalo and in a 12-14 game season he can not only pass Jaret Patterson but maybe take the number one spot away from Branden Oliver.

Thankfully Buffalo was able to “re-recruit” Marks. The soon to be senior left the portal shortly after entering it, stating that he and his family believed Buffalo was the best place for him to finish college.

But the question remains, what about the rest of the backs?

Starter : Kevin Marks

So... We have a proven starter, one that manged a thousand yards in 2019 and more than 100 yards a game last season while sharing the role. What else do we have?

If I had to put money on who will be the “backup” I’d say Dylan McDuffie fits the role. He would typify Lance Leipolds “change of pace philosophy” and he managed more than six yards a carry when he was healthy in 2019.

Ron Cook will push McDuffie for the job and could do well, but I see a bigger role for cook as a return specialist (which the Bulls badly need).

The rest of the stable is inexperienced so it’s up in the air. Especially since most of their highlights came against an 2021 Akron team that had already been dispirited by Patterson and Marks.

  • Tajay Ahmed ripped off a 44-yard touchdown run against Akron.
  • Caron Robinson looked had five carries for 36 yards against Akron.

There are also two freshman that have not had the chance to show what they can do.

  • Redshirt-freshman Kolbe Burrell who chose Buffalo over Rutgers, Temple, UMass, and a hand full of MAC offers.
  • True freshman Mike Washington picked Buffalo over a dozen other FBS/FCS offers.

Coach Leipold has typically tried to split running back duties between two players with different styles. For a couple of years that was easy, this season Buffalo will have to find someone to complement Kevin Marks, though make no mistake it looks at this point like Marks will be shouldering a lot more of the load than a UB back has been asked to do alone in some years.