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Buffalo Bulls Football Positional Preview - Running Backs

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One of the deepest and most talented position groups on the UB squad, the running game will be a big key in whether or not the team is successful in Lance Leipold's first year at the helm.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Moving back to the offensive side of the ball, we'll be looking at one of UB's deepest position groups with several guys who could shoulder the starting load if need be. The running back corps will be heavily relied upon in Lance Leipold's inaugural season, with a returning veteran starter and several rotational guys who could easily rush for 100 yards or more on any given day.

Projected Starter

RB - Anthone Taylor, Sr., 5-10, 208 - Stepping into Branden Oliver-sized shoes in the starting lineup for Anthone Taylor was no easy task, but he took the opportunity in stride and put up an excellent season with over 1,400 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns (in a full season both would've been higher, I'm looking at you Kent State). Taylor also rushed for over 200 yards on several occasions and was the first player in program history to eclipse 200 yards in consecutive games, an impressive feat considering those who have came before him. Taylor is a shifty runner that has the power and burst to run between the tackles or take a sweep around the outside, his speed also means that he's liable to take a run to the house on any given play. Taylor is one of the most dangerous runners in the MAC and will be a name to watch, even the national media is hyping Taylor, as he was named to the Doak Walker Watch List for the Nation's top running back.

FB - Kendall Patterson, Sr., 6-1, 236 - This is assuming that Leipold will eventually start a fullback at some point during the season (Quinn did some games and others he started 3 WRs). Patterson is actually a converted defensive lineman who has played the past two seasons as the Bulls' lead blocker. He has helped paved the way for two consecutive 1,400 yard rushing seasons by the Bulls' running backs so he is a reliable blocker who can help mitigate some of the losses on the offensive line while run blocking, and can also chip in in the pass game as well, both as a blocker and a safety valve, he caught 4 balls for 27 yards last season.

Backups

Jordan Johnson, Jr., 6-0, 220 - After struggling with injuries after his short trek from Sweet Home to UB, Johnson had a breakout season last year backing up Anthone Taylor, and showing that he could shoulder the load if need be. Johnson rushed for 361 yards on 74 carries for 4.9 yards per carry, the former quarterback also threw a 33 yard touchdown in the UB win against Akron.

Gary Hosey, R-Fr., 5-11, 247 - Hosey is another one former 3-star Quinn recruit who redshirted last year and will look to add a short-yardage presence this season behind Taylor and Johnson. During the spring game Hosey looked like a bruiser and on one occasion he had 6 defenders trying to take him down and he still trudged ahead for a few more yards before finally going to the ground. Look for Hosey to excel in short yardage and goal-to-go situations.

Chris Doubek, R-Fr., 5-7, 170 - A former walk-on that will provide depth at running back, he'll be a change-of-pace type back a la Danny Woodhead or former UB player Dave Dawson.

Michael Forman, So., 5-9, 220 - Another former walk-on who will provide depth in the running back corps, he may see the field on special teams or in spot relief duty.

Joe Shillace, So., 6-1, 245 - A backup fullback who will look to challenge for playing time behind Kendall Patterson. Shillace has a big frame that Coach Leipold can use in multiple different scenarios.

Glynn Molinich, So., 5-11, 233 - A former tight end who is making a move to fullback, Molinich played primarily on special teams but can be used in an H-Back type role. This season he will likely see more action on the kick coverage team.

Incoming Freshmen

Johnathan Hawkins, Fr., 5-10, 198 - One of the crown jewels of Lance Leipold's first recruiting class, Hawkins looks to be the future of the Bulls at the running back position. Leipold managed to beat out several P-5 schools vying for Hawkins including: Auburn, Arkansas, Penn State, and NC State. Hawkins will likely redshirt this season but he'll be contending for playing time early and often starting next season.

Emmanuel Reed, Fr., 5-9, 188 - Reed was another highly sought after recruit that Leipold managed wrangle in; Reed held 12 Division I offers including offers from Cal, Army, Temple and USF. Reed is a quick and shifty back who can be the lightning to Hawkins' thunder in the coming years. Reed will likely redshirt this upcoming season.

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Be sure to stay tuned to Bull Run for more positional previews and Matt and I's Olympic Team Previews.

Football Positional Previews:

Quarterbacks

Linebackers

Olympic Team Previews:

Volleyball - Team Preview

Volleyball - Lineup Guess

Men's Soccer - Team Preview

Men's Soccer - Lineup Guess

Cross Country - Team Preview

Go Bulls!