Project 2014: The Running Backs
Image Credit: Terrapin Station MD
Brandon Ross emerged as the Terps’ starting running back in 2013, but there will be a very interesting group of players vying for playing time at the running back position in 2014. Randy Edsall hasn’t added a running back to his 2014 class as of yet, but the team will regain Wes Brown after his one-year suspension. Let’s take a look at this talented group of players.
2013 Rushing Rank: 87th (144.6 yards/game)
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Brandon Ross – Redshirt Junior
2013 Statistics: 146 carries, 660 yards, 4.5 ypc, 4 TD; 17 catches, 165 yards, 9.7 ypc, 0 TD
After a 2012 season that saw Wes Brown, Brandon Ross, and Albert Reid all share carries fairly equally, Randy Edsall named Ross as his starting running back for 2013. He was the best fit for Mike Locksley’s system. Fast enough to get around the edge, powerful enough to run between the tackles, and serviceable in the passing game. He had a good season, and never lost the starting position when he was healthy. It is very likely that he keeps his hold on the starting position for 2014 after a very solid 2013 season.
Albert Reid – Junior
2013 Statistics: 67 carries, 286 yards, 4.3 ypc, 2 TD; 6 catches, 62 yards, 10.3 ypc, 1 TD
Albert Reid played a good role in the Maryland offense in 2013, serving as the change-of-pace back throughout the season. He is more of a downhill runner than Ross, and showed his improved strength this season after a great offseason in the weight room. He pushed Ross for carries all season long, and started against Clemson in Ross’ absence. He certainly has a role in the offense for 2014.
Wes Brown – Redshirt Sophomore
2013 Statistics: N/A
2012 Statistics: 90 carries, 382 yards, 4.2 ypc, 2 TD; 5 catches, 14 yards, 2.8 ypc, 0 TD
After a year off due to a suspension, Wes Brown will be back in College Park for the 2014 season. He played very well in 2012, and emerged as the starting running back midway through the season before becoming injured. He is a true power back, able to bowl over defenders with his crushing running style. That style should be good for his playing time chances in the Big Ten, as defenses become more and more tough. He could see time as the short-yardage back in Mike Locksley’s system next season.
Jacquille Veii – Sophomore
2013 Statistics: 37 carries, 143 yards, 3.9 ypc, 0 TD; 5 catches, 18 yards, 3.6 ypc, 0 TD
Jacquille Veii, the National Signing Day recruit from Gaithersburg, had a very good freshman season for the Terps. He is all about speed, and was able to showcase his explosive abilities early in the season in those games that were over by the 3rd quarter. That earned him playing time in ACC play, and he showed that he can play with the big boys as well. He also saw time in Wild-Crab packages when Caleb Rowe started at quarterback. He would line up in the slot and come in motion for Ricardo Young, the Wild-Crab quarterback. He played a good role when Stefon Diggs went down as a guy who could run the Jet Sweeps very well. He definitely has a role in 2013, and you should see him split time at running back and wide receiver for the next few years.
Joe Riddle – Redshirt Sophomore
2013 Statistics: N/A
Before Randy Edsall signed Jacquille Veii, Joe Riddle was in line to be the team’s #3 running back in 2013. He had a very strong spring, and looked like the Terps’ best pass-catcher out of the backfield. But he was relegated to special teams duty due to Veii’s presence. Riddle probably doesn’t have a role outside of special teams in 2014 unless the running back position gets hit with a bunch of injuries, but does have some potential for the years to come.
View the projected 2014 two-deep depth chart here.