Countdown to Kickoff: Running Backs Preview


We started off the 2015 Countdown to Kickoff for the 2015 Carolina Tar Heels Football season with an inside look at the state of the Quarterback position. The Quarterback position appears to be in fine shape barring injury. Similarly  the tailbacks may be the deepest position on the Carolina roster. If the offensive line can gel much better in 2015, the numbers this group as a whole put up will be staggering. The current coaching staff has done an excellent job at loading up on talent at Tailback. In year 4, it’s time for this group to collectively shine.

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As loaded as the running backs start in 2015, this group will not be anything without the big boys block for them up front. It will imperative that this group comes flying out of the gate in Game 1 and that they do not let up. For as banged up as a Tailback can get over the course of a season, having the strength in numbers should help keep RB1 to RB6 fresh is vital to Littrell’s offense. I’ve grouped this depth by tiers, representing how much production I’d expect from the player come Year’s end.

Tier 1

I group these two running backs above the rest strictly based on their historical production and what I expect Larry Fedora and Seth Littrell to stick with in 2015. TJ Logan and Elijah Hood are the most exciting talents Carolina has at running back and should be the stars of the backfield.

Dec 26, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back T.J. Logan (8) rushes in the third quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the 2014 Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field. Rutgers won 40-21. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

RB 1 – TJ Logan (#8) 5-10 185 lbs Junior

Logan led the Tar Heel running backs in production for the second consecutive season in the program. In 2014 he appeared in every game while starting in 9. I thought TJ was poised for a breakout season as a sophomore only to get hampered by an inconsistent offense. While I wish this guy would put on another 15 lbs of bulk to cope with the wear and tear of a season,Logan playing bigger than he is keeps me quiet. Logan serves as a significant factor in the Kick Return game alongside Ryan Switzer. In the run game, Logan remains Carolina’s best option in between the 20s. I’m optimistic this guy showcases what he can do and that he puts forth a solid Junior campaign.

RB 2 – Elijah Hood (#34) 6-0 220 Sophomore

Dec 26, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Elijah Hood (34) rushes chased by Rutgers Scarlet Knights linebacker Kevin Snyder (45) in the 2014 Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruiser from Charlotte saw a large chunk of his Freshman campaign wiped away after suffering an injury in South Bend mid way through. Hood is Carolina’s best option in short yardage and in pass protection. The kid hits like a Mac truck and has great speed for a kid his size. He’s the kind of guy you want in the backfield and the guy you want to block for. I’m hoping Hood’s vision improves  leading a BIG YEAR TWO for the Big Back.

Tier 2

RB 1a – Khris Francis (#1) 5-9 200 Junior

Khris Francis looks to bounce back in 2015 after an injury riddled season in 2014. He saw rare action in the first several games getting buried underneath depth chart behind Logan, Hood, Morris and the ineffective run game. Unfortunately when Francis was called upon late in the year,  he blew his knee out in early action in the Pitt game. As a fan base we’re hoping this kid bounces back to the talent we saw at periods in 2013.

Nov 20, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Romar Morris (21) carries the ball against the Duke Blue Devils defense in their game at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

RB 1b – Romar Morris (#21) 5-10 190 Senior

I often refer to this guy as the Curious Case of Romar Morris. Morris possesses elite speed and has every opportunity to be one of Carolina’s most dangerous weapons on offense. For one reason or another, this kid’s been plagued by injuries or gotten in trouble during various points in his college career. I keep waiting for this kid to have a breakout year. 2015 Romar’s last shot to make it happen.

Tier 3

RB 1a Ty’Son Williams (#9) 6-0 220 True Freshman

The last two running backs that have enrolled at UNC have been a bruising pair between Elijah Hood and Ty’Son Williams. While near the bottom of the depth chart, do not be surprised to see this guy get some carries early on. He’s almost too talented to keep off the field.

RB 1b Charles Brunson (#27) 5-11 205 Redshirt Junior

Nov 15, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tailback Charles Brunson (27) scores a touchdown as Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Ray Vinopal (9) defends in the third quarter. The Tar Heels defeated the Panthers 40-35 at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Brunson’s a special teams stud the rises to occasion whenever called upon. Stepped up big in the Pitt game, filling in with Morris, Hood and Francis all sidelined. I wish every player on the squad played with this kid’s heart.

Comfort Level With The Running Backs (1 to 5 scale; 5 being the best): 5

Deep. Talented. Multi Dimensional. Experienced: All characteristics you want to read about any position group on a roster. With an experienced backfield, both at the Quarterback and Running Back positions Carolina sets themselves to have a dominating run game if the Offensive Line comes to task. I hope this time next year we’re talking about how much we want this group as a whole to replicate in 2016 what was accomplished in 2015.

The Receivers (The Prima Donnas of the Offense) are up next.

Go Heels!