The North Carolina Tar Heels Football team has several position groups that will see fierce competition for starting positions in the fall. The most attention will be given to the quarterbacks, with Jacolby Criswell and Drake Maye likely battling until the day before the season opener versus Florida A&M.
But the biggest competition will be for snaps at running back. And the field is wide open.
Here is a rundown of the running backs group:
- British Brooks (Fifth-year senior)
- DJ Jones (Junior)
- Elijah Green (Sophomore)
- Caleb Hood (Sophomore)
- Kamarro Edmonds (Redshirt freshman)
- George Pettaway (Freshman)
- Omarion Hampton (Freshman - June enrollee)
In the spring game, every available running back made an appearance on the field. Hood did not appear due to an injury.
Below is a breakdown of the performances:
- Green led all rushers with 9 attempts, 61 total rushing yards, and a run of 36 yards. He also scored a touchdown and catch two passes totaling 15 yards.
- Edwards had four rushes, totaling 50 yards. His 12.5 yards per rush led all running backs.
- Jones had seven attempts for 31 yards and a touchdown.
- Brooks had four rushes totaling 25 yards.
- Pettaway had four attempts for 16 yards.
Looking back at the 2021 running back preview, a lot of the comments about the current players remain the same:
Carolina has quality, but inexperienced, depth at running back.
Last season, Sam Howell put a lot of emphasis on the “R” in RPO. The offensive line issues being a primary factor, but perhaps that inexperienced depth played a role.
This season will be different. No longer will the Tar Heels rely on an experienced quarterback to be the de facto back up running back.
With Ty Chandler off to the NFL Draft and a first-time starter under center, now is the time for those players to make the most of the opportunity.
With two upperclassmen, players with experience in the system, and a variety of running styles, the running backs can be difference-makers on offense in 2022.
For those that attended the Spring Game, which running back looked best to you?