When thinking about next season, it's pretty painful to think of it in terms of what we're losing on offense. Namely, Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge. At halfback, it seems like we're returning a competent stable of rushers, but really, if Brandon Bolden, Cordera Eason, and Enrique Davis did their jobs last season, then we don't have to play two true freshmen (Tim Simon and Rodney Scott) and move Dex to halfback. We have options at RB, but we're still looking for answers. The fullback position is also wide open next year after graduating Andy Hartman. The 2010 signing class features two running backs who could easily push for playing time as soon as they set foot on campus. More after the jump.
Nick Parker- Halfback, South Panola. 6'2, 210 lbs
Parker seems to be built in the mold of several of our current and former running backs. Like Bolden, Eason, Davis, and Simon, he's a one-cut, downhill runner with good open-field speed. At South Panola, Parker really made the offense go, rushing for 2,500 yards as a junior, and carrying the team through the 6A playoffs as a senior. While a redshirt year or even a move to fullback isn't out of the question, I wouldn't be surprised to see Parker take some snaps at halfback in 2010.
Other reported offers: LSU, Tennessee, MSU, USM
Jeff Scott- Haflback, Archbishop Carroll (Miami). 5'8, 170 lbs
Scott seems like his "hype" may have fallen victim to his early commitment to Ole Miss. He's apparently extremely quick, and the coaches are sold on him. In their Quest To Replace Dexter, I can't blame the coaches for taking some chances on kids like Jeff Scott, Jesse Grandy, and Korvic Neat. Taking quick, undersized guys is a calculated risk, and hopefully it pays off for us.
Other reported offers: Colorado State, Florida International, Troy
Martez Eastland- Fullback, Ringgold, GA. 6'0, 235 lbs
Some of my favorite Ole Miss offensive players have been athletic fullbacks who seemed to make big plays at clutch times. Charles Stackhouse, Toward Sanford, Lorenzo Townsend... guys that were big, fast, and had good hands. Eastland fits the bill here, and I think he has the best chance of contributing on offense next year of maybe any of the incoming freshmen.
Other reported offers: some dispute here. Some sites report offers from Tennessee and South Carolina, while others report offers from UAB and Tennessee-Chattanooga
So, without a blue-chip running back in our backyard this year, it seems like Recrootin' Dale and company did a good job of filling some holes and taking some chances on guys in the offensive backfield this year. Considering that it could be considered a weak area of this class, that's pretty good news.