It's time to talk about the position that will get the most press from the national media this season, running back. Last year a new college football star emerged on the scene in Shady McCoy. His ability to make something out of absolutely nothing energized the fanbase and created a buzz around himself that is rarely seen. What will his encore this season be?
I look for Shady to have a better season than last if that is even possible. The offense has been molded around his talents and he will be the centerpiece of an improved team. Shady is going to be able to improve in his yardage and touchdown totals simply by being the starter from opening day. Our opening two games are chances for Shady to pad his stats and to start his attack at more school records. My prediction is that Shady will have somewhere between 1400-1600 yards and with 12-16 touchdowns. If the team improves as much as we expect Shady could shatter both of those totals and make a run at 2000 yards.
Another aspect of this season to look at in regards to Shady is his emergence as the face of Pitt football. The national media has paraded him around as a star and he has handled himself with nothing but class and has represented the school extremely well. At the end of his college career he will have made an impact on this program that very few players can say they did.
Behind Shady is the extremely solid LaRod Stephens-Howling. As a player we all know what we get with him and that is a guy who can break the big run, catch balls out of the backfield, and add a change of pace. He is also going to factor into the return game as a kickoff returner. Consummate college football player and will have a decent sized role in his final season.
Shareef Harris is another player that looks to make an impact in the running game, specifically, in the short yardage game. Harris is a powerful runner that could be the power back to complement Shady and the rest of the running game. Since Harris took his redshirt last year I would look for him to definitely get some playing time due to his level of talent. Definitely one to look for in the future.
Kevin Collier was a highly touted player two years ago but after a limited role his freshman year he took an injury in preseason last year. He may have had a much bigger impact last year but then Shady hit and time at running back began to get scarce. Chris Burns came into camp as a freshman and made a decent showing of himself. I have to believe he will get a redshirt since he is the only running back who could logically be redshirted and having 4 capable running backs is more than enough.
At fullback we have the best player in the country Conredge Collins. Collins is the complete article in that he can block, catch passes, and run the ball if necessary. He is going to have a long NFL career and could be a first day pick in next year's draft. Behind Collins is a highly talented player in Henry Hynoski. Hynoski will be the next great Pitt fullback when Collins leaves and we could see him factor in a good deal this season. He would be a great guy to use in a jumbo backfield and with his blocking ability he will see some time in short yardage situations.
The level of talent in the backfield is amazing and you can see what the future holds for this position in the backups. The future is very bright at running back and fullback.