Photo by Russell Isabella / USA Today
Oregon Football

Position Overview: Running Backs

July 16, 2019

Oregon returns pretty much all of its running back group from a year ago. In fact it’s quite a crowded stable of young horses ready to be the guy for Oregon.

The Ducks signed two more running backs in 2019 in Sean Dollars and Jayvaun Wilson. Which means it’s going to be difficult to get everyone touches with only one football to share. 

This is a good problem for Mario Cristobal and Jim Mastro to have. 

A few days ago we took a look at the quarterback position, headlined by Justin Herbert. Let’s dig into the boys in the backfield and see how they stack up.

Talent: 8.5

It's clear to me CJ Verdell is the guy the staff feels most comfortable with. He gets the bulk of the carries in the key situations. Travis Dye is a guy who probably works as hard as anyone on this team. Although he’s a bit slight in stature, he just runs hard.

Cyrus Habibi-Likio is the goal-line vulture. He’s consistent when he gets the call. However he’s been pretty limited thus far. 

Although there are a lot of very capable backs, there isn’t any one player on the level of Justin Herbert. Which is no slight to any of the backs. But there’s no way I can give this group a 10 like quarterback for talent because of that difference. 

Depth: 9.5

This group could probably survive 3 or 4 injuries as deep as it’s built. Now of course the starter is the starter for a reason but even should Oregon need to start say Habibi-Likio or Darrian Felix they’d be just fine for  a game or two. 

Even if the signees aren't ready this season I don’t think that’s an issue for this group. 

Conversely I gave QB’s a higher mark for talent, I’m giving this group the higher mark for depth. It’s REALLY deep at running back.

Experience: 9

Returning starters is always a good thing. Returning contributors is even better. Again we can go four deep at this position of guys that have played live snaps of college football.

While this group doesn’t have that first-round NFL monster in the backfield, it does have capable backs very deep.

The great news about this is between depth and experience will help the iron sharpen iron in practice.

I do think CJ Verdell is going to be hard to pass over for anyone. He’s a strong runner and catches the ball well out of the backfield. That said Jim Mastro will coach up his guys and probably have Oregon rolling at least 2 or 3 deep ready to rock. 

Tags: Football, Oregon
Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.