The North Carolina Tar Heels head into 2013 with aspirations of an ACC title and BCS bowl game. To get there, they have focused on replacing the production of Giovani Bernard, now in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, at the running back position. While Larry Fedora feels like he has found the main guys to get the job done, early enrollee Khris Francis has staked a claim for playing time this spring as well.
Francis signed as a four-star recruit this offseason with the ability to physically run the ball between the tackles with excellent vision. At 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, the young runner is a low-to-the-ground running back that runs with power. While he isn’t known to be a big burner to the outside, he shows an elusiveness in tight spaces, making the small cuts to get him free in the hole.
He’s put his skills on display this spring, surprising Fedora with his ability to pick up the offense quickly. He led the team in the spring game, rushing for 101 yards on 20 carries and giving Heels’ fans reason to be excited about his potential. There is still work he has to do, like adding bulk to his frame, before he can take over as a featured back, but his strong, downhill running style should make him a solid contributor his first year on campus.
North Carolina feels confident in what they have at the top of their running back depth chart with A.J. Blue and Romar Morris providing a one-two punch. Francis can add depth to the running game his freshman season and add another dimension to the Heels’ offensive attack in 2013.