As the SMU Mustangs make the move to the AAC in 2013, they face the unfavorable task of replacing running back Zach Line. Over the last four seasons, few have been as productive out of the backfield as Line, who rushed for 4,185 yards and 47 touchdowns during his collegiate career. With his eligibility expired, however, June Jones must look to a new running back to shoulder the load next season. Luckily for him, he has landed Traylon Shead to step in and take over the running game.
Shead was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in 2010 and originally signed with the Texas Longhorns. He left Austin after one redshirt season, however, looking for more playing time but ended up in the junior college ranks. He has shown the ability to be wildly productive, rushing for 10,291 yards in his high school career and at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, has the size to be a three-down back and goal-line presence for SMU next fall.
Jones will lean on Shead hard to carry the running game next season as the Mustangs try and pick up the pace of their entire offense. While Jones and new offensive coordinator Hal Mumme have made their careers on the air raid offense, having a viable running game with a back that can do it all out of the backfield is so important to what SMU will try to do on offense next season.
Shead bolted Texas to find a featured role in an offense. It took a while for him to find it, but his opportunity is now here. Will he be able to step into the shoes left behind by Line and elevate the SMU offense to the next level?