The Texas A&M Aggies are at the forefront of the college football landscape after what has transpired in the offseason with the uncertainty over the eligibility of of 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.
Beyond Manziel, there may also be a major area of uncertainty for the Aggie offense going into this season: the backfield.
Except in this case, this is only good news for the school. If there is any word to describe coach Kevin Sumlin‘s 2013 Texas A&M running back group, it is simply ‘loaded’.
The Aggies come into this season with four NFL-caliber running backs at their disposal in the running game: senior Ben Malena, and sophomores Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and Tra Carson.
With four different types of running backs, it may be hard for McKinney to find them all quality touches this season on the field.
Malena, at 5-foot-9, 195 pounds should be one of the better veteran backs in the nation will and get the start when the Aggies take on Rice later this month. He rushed for 808 yards and seven touchdowns last season and caught 18 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Last season, Malena was featured as a complimentary back to Christine Michael and also in the kicking game. He will be an unquestioned leader for the A&M offense going forward, even though his workload from a year ago will be diminished with the emergence of the other backs this season.
Trey Williams, a 5-foot-8, 195-pound former five-star recruit, is as shifty as they come. He rushed for 376 yards with five touchdowns and snagged 12 catches for 171 yards last year. Williams will be counted on this season to be a “home run” threat as a kick returner, in the passing game out of the backfield and rushing the ball this season.
Carson, at six-feet, 230 pounds, is a bruising running back who transferred from Oregon after his freshman campaign, carrying the rock for over 250 yards and one touchdown in one season backing up the likes of LaMichael James, De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner in Eugene.
Carson brings a mixture of power and burst as a runner. He probably will have the least amount of carries of all four, but will no doubt be used on short-yardage packages and to run the melon at the goal line.
Brandon Williams, at 6-feet, 200 pounds, is an elite, explosive back who could become the best of the group this season. The Oklahoma transfer has game-changing speed that could allow him to be the star of the team in a few years. His talent will also help complement the dual-threat Johnny Manziel in the option game.
The Aggies have arguably the best running back corps in the nation. It is still going to be interesting to see how the offensive staff uses all four in their game plans this season. Having an incredible slew of running backs coming back will make Manziel’s job a lot easier by taking away pressure on him in big games come this fall. This will also keep the defense honest with their ability to run the football at different angles in regards to out-scheming the defense.
With or without Manziel, the Aggies have four guys this season that can change games in the SEC with one snap of the ball. And that’s all it takes to win championships.