Shrine Bowl RB RosterThe East-West Shrine Bowl is less than one week away, so we continue our series breaking down the players participating in each position group. On Wednesday, I went through all of the Shrine Bowl wide receivers before breaking down the Shrine Bowl tight ends on Thursday. For today, we’ll be going through all eight (and a half) running backs that are participating in Shrine Week activities. Here’s what you need to know about all of the 2022 Shrine Bowl running backs.
Leddie Brown, West VirginiaLeddie Brown has been a steady contributor to the Mountaineers’ offense since he joined the team in 2018. He had a breakout season in his junior year, 2020, putting together his first 1,000-yard rushing season. He followed that up with another 1,000-yard season in 2021, tallying more yards, carries, receptions, and touchdowns than in his junior year. Brown is a hyper-aggressive rusher, so he always hits a hole at full speed. He never shies away from contact, instead absorbing it and staying on his feet to pick up extra yards. He has the explosiveness to take it all the way if he gets good blocking, preferring to truck defenders over evading them if they get in his way. The downside is that Brown lacks patience; he doesn’t wait for his offensive linemen to create running lanes. He also has a history of fumbling and doesn’t add much value as a pass-catcher or in pass protection.
Ty Chandler, North CarolinaTy Chandler played for four years at Tennessee before taking advantage of his extra year of eligibility, continuing his career at UNC as a grad transfer in 2021. Chandler had his first 1,000-yard season in 2021, tallying 1,092 yards on 182 carries (6.0 yards per carry) with 13 touchdowns—all career-highs. What has made Chandler so successful is his field vision and footwork. He’s consistent in finding holes or identifying potential cut-back lanes, able to fake out defenders into overcommitting before disappearing into a newly open running lane. He’s also got the ability to shoot through arm tackles and get “skinny” in tight spaces to continue forward for yards. Once Chandler gets in the open field, watch out. He’s got a real ability to make defenders miss with quick, explosive cuts, and once he makes his way into the clear, the afterburners kick in. Chandler isn’t a huge threat as a pass-catcher, though he does add value in pass protection.
Jashaun Corbin, Florida StateJashaun Corbin initially committed to Florida State out of high school, but when Jimbo Fisher took the job at Texas A&M, Corbin went with him. He had a solid freshman year but tore his hamstring at the start of his sophomore season. Then, Corbin transferred back to where he had initially committed, finishing out his college career with the Seminoles. He had his best season in 2021, fully recovered from the hamstring injury. Corbin is a very physical runner, who excels when he has a designated gap to run to (and through). His frame—especially his strong lower body—allows him to absorb contact and continue moving once he hits a hole. When he gets to the second level, he’s got the vision to find holes and make good cuts to extend yardage. He’s very versatile as well, with solid receiving abilities, above-average pass protection skills, and some experience returning kicks.
Trestan Ebner, BaylorTrestan Ebner had a solid, yet quiet first four seasons with the Bears before breaking out somewhat in 2021. He finished this season with 799 yards on 148 carries (5.4 YPC) and two touchdowns. He’s a very fast player with good footwork that makes him elusive and explosive once the ball is in his hands. Baylor also used Ebner semi-frequently in the passing game, where he was an effective route-runner out of the backfield with solid hands. In terms of physicality, Ebner isn’t a very powerful back that can fight for yards between the tackles, and he has had some issues with fumbles. He’s much better on stretch concepts outside the tackles. He’s got potential as a third- or passing-down back that can change the pace of the game with his speed and ability to run outside the tackles or catch out of the backfield.
Keaontay Ingram, USCKeaontay Ingram had a solid start to his college career at Texas, where he rushed for more than 1,500 yards in his first two seasons. A preseason hamstring injury and late-season ankle injury slowed his production in 2020, and he opted out of the Longhorns’ final three games. He transferred to USC for the 2021 season and put together his most productive season: 156 carries for 911 yards and five touchdowns. Ingram has long legs but keeps his pads low, giving him a low center of gravity that provides him good balance through contact. He has good vision, keeping his eyes up to look for running lanes before bursting through them with strong acceleration. That acceleration makes him dangerous once he gets to the open field. Ingram can turn on a second gear, lower his shoulder through contact, or make guys miss once he reaches the second level.
Isaih Pacheco, RutgersIsaih Pacheco played all of his college career at Rutgers, where he finished sixth in program history in carries and seventh in rushing yards. He had a decent season in 2021, finishing with 647 yards on 167 carries and five touchdowns, earning an All-Big Ten honorable mention. Pacheco is a stocky running back at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, and he can occasionally gain solid yards after contact by squaring his shoulders through the hole. That said, he lacks good contact balance and often goes down too easily on first contact. Pacheco does an alright job avoiding defenders, with the patience and ability to cut back when necessary. However, he has the tendency to look indecisive, sometimes dancing around too much in the backfield looking for the big play and losing yards as a result.
Ronnie Rivers, Fresno StateRonnie Rivers had a solid final season of his five-year career at Fresno State. He put up 788 yards and five touchdowns on 161 carries, and he left as the program’s all-time leader in touchdowns, rushing touchdowns, and receiving touchdowns as a running back. Rivers has shown an ability to be patient and find holes with quick jump cuts, all while keeping his pads and center of gravity low. That has, in turn, allowed him to stay balanced through contact and elusive when he gets into open space. Rivers’ patience isn’t perfect, however, and he has a tendency to bounce to the outside too frequently, even though he lacks the acceleration and speed necessary to break off a big play off the edge. He’s also too small to be a power back though, and he had an issue with fumbles in 2021. He is a solid receiver, with soft hands and a consistent ability to catch check-downs and create separation running routes against linebackers.
Pierre Strong, South Dakota StatePierre Strong is the sole FCS running back set to participate in Shrine Week 2022. He’s had an incredibly successful career at South Dakota State, putting together three 1,000-yard seasons in his four-year career with the Jackrabbits. In none of his four years did Strong dip below an average of 5.0 yards per carry, with his peak being 9.5(!) YPC his freshman year. His 2021 season saw the pinnacle of his production, with 1,673 yards on 240 carries and 18 touchdowns. Strong isn’t a big, strong, physical back, though. He’s got great vision and good footwork, which makes him successful in zone-reads, but he isn’t someone who can tear through tackles in tight spaces. Once Strong gets to the open field though, he can easily go all the way. His vision, elusiveness, and speed at the second level give him high big-play potential. He’s a solid receiver with good hands out of the backfield, but he primarily caught check-downs before generating extra yardage with his open-field elusiveness.
Calvin Turner Jr., Hawai’iCalvin Turner Jr. is a super versatile athlete who began his college career at Jacksonville University before transferring to Hawai’i in 2020. He’s officially listed on the Shrine Bowl roster as both a wide receiver and running back, but he also has some experience as a quarterback as well. Turner’s roles as a rusher and pass-catcher were split dead evenly in 2021, as he recorded 73 rushes and 73 receptions for the Rainbow Warriors this season. The result was a final tally of 1,192 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns—Turner averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 12 yards per reception. It will be very interesting to see how he shows off his impact at each role at the Shrine Bowl.
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