July 22, 2009

No urgency at running back

As is the case at quarterback, Kent State is in a good position with its running back depth. So good in fact, the Golden Flashes can be even more selective signing a running back during this recruiting campaign than they can a quarterback.

That's evident when looking at the number of public offers extended to running backs by the Golden Flashes.

KSU has offered Ohioans Andre Givens of Hubbard, Tyson Gulley of Akron North and North Canton Hoover's Erick Howard, Ohio's reigning Mr. Ohio. Woodland Hills, Pa., ball carrier Dom Timbers also reports an offer from Kent State.

The Flashes have nearly twice as many offers out to quarterbacks (seven) than they do running backs. But that likely will change as the recruiting season progresses.

Givens, a three-star prospect, holds dozens of offers, including many from BCS conference schools. Gulley could decide soon between Kent State and several other Mid-American Conference schools as well as Kansas and Syracuse. Howard is a prime target of many of the nation's top college football programs, but has some work to do in the classroom before he makes his college choice. Timbers already has committed to Syracuse.

The good news is the Flashes aren't in a pinch to sign a top running back. It's likely that any running back signed in February would redshirt the 2010 season anyway.

In 2009, the KSU depth chart at running back includes returning starter Eugene Jarvis, a senior in his last year of eligibility, juniors Andre Flowers and Alan Vanderink, both of whom will graduate after the 2010 season, sophomore Jacquise Terry, who holds three years of eligibility, and incoming freshman Dri Archer.

The best bet for a 2010 running back is Gulley, who rushed for over 1,300 yards and 18 scores last season. The two-star prospect camped at Ohio State and Cincinnati this summer, but failed to earn a scholarship offer. That leaves him with Kansas and Syracuse, neither short on ball carriers, and most of the MAC.

Because of his extensive offer list, Givens likely doesn't fit into the equation and Timbers already is off the market. That leaves Howard as the only other running back on Kent State's recruiting board, at least for now. And it isn't likely Ohio's top running back signs with the Golden Flashes.

Other running backs claiming an interest in Kent State include Springboro, Ohio's Taylor Frantz and Warren, Mich.'s Edwin Limmitt.

Frantz, a 6-foot, 205-pounder, rushed for 627 yards and five touchdowns and added 13 catches for 169 yards last season. He was a first-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference selection. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Limmitt accounted for about 1,800 yards of offense and scored 18 times for the Fitzgerald School.

Despite the lack of urgency in recruiting a running back, the Flashes are expected to sign at least one ball carrier in 2010.

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