Arkansas football: The three-headed monster at RB

The next position group that we will be previewing this offseason is the running back spot. Bret Bielema’s offense relies heavily upon the running game and with three stellar backs, it is undoubtedly the most talented position group on the field for the Arkansas football team.

A year ago, Arkansas had the third best rushing offense in the SEC averaging 207.8 yards per game, but only managed 14 touchdowns on the ground. This season the Hogs will be looking to improve on those numbers with three featured backs, or better yet, the three-headed monster.

Jonathan Williams

Williams has been a standout player since he stepped on campus as a freshman and has been a consistent back in his first two years as a Razorback.

Last season Williams played in all 12 games as a sophomore and finished the year with 150 rushes for 900 yards and four touchdowns. He also hauled in seven receptions for 72 yards and two scores.

After hearing some coaches in interviews and personally talking to a few players, it has been apparent that Williams has been working incredibly hard in the weight room this offseason.  Hopefully that translates well to the field this season as Williams could get the most carries during games this year out of the three backs.

Williams’ passion for the game paired with his breakaway speed and elusiveness, I think make him the most dangerous back that Arkansas has. His junior year should be the most productive and a breakout one for the Allen native.

Alex Collins

Probably the most popular player on the Arkansas football team made a name for himself before he even signed with the Razorbacks in high school and he has been in the spotlight ever since.

Collins received first-team All-SEC Freshman honors along with SEC Freshman of the year for his performance in the 2013-2014 season.

Collins rushed for 1,026 yards on 190 carries with four scores and was only the 10th true freshman in SEC history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He was also the first freshman in the FBS since Adrian Peterson to rush for more than 100 yards in his first three games of his career.

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Collins since his outstanding freshman campaign.

In February, Bielema announced a one-week suspension from all team activities for Collins, but declined to offer his reasoning for the suspension. There have also been reports that Collins was slacking in the offseason training program and was being lazy during workouts. Talks of him gaining weight were thrown around and it actually looked like he may have put on a few pounds in the offseason.

I know I can go on any of my social media and see Collins posing with literally any Greek life member or student which isn’t a bad thing, however if the new fame gets to his head, it may have potential to become a problem.

One thing that I am hoping to see from Collins this year will be the emergence of some breakaway speed.  Last season he never had a long run for a touchdown because he would always get tackled by the last defender which may be the only flaw in his game.

Collins has tremendous cutting ability and vision that will seemingly only improve. Let’s see how he responds to such a successful freshman year. If he limits off the field distractions, I think he will be just fine, and one of the best in the league.

Korliss Marshall

If you don’t know about Korliss Marshall yet, get ready for him to be a household name.

The Osceola freshman recorded 586 all-purpose yards a year ago, including a career-long 87-yard kickoff return against Auburn. Marshall also had a kickoff return for a touchdown in the LSU game last season that was called back because of a holding penalty.

If you could describe Marshall in one word it would be explosive.

He has the big-play ability to score any time he touches the ball, which is something that this football team was lacking last year. Marshall could be the x-factor that the Razorback offense has been searching desperately for.

It would be a huge mistake for Marshall not to get a many more carries than he did last year. Look for him to get a lot of swing passes and sweeps to try and get the speedster in space to make some plays.

Here is Marshall’s big play ability shown in the Spring Game.

When it’s all said and done I think that the position will be mostly by committee between the three backs, but with Williams and Collins getting a little more than Marshall.

I expect Williams to have the most productive year out of the three backs and one that will gain him national attention. I think he is one of the most underrated players in the SEC with and will play with a chip on his shoulder this year.

The running back position seems to be in better shape than any other position on the field for the Razorbacks and it should be one of the best not only in the SEC, but in the country.

For the preview of the Quarterback position for the Razorbacks, click here.

 

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