Going into 2019, most Texas A&M fans thought that Jashaun Corbin would be the workhorse on the ground. After a season ending hamstring injury in week two, the reins were handed to true-freshman Isiah Spiller who racked up ten touchdowns and nearly 1,000 rushing yards. Now, Corbin has transferred to Florida State, and powerhouse back-up Cordarrian Richardson is no longer listed on the roster.
Gig ’em Gang 2020 RB Haul
*Note: Devon Achane is not considered to be a “pure” running back, and will not be on this list.*
Even though Coach Jimbo Fisher stated that breakout player Ainias Smith would be making the late-season switch from wide receiver to running back a permanent move, there is still some uncertainty at the position. Injuries are no stranger to running backs; bigger backs take more beatings, smaller backs are theoretically more injury prone. If either Spiller or Smith goes down, someone will have to fill their shoes… or cleats. The 2020 recruiting class has three players who will be looking to stake their claim at the RB3 spot. It’s typically not a title coveted on most teams, but Smith could easily switch to receiver whenever Fisher feels it’s appropriate. RB3 could easily turn to the immediate back-up, the “next man up,” and that’s a title many players would be thankful to have.
- 6’ 190 lbs
- Surprise, AZ
Hubbard was a last minute commit to the Aggies. He brought a great sigh of relief when he committed on National Signing Day, since there was still a desperate need at the position as of then. Ranked as the 14th best player in the state of Arizona, Hubbard’s strengths are patience and vision, two skills that are not common in backs his age. He is not a burner by any means, but the central-Arizona native still manages to find the hole wherever they pop up. Catching passes is a tool in his belt too, both out of the backfield and from the slot. In fact, there is an argument to be made he is a better out of the backfield as a receiver than as a runner. However the Aggies decide to use him, he seems equipped for the task.
- 5’10” 200 lbs
- Stone Mountain, GA
Not many running backs run “mad.” Deondre Jackson happens to be one of them. Like Hubbard, he is not known for his breakaway speed or fancy juke moves. Instead, it’s his power and tenacity while on the field that makes Jackson’s hay. Similar in style to Chris Carson of the Seattle Seahawks, Jackson is not afraid to lower his shoulder and take a hit. But, do not sleep on his agility or balance. Bouncing off tackles appears to be a common trend in his game, which is not something that is easily learned.
Again, Jackson is not the twitchiest or most electric running back to ever do it. He is deliberate and violent on the attack, requiring sound tackles to bring him down, not arm tackles or shoulder bumps. While it is not always guaranteed that a freshman can handle the physicality of the SEC, Jackson casts little doubt in regards to his durability. If the Aggies need him in 2020, the rough-n-tumble seems to be physically ready.
- 6’1” 220 lbs
- Kilgore College
While Jackson certainly isn’t small, Crownover is even bigger. Tipping that scale at 220-225 lbs, the beefy junior college import is power back through and through. He resembles former New York Giants running back, Brandon Jacobs as someone whose power and strength are clearly their moneymakers. But, like Jacobs, Crownover is surprisingly quick for his size and his balance is notable. No, he will not be breaking off eighty-yard touchdowns like Trayveon Williams was capable of doing. However, if the Aggies need to convert a short yard situation, Crownover could be the man to tote the rock or even lead block.
Each of these backs bring to the table a different set of skills: Hubbard, patience and vision; Jackson, violent running style; and Crownover, size and power. Of course, they each have their flaws as well: none are exceptionally fast or quick and the latter two do not have Hubbard’s skills as a receiver. However, Hubbard does not play with his counterpart’s physicality. The point is, there is a lot of give and take between these members of Gig ’em Gang 2020. The good news for the Aggies, is whatever Fisher has in mind, he has at least one back who should fit the role he needs. This trio will likely be battling for the third spot on the depth chart. But in the world of football, a player always has to be ready for his time to shine. It could very well make his entire career.