On Thursday we began our series examining the five questions FAU will hope to answer when spring football begins on Tuesday. We started by asking, Who will start at quarterback for the Owls? Now we turn to the men behind the signal callers.
Who Will Carry The Ball for FAU?
Devin Singletary and Kerrith Whyte’s early entry into the NFL Draft left FAU with a gaping hole in its backfield.
And not the type the former Owls once ran through.
FAU’s offense functions best when it’s ground-centric, so with Singletary and Whyte gone, new backs need to replace at least some of their production. But finding the right combination will be challenging.
Why? Because in some cases they’ve never done it before and in others it’s been years since they’ve come close.
The Owls scored a Conference USA-leading 35 rushing touchdowns last season. That’s more than triple the carries (11) its current running backs combined for that year.
B.J. Emmons, a former five-star high school recruit and Alabama signee, is an early favorite for a feature role. But he didn’t played Division I football in the previous two seasons. Emmons spent 17’ in junior college, and used the 2018 season to qualify academically for FAU.
In his lone season in Tuscaloosa, Emmons ran for 173 yards and a touchdown on 4.9 yards per carry.
Returners Malcolm Davidson and James Charles rushed for 34 and 18 yards, respectively, last season, playing distant third and fourth fiddles to Singletary and Whyte. Tyrek Tisdale missed most of 2018 with injuries after showing promise as a freshman the year prior.
Davidson’s speed flashed in his limited opportunities, so the rising sophomore should be the likeliest of the holdovers to receive an expanded role.
The only other experienced back FAU has is Chauncey Mason, an Arkansas State transfer and brother of former Auburn star Tre Mason. He had 27 carries, 137 yards and a touchdown for the Red Wolves in 2017 before transferring to FAU last summer.
FAU is also bringing a host of recently-signed, talented freshmen to campus, so this battle will likely carry over into the fall.
Finding a quarterback is probably FAU’s top priority this spring. But establishing a run game to support that player will be as critical to the Owls’ offensive outlook.