FIU Football: 2023 Spring Outlook — Running Back

FIU Soccer: 2023 Spring Outlook — Working Again

Our position-by-position outlook of the FIU soccer staff getting into spring apply continues with the operating backs. For earlier articles within the collection, click on right here.

Key returners: Lexington Joseph (Sr., 5-8, 210 — 108 carries for 536 yards and 5 touchdowns), Kejon Owens (R-Soph, 5-10, 190 — 26 carries for 83 yards and one landing), Antonio Patterson (R-Fr., 6-0, 200 — 9 carries for 40 yards)

Key losses: Eric Wilson Jr. (switch — Temple)

Newcomers: Shomari Lawrence (switch — South Dakota)

Largest unanswered query: Who’s behind Flex?

With E.J. Wilson Jr.’s switch to Temple, the FIU backfield contains a fifth-year senior Lexington “Flex” Joseph, who ought to reclaim his beginning position in 2023. Behind Joseph are a pair of former three-star recruits, an FCS switch and a pair of 2022 walk-ons.

Flex Joseph will search for one other breakout season in 2023

Kim Montuoro

Miami native Kejon Owens was a highly-productive again at Central Excessive, the identical college that’s produced a number of FIU backs together with Joseph and former Panther Anthony Jones. Owens appeared in seven contests final season because the third-string again and this spring will function his first actual alternative to compete for vital reps.

One among Mike MacIntyre’s earliest signees, Antonio Patterson rushed for nearly 1,300 yards in his closing prep season at Murfreesboro, TN’s Oakland Excessive College. Nonetheless, the three-star recruit was squarely within the shadows of five-star recruit and present Oregon Duck Jordan James, who Patterson backed up.

Like Owens, the spring session will likely be vital for Patterson to ascertain himself and carve out a job within the operating again room. In practices, Patterson has proven a capability as a succesful receiver — one thing that’s essential in offensive coordinator David Yost’s system.

South Dakota switch Shomari Lawrence supplies dimension at 6-0, 225-pounds and a bodily presence, as acknowledged by MacIntyre. “He’s an enormous younger man, over 6-0, 200-pounds and did some actually good issues at South Dakota,” stated MacIntyre. “He’s an enormous man and we actually needed to ensure we might get an enormous again on the roster.”

South Dakota switch Shomari Lawrence returns residence to South Florida.

Photograph by Peter Aiken/Getty Photographs

Lawrence rushed for simply shy of 600 yards and the FCS stage and is already on campus in time for spring soccer.

Stroll-ons Cory Neering and Hosea Robinson spherical out the group.

Why 2023 manufacturing might be higher: Two phrases — offensive line.

Certainly not have been FIU operating backs flawless final season. Nonetheless, the Panthers’ offensive line’s rising pains didn’t assist the efforts of Joseph and Wilson Jr. in 2022.

Nearly as giant of an element was the offense’s struggles to remain on schedule in down and distance conditions. That, together with a 33.1-point common margin of defeat triggered FIU to should abandon the run sport sooner than they’d have favored.

Professional Soccer Focus named Joseph to their Convention USA All-Convention First Crew final yr, regardless of the comparatively modest speeding output. The reasoning is evident when see him on movie.

Joseph has regarded like a naturally gifted runner since arriving on campus in 2019 and when he’s not met on the line of scrimmage, has the power to achieve constant optimistic yardage in offensive coordinator David Yost’s zone-heavy speeding assault.

Between Lawrence, Owens and Patterson, they need to not less than make up for the manufacturing misplaced with Wilson’s switch. At greatest, the quartet will resemble FIU backfields of years previous, ones that routinely noticed 3-4 backs spell one another throughout video games.

Total, the run sport must be higher than final season’s 1,260 yards — touchdown FIU final in Convention USA and the staff’s 105 yards per sport on the bottom ranked 109th within the nation in 2022.

Why 2023 manufacturing might be worse: Other than the aforementioned causes for final yr’s struggles, Joseph is the one again with vital FBS enjoying expertise.

This makes the 15 spring practices all of the extra necessary for the trio of inexperienced backs as they give the impression of being to carve out a job in place coach Eric Hickson’s rotation.

The previous Miami assistant is thought to prioritize consistency over flashy play, so the sensible cash is on whichever again can put collectively essentially the most regular spring because the one who will earn RB2 rights within the fall.

As talked about, the Panthers’ offense can’t afford for the speeding manufacturing to be worse than final yr. Amongst C-USA groups, the Panthers completed final in 10+ yard rushes and second to final in yards per try (3.5).

Total outlook: The inexperience within the backfield shouldn’t scare anybody off from getting their hopes up for an improved speeding assault in 2023. Beneath former place coach Tim Harris Jr. and now underneath Hickson, the Panthers have recruited the operating again spot extremely effectively — tapping into the huge speeding skills that South Florida has to supply.

Eric Hickson will once more lead the operating backs in 2023.

Michael Berlfein/FIU Athletics.

Since Alex Gardner’s departure in 2017, FIU has repeatedly churned out high-level backs who’re among the many tops in Convention USA. Joseph is primed for a breakout season statistically in his second season because the lead again and is already thought-about one of many high all-purpose backs within the league.

Lawrence’s bodily fashion might give him the sting in selecting up the RB2 duties, particularly if he’s in a position to flourish between the tackles — an space that Joseph excels in regardless of a diminutive body.

Behind them, search for Owens and Patterson to earn time as home-run threats who can also play a job within the receiving sport.

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