SJSU Position Group Preview: Running Back
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There are 8 running backs competing for playing time at San Jose State. Listed in order of class: FR Brendan Manigo, SO Francoise Sims II, SO Tyler Nevins, SO Jamar Williams, SR Brandon Monroe, SR DeJon Packer, and SR Malike Roberson. The backs are going to be divided into categories of contending for playing time or striving to find a gameday roster spot.
Striving to find a game day roster spot: The local Belleramine product Brendan Manigo and senior Sean Reifel are 4 years apart but find themselves in the same situation. Both are unlikely to find much playing time this upcoming fall with the running back position being one of the areas San Jose State has some depth in. Francoise Sims II also will have an uphill battle trying to find the field. To this point none of these backs have registered any stats as a Spartan and unless injuries occur this trend may continue.
Contending for playing time: Last season a multitude of running backs took reps, four different backs finished with at least 59 carries. Leading the Spartans with 163 carries and 670 yards was Sophomore Tyler Nevins. Nevins did not start playing last season until week 3, but he looks like the feature back moving forward. Athlon Sports has him tabbed as a Third-Team Preseason All-Mountain West running back.
Senior Malike Roberson, should also contribute this season as he was second on the team in carries and has also shown the ability to catch the ball during his 3 previous seasons. The former 3-star recruit led the team in rushing in 2016 and has displayed an explosiveness to his game-breaking long runs.
Although he led the team last year with 5 yards per carry, Zamore Zigler is listed as a cornerback for the 2018 season. Recruited as a 3-star athlete, Zigler might be more of a natural fit at corner as he is listed at 5 foot 10 inches and 171 lbs. Those carries Zigler took last season may go to senior DeJon Packer. Packer took the bulk of the carries at the spring game this year and the last three games of the previous season were some of his highest production came all year. A bruising back at 5 foot 11 inches and 220 lbs, the local San Jose product was awarded a scholarship during the offseason.
The other two backs that will be competing for playing time are Brandon Monroe and Jamar Williams. Monroe played in all 12 games back in 2014 and then saw limited action the following years. He has also contributed on special teams and at safety in the past. Jamar Williams was recruited as a fullback out of high school and last season the Sophomore played minimally.