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West Virginia Football 2020 Previews - Running Backs

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Oklahoma State at West Virginia Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The good news for the West Virginia Mountaineers is that they return their leading rusher from 2019. The bad news is that leading rusher had a total of 367 yards on the ground last season and the running game as a whole ranked 129th out of 130 FBS teams. 2019 was not kind to the Mountaineers in regards to the running game. The backs often found themselves being tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage and it was a big gain if the runner was able to gain 3-4 yards. That could be blamed on a new scheme and new offensive coaching personnel but it could also be blamed on the inexperience of the offensive line.

Leddie Brown

The expected feature back in 2020 was the leading rusher in 2019, gaining 367 yards on the ground. Brown is an explosive runner who is able to keep his pad level low and run over and through people when needed. Standing 5’-11 and weighing over 210 pounds, Brown has the size and strength to be a featured, 20-25 carry a game back.

Alec Sinkfield

If Brown is a North-South bruising runner, Sinkfield is your jitterbug scatback who can catch out of the backfield and make people miss. Sinkfield was slowed by an ankle injury early last year and was unable to display his prowess but if he is healthy, he brings a dynamic to the backfield that was missed last year.

Tony Mathis

Mathis took advantage of the four-game new redshirt rule and played the final few games for the Mountaineers while maintaining his redshirt eligibility. He only had 14 carries last season, all against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, but he was an Offensive Player of the Year in Florida in 2018 after rushing for over 1,000 yards in high school, so the talent is there.

Other Names to Know

A’varius Sparrow - A converted linebacker, Sparrow doesn’t go down easily and finds yards after contact nearly every play. He rushed for over 3,200 yards in his last two seasons of high school, including over 2,000 as a senior.