Mississippi State coaches received news that was not all that unexpected earlier this week when Bulldogs junior running back Kylin Hill announced that he would declare for the NFL Draft. Hill had an excellent junior season as he helped earn the Bulldogs a Music City Bowl berth. Hill punched the ball into the end zone 10 times and rushed for 1,347 yards this season. The Bulldogs should not experience any drop off in the bowl game, however, since Hill is planning to play. The question now is, which running back will step up to fill the hole left by Hill next season?
The Bulldogs will have four running backs returning for the 2020 season that will be contending for the spots held by Hill and senior running back Nick Gibson. Lee Witherspoon, Kareem Walker, Robert Rivers and Connor Hegan all have an opportunity to earn the starting spot. The top recruit to keep an eye on is Jo’Quavious Marks.
Witherspoon, a current freshman from Birmingham, Alabama, is the running back that has the most carries as he finished the year with 18 carries for 84 yards rushing. Realistically, the running back competition should prove to be quite captivating one when spring practices roll around. Witherspoon is a patient runner that allows the hole to develop. However, Witherspoon’s speed when he does decide to turn on the jets is what intrigues me the most when looking at the running back position for next season.
As for Walker, he is a junior running back from Irvington, New Jersey, who transferred from Michigan with little playing time. Walker, a former five-star recruit and at one time the No. 1 back in the country, is an athletic running back who does not shy away from contact. Walker is another running back with good speed and is a problem to bring down in the open field.
Connor Hegan, a current freshman from Spanish Fort, Alabama, will have a chance to earn some playing time during the spring. Sophomore running back Robert Rivers, a product of Ocala, Florida, will see some snaps during the spring as well. The final running back that will get an opportunity is Jo’Quavious Marks, who hails from Atlanta. Marks is a four-star recruit that will likely contend for the starting spot during the spring and summer. Bulldog fans should look for the running back position to be a recruiting focus in the 2021 recruiting class.