The days of the CSU football team having one horse at running back appear to be over.
Rather, three players are in a fight for carries, while incoming freshmen will get their shot to prove themselves once fall camp starts in August.
The frontrunners seem to be senior Raymond Carter and sophomore Chris Nwoke.
Carter, who started as a freshman at UCLA before transferring to CSU, had an up-and-down first season as a Ram. His best game came against the University of Idaho when, he racked up 324 yards of total offense. But on the season he rushed for only 235 yards.
â€œEverybody wants to be that guy to come out on Saturdays and be out there starting,â€ Carter said. â€œWeâ€™ve all got to prove it out here on the field and show the coaches that you can be that guy.â€
Carterâ€™s main competition figures come from Nwoke. As a freshman Nwoke ran for 357 yards, and coach Steve Fairchild has said he can be â€œas good as he wants.â€
Nwoke brings a physical, downhill style of running to complement the explosiveness of Carter. Whether he is the No.1 running back or not, Nwoke plans on being a part of a lethal rushing attack.
â€œEvery team, I just hope to get them scared of me,â€ Nwoke said. â€œJust run over as many people as possible, make as many big plays as possible and make the running game such a threat that (quarterback) Pete (Thomas) has a real good time throwing because they have to honor the running game.â€
The dark horse candidate is former walk-on Derek Good. After carrying the ball only 13 times for 52 yards last year, Good is catching coachesâ€™ attention in spring practice. During the live-action period Tuesday morning Good broke a 65-yard touchdown run.
â€œJust production,â€ said Fairchild on what Good brings to the team. â€œThatâ€™s how dumb we are. Any time we put him in a game he makes something happen, then because heâ€™s a walk-on from Berthoud originally we donâ€™t trust it and donâ€™t think heâ€™s necessarily as good as he really is.â€
The picture at running back could be further muddied come August when incoming freshmen join the fray. Highly touted recruit Dorian Brown should be closer to full strength as he recovers from a torn ACL. The Rams will also welcome Kapri Bibbs, who ESPNChicago.com rated as the top offensive player in Chicago.
2011 signees Donnell Alexander and Davon Riddick will also get a chance to state their case in August.
Regardless of who is named the starting running back, Rams fans can expect to see carries spread among the running backs.
Football Beat Reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.