Texas A&M football lost a running back who set the school record for rushing yards in a season; what numbers can we expect from his replacement?
Replacing Trayveon Williams will be no easy task for Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M football, but if any group is set up to replace the production lost from a guy who set the single-season record with 1,760 rushing yards, it’s running back.
Jashaun Corbin was in the 2018 recruiting class — Fisher’s first — and didn’t take long to impress the new head coach in his first year on campus. Corbin battled it out with several incumbents and won the rights to backup Williams in year one. He finished the year with 61 carries for 346 yards and one touchdown. He also added 10 catches for 85 yards.
Before getting hurt in practice, Corbin was taking the majority of the reps with the first team offense. This, plus being Williams’ primary backup last season, indicates he will be the starter in the 2019 season. His injury was not serious — he sat out as a precaution.
With that said, what can we expect as far as actual numbers from Corbin?
It’s remarkable how similar Williams and Corbin’s recruiting profiles are. They were both the No. 8 all purpose back in their class, and both the No. 49 overall player in their state — Williams from Texas, Corbin from Florida. The edge actually belongs to Corbin, who finished No. 261 overall in his class. Williams was No. 313 overall.
So we should be able to use Williams’ numbers to project Corbin’s numbers. Williams finished last year with 271 carries and 27 receptions. If we project out Corbin’s year with his average yards per carry and per catch and Williams’ touch numbers, we get the following:
- 1,537 rushing yards, 229 receiving yards
However, there is a good chance the Aggies deploy more of a running back by committee approach to this season. Cordarrian Richardson transferred to Texas A&M last year and sat out the 2018 season. He was the No. 157 overall prospect in his 2017 class, so you better believe Fisher will want to work him into the mix.
While Williams and Corbin had about an 81/19 percent breakdown of carries, that may be closer to 65/35 with Corbin and Richardson. Though Corbin would still probably be used more in passing downs given his experience. In this case, Corbin’s numbers would be:
- 1,231 rushing yards, 210 receiving yards
However, there are more factors that go into projecting his numbers. For one, with more volume you should expect the yards per carry number to go down. That’s not always the case, and it’s certainly possible it could go up if he breaks out huge runs a few times in the year with more opportunities to do so, but for the sake of normalcy I wanted to see what his totals would look like with a tempered expectation for yards per carry.
However, I actually wanted to increase his yards per catch given 10 catches is a small sample size, so I split the difference between his 8.5 number and Trayveon’s 10.3 number as he will likely have closer to the number of touches as Williams did out of the backfield — I’ll say 25. Using 5.0 for yards per carry and 9.4, with the 65/35 percent of carries split, his numbers look like:
- 1,079 rushing yards, 235 receiving yards
It feels like the actual number will be closest to the middle projection. It doesn’t seem like he will get nearly as many total touches as Williams got given the talent in the cupboard at running back, but with the offensive line improving and coming back experienced, he will probably stick around his 5.7 yards per carry.
Which projection is closest to the real thing? Let us know in the comments.