August 28th, 2020 — Morgantown, West Virginia
In 2019, the Mountaineers’ running game was not its best to say the least, ranking 129/130 (129th of 130) in the FBS schools in rushing last season. With only 73 yards per game last season, head coach Neal Brown, and his offensive coaches are looking to improve the position over the offseason. During the summer, the team had to overcome the losses of Kennedy McKoy (Grad.), Martell Pettaway (transferred to Middle Tennessee St.), and Jason Edwards (Transfer Portal). While a lot of familiar faces left Morgantown, new faces arrived.
A’Varius Sparrow committed to WVU in January as a three-star prospect from Jones High School in Orlando, FL. In his senior season at Jones, Sparrow rushed for 2,135 yards and crossed the pylon 26 times. The talented senior helped lead Jones High School to a 13-2 record and an appearance in the Florida 5A state championship game.
Some of the running backs on this Mountaineer team have been a part of the team for a little while now, but we may not know them well enough.
Owen Chafin redshirted last season for West Virginia but is now ready to take the field. Chafin was a multi-positional player at his high school in Huntington; playing linebacker and running back for three years. The West Virginia native finished his high school career with 4,200 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns.
The running back from Orlando suited up for one game last season against Texas Tech. In that game, Tony Mathis gained 14 yards after rushing four times. He also caught three passes for 16 yards and scored on one of those catches. Now Mathis will get his chance to play a full season with WVU.
T.J. Kpan has been a part of the Mountaineers’ football team for three seasons now, but he has not been on the field for a snap yet. For Peters Township High School, Kpan scored 12 touchdowns in nine games.
Lorenzo Dorr got the most opportunities to play out of all the above running backs, appearing in four games in 2019. Most of his time at WVU has been a part of the special teams unit, but this year he should see more snaps on offense.
These running backs coming up are players that WVU fans should be very excited about seeing run the ball for the Mountaineers this upcoming season.
Last season, Alec Sinkfield got to emerge as a great depth piece in the running backs group. He saw nine carries against Missouri, and started against NC St. He is a guy that can be used to rush and catch the ball to move the chains.
Leddie Brown can be a great running back that Neal Brown can use as “the next man up”. After losing Kennedy McKoy to graduation, this is Leddie Brown’s chance to show what he is all about. In 10 games last year, Brown had a total of 512 scrimmage yards with two touchdowns. Expect Brown’s snaps to really increase this year as he plans to represent the state.