In the latest Georgia Tech football 2017 position preview, YJU takes a look at the Jackets group of B-Backs which is lead by one of the best running backs in the ACC but what’s the rest of the group look like.
The b-backs are the heart of Georgia Tech’s offense, they’re the backs who take up the most carries and are pounding through defensive lineman. Being lead by one of the conferences best-running backs is always a plus, but what does the rest of the Jackets’ b-backs look like entering the 2017 season.
It’s no secret anymore that Dedrick Mills is one of the top running backs in the ACC and perhaps the nation. On Wednesday, he was named to the All-ACC preseason first-team and was named to the Maxwell Award watch list not too long ago as well.
Last season, Mills broke onto the scene rushing for 771-yards on 152-carries, he also rushed for 12 touchdowns, among the nation’s leaders for freshman running backs. In 2017, his numbers should only go up and could be the Jackets first running back since 2010 to rush for 1,000-yards. The last player to rush for 1,000-yards overall was Justin Thomas in 2014, his first year as the starting quarterback for the Yellow Jackets.
Mills, is a strong nosed runner who can run over a lot of defenders. He’ll be the top option in the Jackets rushing attack this season and has a chance not to just become the top running back in the ACC but to break out onto the national scene.
Expectations are sky high for Mills entering the season, the only question is, can he live up to all the expectations?
Benson sat out last season with injuries but should be back to full health for the upcoming season. Last year, he missed the first five-games of the season but did play in the final seven, mostly on special teams.
At 5-foot-9, 211-pounds, Benson is on the smaller side but is potentially one of the most dynamic backs that the Jackets have on the team. In the spring game, he showed off his potential rushing for 61-yards on nine carries while also picking up a touchdown.
This upcoming season, Benson should be the backup B-Back and could be in for a decent season but will all depend on Mills’ health. If Mills is healthy, Benson won’t see a huge amount of playing time but he’ll have the chance to prove himself in his small amount of playing time. That being said, with Marcus Marshall gone, Benson will have a much bigger impact than originally expected in 2017.
Since he hasn’t seen the field yet in his two years, it’s hard to say what the expectations truly sit for Benson. The target, however, should be for him to be a serviceable backup to Mills for the next two seasons.
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Weimeskirch redshirted his true freshman season in 2015 before appearing in seven games last season. That being said, he just made one rushing attempt, not picking up any yards on the play.
Like Benson, there’s not much on the field history to tell what Weimerskirch’s expectations should be entering the season. In the spring game, he had a total of seven carries for 32-yards, including a long of 11. He also had two receptions for 18-yards during the game.
At 6-foot, 217-pounds, Weimerskirch has a 4.5, 40-yard dash time coming out of high school. Though it’s hard to say how accurate that time may be and how much it has changed since then. That being said, at his size, he will have the ability to get past would be tacklers.
Realistically, Howard’s biggest impact in 2017 would most likely come on special teams. At 6-foot-0, and 215-pounds Howard is already as big as some of his B-Back counterparts if he’s able to pick up the play book fast enough, he could see some time on the field in 2017.
Howard was a force at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina picking up 4,500 all-purpose yards and 53-touchdowns over 49 career games. If anything, Howard showed off his ability to be a dynamic back at the college level as well. If Howard had to take the place of one of the backs ahead of him, Benson would most likely be that back. Both of them have dynamic abilities which allow them to be a strong complement to the more run only, running backs in Mills and Weimerskirch.
While he may not be an impact player in 2017, Howard does have the skill set and talent to be an impact player in the future.
The Jackets B-back position is full of talent, to say the least. Mills will, of course, lead the b-backs but if he would go down with an injury, the Jackets have enough depth and talent to get by. Benson and Weimerskirch will have the chance to make impacts but ultimately it comes down to Mill’s success while on the field and his health.
Benson should see a solid amount of chances through the air in 2017 while Weimerskirch may serve more of a purpose to replace Mills directly. If Howard does see the field on offense in 2017, it most likely will be in limited situations. A redshirt year may be best for both Howard and Mills going forward.