- RB Walter Kazee
- FB Chris Gordert
Projected starters (2012 stats)
- RB #4 Adam Muema – RS Jr., 5-foot-10, 205 pounds (237 carries, 1,458 yards, 16 touchdowns ; 9 catches, 147 yards, one touchdown)
- FB #40 Chad Young – RS Sr., 5-foot-10, 230 pounds (2 carries, 13 yards ; 18 catches, 108 yards, three touchdowns)
Key reserves (2012 stats)
- RB #22 Chase Price – RS So., 5-foot-8, 200 pounds (29 carries, 114 yards, one touchdown)
- RB #32 De’Saan Hardwick – RS So., 5-foot-9, 190 pounds (N/A)
- RB #7 Dwayne Garrett – RS So., 6-foot, 205 pounds (7 carries, 32 yards)
Players to watch
- RB #22 Chase Price – RS So., 5-foot-8, 200 pounds – When Kazee went down in the final regular season game against Wyoming, Price stepped in and played well as the second running back, carrying the ball seven times for 41 yards. Keep an eye on him to see if he can continue his success late in the season and lock up the backup role behind Muema.
- RB #32 De’Saan Hardwick – RS So., 5-foot-9, 190 pounds – Hardwick had an impressive fall camp in 2012, but was injured shortly before the season began and missed most of the year. A speedy and agile runner, Hardwick is arguably one of the fastest players on the team, and his skill set could help the Aztecs in 2013. Expect him to be fully healthy by spring practices and to make a push for the backup spot.
Currently, San Diego State has just one definite running back commit, Donnel Pumphrey out of Nevada. Although Pumphrey is a talented three-star recruit with several Division 1 offers, he will likely redshirt due to the amount of depth the Aztecs have at running back. Marcus Stamps has also committed, and although he will likely play running back, don’t be surprised if he ends up at linebacker. Due to the depth at both positions, it is a safe bet that he will redshirt at either spot.
Entering the 2012 season, one of the biggest concerns surrounding San Diego State was the loss of star running back Ronnie Hillman, who left school early and was drafted in the third round by the Denver Broncos.
Luckily for the Aztecs, the two-headed monster of Muema and Kazee filled the void, and helped fans forget about Hillman with their exceptional play. Together, Muema and Kazee led a ground attack that was just as explosive, if not more, than it had been in years past, rushing for a combined 2,270 yards and 24 touchdowns.
With Kazee gone, expect Price, Hardwick and Garrett to compete for the second running back spot. Muema will continue to receive a majority of the carries, but San Diego State will likely use a second running back to spell him when he needs a rest.
Price is the frontrunner, as he showed his abilities last season when filling in for the injured Kazee. Hardwick could have potentially made a push for the third spot on the depth chart behind Muema and Kazee last season, but an injury a week before the season began kept him out for the majority of the year. Look for him to get several opportunities to show his talent in spring practices and fall camp.
Garrett has good size, but will need a strong offseason to climb the depth chart. Although just one of the four is likely to receive a significant number of carries, expect the other three to make an impact on special teams in 2013 (i.e., Garrett’s blocked punt vs. Boise State).
At the fullback position, look for the same hard-nosed, smash-mouth style of football from the third-year starter Young. He will continue to bulldoze through the hole and open running lanes for Muema and the other backs next season, and will also be utilized in the passing game. He displayed his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield last year, especially on play-action passes in goal-line and short-yardage situations, and will likely see more balls thrown his way in 2013.
Muema will rush for over 1,600 yards in 2013. He will also see an increased role in the passing game and will have over 250 receiving yards.
2013 Season Preview: Home
2013 Season Preview: Defensive Line
2013 Season Preview: Linebackers
2013 Season Preview: Cornerbacks
2013 Season Preview: Safeties
2013 Season Preview: Special Teams
2013 Season Preview: Wide Receivers
Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on the tight ends of the 2013 San Diego State Aztecs
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by Hunter Hewitt