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FAU Football Spring Preview: Running Backs



Returning:
Jonathan Wallace (648 yards, 6 TDs) - Senior
Damian Fortner (313 yards, 3 TDs) - RS Senior
Martese Jackson (224 yards, 1 TD) - Senior
Travis Jones (80 yards) - RS Senior
Chris Jackson - RS Senior
Tony Moore - RS Junior
Antonio Washington - Junior
Jeremy Gaskins - Sophomore

Newcomers:
None

On the Way:
Jay Warren

-Stats are from last season.


Overview: Florida Atlantic opened last season with a tailback-by-committee type of approach before Jonathan Wallace (pictured above) emerged as the workhorse of the unit. Wallace had his best game in November rushing for a career-high 111 yards and two touchdowns against Navy. The former walk-on finished the year with 648 rushing yards and six touchdowns, which was good enough to earn himself a scholarship at the conclusion of the season. Now a senior, Wallace should continue to anchor the backfield along with a trio of other upperclassmen. Damian Fortner, Martese Jackson and Travis Jones all saw extensive action last season and each will enter spring practice in the mix for playing time. Fortner ran for a career-high 81 yards against Georgia last season, which was highlighted by a 43-yard touchdown scamper. Wallace and Fortner often lined up in a “wildcat” formation which gave the offense an added dimension. Jackson and Jones are the more versatile backs in the group, as both poses the ability to catch the ball and make moves in space with their speed.

Player on the Spot: - Martese Jackson - Jackson signed with FAU out of junior college and splashed onto the scene in last year’s season opener against Wagner. The running back gashed the defense for 99 yards on 21 carries, but fumbled twice during key moments of the game. The turnovers along with nagging injuries hampered his workload for the remained of the season, but he still managed to finish third on the team in rushing. Jackson is one of the quickest players in the backfield and needs to use this offseason to work on ball security and durability.

Name to Remember: - Jeremy Gaskins - Gaskins was Carl Pelini’s first commitment when he was initially hired as the head coach of the program. The sophomore was talented enough to play special teams last season instead of taking a redshirt like a majority of the freshman. The Owls have a staple of veteran running backs, but Gaskins will have an opportunity to turn some heads this spring on the practice fields.

Key Stat: - 3 - For the first time since 2008, FAU returns three ball carriers that rushed for over 100 + yards. The last time that happened Charles Pierre, Di'Ivory Edgecomb and Willy Rose led the Owls to the Motor City Bowl. Wallace, Fortner and Jackson will look to duplicate the same success.

Forecast: Running back is one of the strongest positions for FAU heading into next season, as depth isn’t a concern. The priority this offseason will be exiting spring drills injury-free. With that being said, Wallace should continue to be the primary ball carrier for the offense, but look for Fortner, Jackson, Jones and Gaskins to all compete for some touches next fall.

Up Next: Wide Receivers

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