JMU football faces a massive problem. The Dukes lack skill and depth at the running back position. Running backs coach De’Rail Sims likely spends his nights awake, pacing his bedroom and wondering how he’ll scrap together respectable performances this season. It might sound crazy, but the Dukes need to lean on a player known for his punting. That’s right, Harry O’Kelly.
The Dukes need to start Harry O’Kelly at running back. It’s not ideal, but it’s the only decision that makes any sense. Here’s why:
- Weak position group
As I just mentioned, each JMU running back has glaring flaws. See below.
Cardon Johnson: If Cardon’s car broke down, he’d probably just toss it on his shoulders and carry it to the shop. He looks like a linebacker. I think I once heard somebody say that muscle is heavier than fat. Cardon’s 200-pound muscular frame means he weighs about 500 pounds in regular person weight.
Who’s the last marathon winner to look like the Rock? Sure, Johnson has been successful in the past, but are 25 games, 312 carries and over 2,000 career rushing yards really enough of a sample size for us to think he’s a solid option?
Marcus Marshall: Did you see how quickly he got down the field on his touchdowns runs against South Dakota State? Moving that fast makes him a huge injury risk. It’s basic science. If you’re driving a car 70 mph and get into a car accident, your car’s damage is going to substantially worse than if you were driving 5 mph.
My advice to Marcus, as a 12-minute miler myself, is that slow and steady wins the race. He should head to Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy of “The Tortoise and The Hare” for some light summer reading.
Trai Sharp: Last season, he ran 36 times for 185 yards and a touchdown in a 20-10 victory on the road. For someone that loves embarrassing Danny Rocco’s defense, how will he react to Delaware not being on JMU’s schedule this season?
Jawon Hamilton: Hamilton, while remarkably gifted, transferred from UCF. How will he handle the transition of going from a self-proclaimed national champion to an actual national champion? It might be difficult to adjust to a trophy case filled with actual trophies and not imaginary achievements.
Percy Agyei-Obese: His last name is really hard to pronounce. It’ll be hard for Sims to call on Agyei-Obese to enter the game if Percy isn’t sure if he’s saying “Agyei-Obese or Cardon Johnson.” Granted, they don’t sound anything alike, but with crowd noise at Bridgeforth, sounds get jumbled.
2. No wear on his tires
O’Kelly barely has any mileage on his legs. He’s only had three carries his entire college career. Talk about fresh legs!
He’s also averaging 21 yards per carry. Imagine giving him 250 carries next year. He’d finish the year with an astounding 5,250 yards. Equally astounding, his averages suggest he won’t score a single touchdown. This sounds crazy, but numbers never lie.
3. Spin cycle
Part laundry machine, part man. O’Kelly leaves defenders spinning deliriously after he pulls out his juke moves. Few players in the country possess the shiftiness of O’Kelly.
4. Little film on him
What’s a football coach’s biggest fear? Not having film on opposing players. Good luck figuring out how to stop a Harry O’Kelly Wildcat package by watching three fake punts on film. That’s the equivalent of trying to pilot a helicopter after watching a two-minute YouTube video. It’s not happening.
5. Add to his legendary status
He’s Australian, leads the team in yards per carry, pulls off fake punts in critical moments and cracks jokes on Twitter. What better way to add to the legacy of everybody’s favorite Duke than to let him start at running back?
Here’s a collection of O’Kelly’s best Twitter work: