C-USA Army Preview: Running backs

Carlton Jones (AP/Ed Reinke)

Junior Carlton Jones enjoyed the finest spring of any player on Army's roster according to head coach Bobby Ross and his staff. Army's leading rusher each of the past two seasons, Jones adapted extremely well to Ross' power running attack and displayed the skill set necessary to excel this fall.

A shifty runner with excellent quickness and a tireless work ethic, Jones boasts a keen field sense and strong knack for exploiting creases in an opponent's defense. He is capable of gaining tough yards inside and boasts the speed required to rip off long-gainers. Presented with the coaching staff's "Sledgehammer Award," at the end of spring, Jones helped establish a practice standard during the club's first practice period under Ross' direction. The "Sledgehammer Award" is presented to the Army player who "consistently demonstrated the greatest physical and mental toughness during spring ball." According to Ross, Jones fit the bill.

"Carlton Jones had a great spring. He runs hard, blocks well and catches the ball nicely out of the backfield. He's got good speed and the ability to evade defenders. We thought his overall production this spring was very outstanding. His effort was superb throughout the entire spring. I've been very pleased with him."

Seth Gulsby also authored a strong spring performance, impressing Ross and his coaches with a terrific work ethic and burning desire to compete. Gulsby carries a great deal of intensity into every snap and utilizes his plus speed effectively. The hard-charging junior amassed 54 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries during Army's "Black/Gold" scrimmage and put forth a solid case for playing time this fall.

"Gulsby is in the same mold as Jones," Ross says. "He's not quite as advanced in the blocking aspect of things as Jones, but that's because he started his career on defense. He will be a major contributor to our football team this fall."

In addition to Jones and Gulsby, sophomore Tielor Robinson could also see playing time at running back. Listed as Army's starter at fullback entering preseason camp, Robinson provides excellent depth and flexibility with his ability to handle both positions with equal acumen. Junior D.J. Blackledge also made a strong impression on the coaching staff this spring.

"I feel that our running backs are ‘top-notch,'" Ross stresses. "With those four players, we're competitive with any football team at the position."

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