The Lunch’s post-spring football review: Running backs

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Gold & Blue Lunch Report witnessed three scrimmages and a spring game, which only whets the appetite for more. So here begins our post-spring positional look at West Virginia football. Today we rank the West Virginia running backs for 2016:

1. Rushel Shell (fifth-year senior): His three-year rushing totals (641 yards, 708 yards and 788 yards) and 19 career touchdowns don’t scream bus, but neither do they match the meteoric expectations he leveraged out of high school. Clearly the lead dog next season, does Shell crack 1,000 yards?

2. Justin Crawford (junior): The national junior college offensive player of the year at Northwest Mississippi Junior College was probably bound for Missouri until West Virginia found itself with a Smallwood-sized hole in January. The Mountaineers’ fullcourt press impressed a kid coming off back-to-back 1,500-yard rushing seasons.

3. Kennedy McKoy (freshman): A tall, explosive back with superb receiving skills who showed a quick grasp of the offense this spring. Being an early enrollee could give him an edge on Crawford.

4. Elijah Wellman (junior): Technically an H-back assigned to battering-ram duty at the point of attack, Wellman may be the second-best short-yardage option behind Shell. He’s also versatile enough to line up in the slot or slip through the line undetected on goal-line situations. Could be

5. Martell Pettaway (freshman): We’re projecting a redshirt unless injuries force him into early playing time.

6. Donte Thomas-Wiliams (redshirt sophomore): He was suspended this spring for conduct detrimental to the team. Lack of productivity over two seasons has been detrimental to his career.

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