The Miami football team will have a talented but relatively thin backfield in 2020. Only four scholarship running backs are on the Hurricanes roster and two of those are freshmen.
The running backs on the Miami football roster in 2020 are talented but thin. Junior Cam’Ron Harris and redshirt junior Robert Burns are the only returning scholarship players the Hurricanes have at the position. Freshmen Don Chaney Jr. and Jaylan Knighton are likely to see a lot of playing time in 2020.
Harris was the second-leading rusher on the Miami football team in 2019 playing behind DeeJay Dallas who chose to forego his senior season to leave for the NFL. He was impressive when pressed into duty as the Hurricanes lead back when Dallas was out with injuries in 2019. Harris ran for 576 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.
Harris showed versatility in the passing game by catching 16 passes for 118 yards and an additional TD. Burns is likely to be the short-yardage RB for Miami in 2020. The onetime three-star signee ran for 116 yards averaging four yards per carry and caught two passes for 21 yards and another TD.
Chaney and Knighton come in with high accolades and are expected to contribute in 2020. Knighton is the 105th ranked player overall in the 2020 class the 10th ranked RB and 16th ranked player in Florida in 2020. Chaney was ranked ahead for much of the 2020 recruiting cycle but he was ultimately passed by his now teammate.
Next 10 – #devy
Don Chaney Jr.
— Adam Lewis (@Admlewis) April 7, 2020
Chaney is slightly behind Knighton as the 114th ranked player, 11th ranked RB and 18th ranked player in Florida in the class of 2020. The new uptempo, spread offense being installed by new Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee will provide enough opportunities for Harris, Burns, Knighton and Chaney.
Miami head Manny Diaz is excited about the opportunity to play Chaney and Knighton over the next three seasons. Miami will add 2021 RB Tony Franklin to create an amazing backfield potentially in the 2021 and ’22 seasons if everyone stays. Miami head coach Manny Diaz said Chaney and Knighton are excited to play together.
“Both have home run hitting potential…My favorite thing about both those guys is they both want to play in the same backfield with one another. Jaylon wanted to come to a school where Donald was at, and Donald wanted Jaylon to come to Miami.
There have been so many instances in the past at UM where you have running back rooms filled with great players and they feed off each other and they get that edge about themselves — where I have to run with that sense of urgency because I know if I don’t that guy will come in behind me and he for sure will.”
To get both running backs [the top running back in Miami-Dade in Chaney and Broward in Knighton] in the same year is rare, doesn’t happen very often. For Chaney to stay committed as long as he did was a testament to him and his family.”
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald who quoted Diaz discussing Chaney and Knighton reported that the Lashlee offense runs more plays to the perimeter running the football which is a change than the plays up the middle that were preferred over former offensive coordinator Dan Enos.
Miami has to improve its rushing offense from 2019.
The Hurricanes finished 120th in the nation in rushing offense in 2019 averaging 118.08 yards per game. Dallas finished 85th nationally averaging 69.3 yards per game. Dallas averaged 6.03 yards per carry which ranked 48th nationally. Under Lashlee, SMU finished 43rd running the football averaging 180.85 YPG.