Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee wants to establish, in his words, a bell-cow running back in 2021. Cam’Ron Harris finished with more carries in 2020 than freshmen Don Chaney Jr. and Jaylan Knighton combined. Spring football and training camp in August will be a competition to be the starter.
Harris slumped in the middle of the season. In a loss to Clemson and wins over Pittsburgh and Virginia, Harris finished with 28 carries for 35 yards. Harris has to provide more consistency for the Miami Hurricanes in 2021 or Chaney or Knighton could become the bell cow at running back in 2021.
Harris ran for 643 yards in 2020 averaging 5.0 yards per carry and added 18 receptions for 131 yards and another touchdown. Chaney and Knighton both had productive freshmen seasons. Chaney finished his freshman season with 322 yards, a 4.7 yards per carry average and three TDs and added 11 receptions for 143 yards.
Knighton finished with 209 rushing yards on 4.0 YPC. When Harris struggled in the middle of the season, Knighton had 20 carries for 62 yards and seven receptions for 25 in the same three-game span and added 11 receptions for 135 yards and another TD. Lashlee elaborated on the bell cow.
"“We have to be better in the run game…It’s kind of hard when you play three backs. Those guys understand they’re competing to be the starter…At times he (Harris) was really, really effective last year.”"
Miami signed Thad Franklin in the Class of 2021 and will add Cody Brown who will join the Hurricanes after initially signing with Tennessee in their class this year before being released from his National Letter of Intent with the Volunteers. It would be very surprising for Brown or Franklin to be the bell cow for Miami in 2021.
Between receptions and carries, Harris averaged 13 touches per game in 2020, Chaney 7.2 and Knighton 7. Getting Harris or someone else to 20 touches per game would be a significant decrease in touches per game for the other Miami RBs on the roster. It is difficult to see that happening.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Harris had 396 offensive snaps in 2020, Knighton 164 and Chaney 157. Chaney and Knighton showed far more explosiveness as receivers in 2020 than Harris. The likelihood is that those numbers balance out more evenly than one asserting themselves as the bell cow.