Miami Hurricanes RB depth will be tested with Don Chaney Jr. injury

Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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An unspecified significant injury to freshman Tre’Vonte Citizen in the scrimmage on Saturday and to third-year freshman Don Chaney Jr. on Friday during practice has left the Miami Hurricanes with three healthy running backs ahead of the second scrimmage on Saturday.  This is the second year in a row Miami has three healthy RBs.

Chaney suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the second game of the 2021 season versus Appalachian State. Jaylan Knighton had the majority of the carries for Miami in the second half of 2021 with Thad Franklin as the primary backup. Franklin was twice the finisher for Miami in the second half of games.

Franklin and Knighton are back for the Miami Hurricanes in 2022 and healthy with Mississippi transfer Henry Parrish as the three healthy RBs currently. Knighton led Miami with 561 rushing yards in 2021 and added 24 receptions for 373 receiving. Franklin was productive late in 2021 and finished with 172 yards rushing.

Parrish had 553 rushing yards and 21 receptions for 173 yards receiving in 2021. With Chaney out for an indefinite period of time and Citizen expected to miss a longer unspecified time Franklin, Knighton and Parrish will be relied upon heavily. Miami starts the season on September 3 versus Bethune-Cookman.

The Miami Herald reported on Friday that the injury to Chaney is not on the same knee he suffered the torn ACL. Miami needs to improve its running game from 2021. The Hurricanes were 97th averaging 127.67 rushing yards per game in 2021. New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis will place greater emphasis on the run in 2022.

Under Gattis, Michigan averaged 214.36 rushing yards per game in 2021 which was 15th nationally. Chaney had been getting a lot of reps in practice. With Chaney out, Gattis and RBs coach Kevin Smith will have to adjust. A 15-day span until the season opener provides Gattis with time to set the RB rotation.

Gattis said earlier this month that rotation at RB will be dictated by the flow of the game. With Franklin the biggest Miami back at 6’0, 240 pounds expect him to be the closer with Miami winning late in games. Knighton is the most explosive of the Miami RBs and the best receiver.

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Parrish is the most versatile and seems to be the likely frontrunner as the first-team RB. Knighton is the only Miami player with experience as a featured back in college. Parrish had the third most carries for Mississippi in what was a fairly even share at RB. Parrish had 105 carries, the Rebels’ leaders at RB had 133 and 132.