Leading returning rusher Henry Parrish is the only running back on the 2023 Miami football roster who received significant snaps at the position in 2022. Miami signed four-star RBs Mark Fletcher and Chris Johnson in their 2023 class and added Ajay Allen as a transfer from Nebraska.
Parrish led Miami with 616 rushing yards in 2022, averaging 4.7 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns. Miami utilized Parrish as a receiver as he had 17 receptions for 120 yards and another two touchdowns. Don Chaney Jr. and Tre’Vonte Citizen return for Miami after missing most of the 2022 season with injuries.
Miami lost 2021 leading rusher Jaylan Knighton as a transfer to Southern Methodist. Knighton reunites with former Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, now the Mustangs’ head coach. Thad Franklin who led Miami with five rushing TDs in 2023 transferred to Louisiana following the 2022 season.
Chaney only had two carries for eight yards in the season finale versus Pittsburgh in 2022. Citizen missed all of his true freshman season with a knee injury. Chaney had four carries for 17 yards in the first half of the spring game. In the second half with no tackling allowed and a running clock, Chaney had a 38-yard TD run.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald summarized
Jackson provided internal analysis from one Miami on-field staffer. The staffer told Jackson that Mark Fletcher is the expected eventual starter and that Allen is impressive.
"“Fletcher is going to be the man [eventually]…But Allen is impressive. Quick, agile, a very good player.”"
Mark Fletcher ran for 4,443 yards, averaged 7.7 yards per carry, had 23 100-yard games and scored 49 touchdowns in his high school career. Fletcher had 46 receptions for 629 yards and four TDs in high school. Fletcher is 6’0.5 and 226 pounds. In the Army All-American game had an 81-yard TD reception.
Allen ran 33 times for 190 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman for Nebraska in 2022 before suffering a broken collarbone versus Oklahoma in the fourth game of the season. Per his Nebraska bio, Allen ran for more than 2,200 yards and scored 34 TDs as a senior at Neville High School in Monroe, Louisiana.
Expect Miami to bring Citizen along slowly returning from the injury. Johnson will have a chance to compete in August training camp to be in the rotation to return kicks. Parrish is projected to retain his positon as the first team RB for Miami to begin the season. There has been some analysis Parrish is better suited as a third-down RB.