Canes hoping depth emerges at RB

The Hurricanes are set to begin fall camp on Saturday. Lets take a closer look at the state of the team. This report focuses on the running backs.

Losing Mike James to the NFL won't be easy on the Hurricanes. Not only was James a solid three-down type running back over the last few seasons, his leadership role can't be underestimated.

Fortunately for the Hurricanes, it returns one of the most exciting young players in the college game. Duke Johnson (So) ran for 947 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He also had 221 yards receiving and one touchdown. If last November was any indication, Johnson will have a chance to go for well over 1,500 yards of total offense this fall. He will be to the go-to back for the Canes this fall.

Eduardo Clements was Miami's short-yardage running back in Al Golden's first season at Miami, not James. He has 184 career rushing yards and 183 career receiving yards. Unfortunately, the senior has a history of injuries and still isn't 100-percent. A timetable for his return is still up in the air.

Ready to take over as a guy who can run it and catch it for the Canes in a backup role is redshirt sophomore Dallas Crawford. The former prep quarterback saw the field at the end of last season and then played a role in the spring. Look for the Canes to use him in a lot of different ways.

Danny Dillard redshirted last season. The former three-star running back is a big back who can go between the tackles and block. He could end up serving as a backup to Maurice Hagens (Sr), who will likely play a bigger role in the running game under new offensive coordinator James Coley. He has eight career carries and 11 career receptions but look for those numbers to go way up in 2013.

Gus Edwards (6-1/225) is a big back that Miami signed in its 2013 class. Edwards is a downhill style runner who should see some action in his first year in Coley's offense.

Iowa transfer De'Andre Johnson had just 11 carries for 79 yards in a couple seasons there before being booted from the team due to off-the-field issues. The former three-star teammate of Stephen Morris in high school, Johnson has walked on at Miami and will look to compete for playing time off the bench.