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Running Back Roundup: Boyd, Smith and Hammonds Look To Add Fire To Offense In 2020

Can Boyd break into the top five as an all-time leading rusher? Let’s look into it!

Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The running back group has the capability to be a dangerous asset to the 2020 team. The workhorse, Rakeem Boyd returns but with gadget players like redshirt junior Trelon Smith and redshirt senior T. J. Hammonds the position has an opportunity to be explosive.

Everyone in the SEC knows who Boyd is and it would be no surprise if he surpasses the numbers he put up last season. It should be noted that he put up outstanding numbers despite having a limited of carries in 2019. Boyd rushed for 1133 yards last season on 184 carries and 8 touchdowns. His best game came in the humiliating loss to Western Kentucky where he ONLY toted the rock EIGHT time.... EIGHT TIMES. Sheesh. Boyd has been misused for two seasons now but playing in an offense that has a very good track record of producing you can expect Boyd to have a very productive senior season.

If Boyd -ONLY- rushes for the same amount of yards he had in 2020 that would give him exactly 3000 yards for his career rushing. He would only be the sixth back in Razorback history to rush for 3000 yards in their career. Boyd could actually rush for enough yards this season to pass a couple of former Hogs and into the top five in all-time rushers at Arkansas. With 1152 yards would push Boyd to fifth all-time passing Cedric Cobbs. Fourth all-time is Dickey Morton at 3317 yards. Boyd would need 1451 yards to pass Morton. In order to reach top three status, Boyd would need to run for 1704 yards to pass Ben Cowins. That is quite a quest to rush up the record list but it is entirely possible. Only one other Razorback has rushed for more than 1600 yards in a single season and that was Darden McFadden who in 2006 rushed for 1647 yards and exceeded that mark with 1830 yards in 2007.

Now, the transfer from Arizona State with true 4.4 speed could be a back breaking, blazing speed that Arkansas has been without for a very long time. At 5’9 184, Smith is a smaller running back but he can hit the hole, throw on some razzle dazzle and take it to the house in a heart beat. Out of Cy Ridge in Houston, Smith was a three star back and signed with Arizona State over Illinois, Duke and a few others. He is believed to maybe be play a little special teams as a returner this season. Smith played as a kick off returner in high school.

It has been an up and down career that has not lived up to fans expectations for Hammonds. He has one more last chance as his senior year begins to make a name for himself at Arkansas. He signed with Arkansas out of Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock while being courted by a host of big time power five schools. He has lightning quick speed whether it be up the gut or horizontally and turn up. Throughout his career he has shown flashes of greatness whether it be on a long run late against Mississippi State in 2016 or the game changing/saving run versus Coastal Carolina in 2017. Under Morris the last two seasons he had a pop pass taken to the house to extend their lead against Colorado State in 2018 but was not seen much of the rest of the season. After sitting out the first four games of 2019 for academic reasons, he returned but played sparingly. Hammonds carried the ball eight times for 65 yards. For his career Hammonds is nearly averaging seven yards a pop and a first down every time he catches the ball out of the backfield. Yeah, those are small sample sizes but enough to draw a picture that he could be a fixture in the backfield for 2020.

Others to watch:

*A’Montae Spivey- a redshirt freshman used lightly late in the 2019 season looks to breakthrough in 2020. It could be tough to crack the rotation. Spivey could definitely get carries late in non conference games if the lead is padded enough. Last season, Spivey rushed seven times for a total of 24 yards with one fumble.

*Dominque Johnson- he will be a freshman this season and was a surprise addition to the 2020 recruiting class. He was committed to Missouri before Barry Odom was let go as head coach. As he moved on to take the defensive coordinator position at Arkansas he kept his allegiance to Odom and signed with Arkansas during the December early signing day.