Analyzing the Running Back Position Group and its Depth

Oregon State v Arizona
Oregon State v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

As we quickly approach the Summer months, we take a look at the Running Back position and analyze the groups' depth!

My, have things progressed significantly for Arizona Football in just the past few days? After wrapping up Spring Ball several weeks ago, there were a lot of lingering questions for the Wildcats heading into the 2024 season, one of those questions being what the running back position will look like. 

For those who may be a bit lost, here's a quick recap of what the Wildcats had in 2023 versus where things concluded at the end of Spring. 

2023 Roster:

  • Jonah Coleman - Transferred to Washington
  • Michael Wiley - Graduated
  • DJ Williams - Graduated
  • Rayshon "Speedy" Luke - Returned to Arizona
  • Stevie Rocker, Jr. - Transferred to Montana
  • Nazar Bombata - Graduated
  • Brandon Johnson - Returned to Arizona

2024 Roster immediately Concluding Spring:

  • Quali Conley - Added from San Jose State
  • Brandon Johnson - Returned for 2024
  • Rayshon "Speedy" Luke - Returned for 2024
  • Anthony Wilhite - Walk-on

That is a lot of turnover! And keep in mind, that this list also did not include the losses of Adam Mohammed (transferred to Washington), Jordan Washington (transferred to Washington), and Jacory Croskey-Merritt (flipped commitment to Ole Miss). 

Being thin at the running back position was a huge understatement! But luckily for us, Arizona Football has received a commitment from former Ole Miss RB Kedrick Reescano!

Now while it would be ideal for the Cats to land at least one more back for 2024, the position group looks a lot better than it did just a few short weeks ago. And heading into the upcoming season, here's how I see the depth chart shaking out in order!

Quali Conley (Senior) | 5'10" 210lbs.

A transfer from San Jose State who followed position coach Alonzo Carter and head coach Brent Brennan to Tucson, Quali without question brings the most experience to this group.

Fresh off of a season in which he ran for 842 yards (7th in the Mountain West) and nine rushing touchdowns (6th in the Mountain West), his production speaks for itself, and given his experience working with Coach Carter and Brennan, he is going to be an immediate plug-and-play and is our No. 1 candidate to assume starter carries for the Cats heading into 2024. 

Rayshon "Speedy" Luke (Junior) | 5'9" 175lbs.

One of the few returning backs for Arizona, Speedy was a player who saw increased action as the season progressed last year, and with his return in 2024, he should help solidify and more importantly, diversify this group. 

Blame his limited playing time in 2022 and 2023 on the Wildcats' depth, or that Speedy is not an every-down back, however, he is a skilled and athletic runner who can make good things happen when you put the ball in his hands. 

With some familiarity to coach 'Zo', I see an increased role for Speedy in 2024, and with him already going through Spring, he is my No. 2 candidate heading into the season.

Kedrick Reescano (RS Freshman) | 6' 215lbs.

A talented and skilled back who hails from the class of 2023, Kedrick spent one season at Ole Miss before entering the transfer portal. Luckily for us, Reescano will have a change of scenery as he joins the Wildcats just ahead of the 2024 season.

While we do expect him to have a large role for the Cats this season, we understand that this is a kid who has not worked out with the team yet and will have to adjust a little bit before likely finding his groove. 

Overall, the talent, size, and athleticism are there, and we expect some big things from Kedrick, but for now, he is at No. 3 on the depth chart.

Brandon Johnson (RS Freshman) | 5'9'' 190lbs.

A kid who redshirted last season, Brandon was a talented running back coming out of Highland High School in Southern California in the class of 2022.

To me, he is a bit lower on the depth chart largely because of the experience and talent that sits in front of him. This is by no means a knock on Brandon, but rather, I see Arizona leaning more on its experience to begin the year.

I do think he will get some playing time this season, and with injury, you never know what can happen, but for the time being, he is at No. 4 on my depth chart. 

Overall, I do think Arizona needs to add at least one more running back for 2024; however, the position group looks a lot better than it did a couple of weeks ago, and I can breathe a bit easier heading into the season!

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