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Heel Tough Blog: 2022 Position Previews- RB

Updated: Aug 20, 2022

The Tar Heels are steaming towards that August 27th opener in Kenan Stadium against Florida A&M and we at the Heel Tough Blog are getting you ready the way that we always do with our in-depth positions previews. Today, we give you a look at one of the deeper positions on this 2022 Tar Heel squad that is looking to find some separation amongst that depth, the running backs.

Scott Kinser- Associated Press

Graduate senior British Brooks returns for his sixth season in Chapel Hill after a tremendous finish to the 2021 season. In the final three games of the season, he ran for 285 yards and three touchdowns and was one of the best players for the team overall down the stretch. With Ty Chandler now officially gone to the NFL, Brooks will have to prove that he can handle the RB1 role, but the good news for Tar Heel fans is that there seems to be plenty of confidence from the staff about his ability to do that. The fact that the offensive system has produced three 1,000 yard rushers in the past two seasons doesn’t hurt either.

Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

The battle behind him will be a fierce one for the remainder of camp. Junior D.J. Jones is the most experienced of the group and has shown some positive things when he’s been on the field. He needs to improve on his 4.2 yards per carry to have a major role, but playing behind what looks to potentially be a much better offensive line could help him do that. Injuries have been an issue for him, sure, but there is a reason that he played as much as he did early a year ago.

Grant Halverson- Getty Images

Sophomore Elijah Green is in his third year with the program and is coming off of his best spring so far. The concerns with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and pass protect don’t seem to be that prevalent anymore and he may currently be having the best offseason of anyone in this room. If he can continue that momentum into the fall, he could give this offense a back that can hit the homerun plays with his outstanding speed and quickness.

Jim Dedmon- USA Today Sports

Second-year sophomore Caleb Hood is back in the fold after injury derailed his true freshman season and once again slowed him down in the spring. He showed some promise last year during the preseason, enough so to earn snaps in the early portion of the season, so he is more than capable of climbing the depth chart. If he can run with the same edge that he ran with inside the tackles last year, there is a chance that he could at least earn a role as the team’s short-yardage back this season.

@gpettaway2- Instagram

Both of the true freshmen are exciting prospects who could factor in here. Spring enrollee Geroge Pettaway has been talked about a lot so far this offseason and for good reason. He had an outstanding all around game in high school, with tremendous quickness and shiftiness with the ball in his hands. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and, more importantly, to split out into the slot at times makes him even more valuable as a versatile chess piece that can be used in a variety of different ways. If he can prove himself worthy of the snaps, this could be a guy who grabs a major role in this offense sooner rather than later this year.

Jeffrey A. Camarati- Tar Heel Athletics

As for Hampton, the learning curve will be steep out of the gate for him as a summer enrollee, but the edge that he runs with can’t be ignored. Many have drawn the comparison of him to Javonte Williams and while that is certainly a high bar to set, the two do have very similar running styles. His impact early on will depend on how fast he can adjust to the college level, but remember that Williams didn’t make his impact felt until late in his freshman season, I’ll be it, in a backfield that had far less depth.

This is one of the more intriguing groups on this 2022 Tar Heel team because while there are a lot of questions, there is just as much, if not more, promise with the guys in this room. With the success that this staff has had with running the ball since they’ve gotten here, even behind some brutal offensive line groups, there is reason to believe this will be a strength of the team once again this year.

Projected Depth Chart

#24 British Brooks, Gr.

#26 D.J. Jones, Jr.

#23 George Pettaway, Fr.

#21 Elijah Green, So.

# 4 Caleb Hood, So.

#28 Omarion Hampton, Fr.


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