Ferris State to return strong run game in 2015

CUT BACK: Ferris State University running back Robert Thomas III (2) looks up field during the Bulldogs’ full-team scrimmage on Thursday. (Pioneer photo/Richard Mead)

CUT BACK: Ferris State University running back Robert Thomas III (2) looks up field during the Bulldogs’ full-team scrimmage on Thursday. (Pioneer photo/Richard Mead)

Brown, Thomas slated to lead Bulldogs’ offensive backfield

BIG RAPIDS — The Ferris State University football team does not have many question marks on offense heading into the 2015 season.

The top five receivers from last season all return, as does All-American quarterback Jason Vander Laan.

Sophomore running back Jahaan Brown had a breakout season in 2014, rushing for 786 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games.

Brown is expected to receive a bulk of the carries again in 2015, but there might be a couple other guys who could burst onto the scene.

“Brown is the guy people would probably pencil in (as the starter),” FSU head coach Tony Annese said. “He was an all-conference guy last year, had a lot of yards, but he also will be challenged by some other guys. We have some depth there. Robert Thomas III is going to be a redshirt freshman and should be really good. We’re feeling good about what we have and are excited about those guys and their ability to help us in our rushing game.”

Thomas, who was named the Florida Class 8A State High School Player of the Year in 2013, ran for a state-leading 2,371 yards and 30 touchdowns during his senior campaign. He’s been rotating in with the first and second team offenses in practice.

“It’s pretty good competition,” Thomas said of practice thus far. “Every running back is good, but they are going to play who needs to be played. I’m hoping I get some playing time, just want to go out there and contribute to the team.”

Annese said Thomas could be a major factor in the Bulldogs’ backfield this season.

“He’s an elusive guy,” Annese said. “He’s got good quickness and is a pretty decent sized kid (5-foot-9, 187 pounds). He’s just got the ‘it’ factor. He’s just a good running back and has been pretty sturdy and healthy. We think he has a lot of good attributes to bring to the team.”

The Bulldogs open the season Sept. 12 at home against Northwood University.

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Posted by Ryan Zuke

Ryan is the sports editor for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering local prep sports and Ferris State athletics. He can be contacted at (231) 592-8363 or rzuke@pioneergroup.com.

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