Tolk’s Breakdown: Running Backs

The next portion of our 2020 positional overviews will take a look at the Commodores running back room. Expect 2020 to be a year of running back by committee unless someone can separate themselves from the competition.

Jamauri Wakefield #32, RS Senior: The back out of Jacksonville has had a solid career as a Commodore. His 2019 season was devastatingly cut short in the opener vs UGA. He would have been the backup to Ke’Shawn Vaughn and provided a physical punch and proven experience. Wakefield will look to anchor the backfield when the Commodores next take the field. During his career he’s compiled 475 yds on 107 attempts (4.4 ypc), rushing for 2 TDs. He’s also shown that he can be a primary back, rushing for 74 yards on 19 carries vs Kentucky in 2018.

Keyon Brooks #21, Sophomore: Brooks had a successful first year on campus as the primary backup to Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Just because he was a backup in 2019 doesn’t mean he’s expecting to be that in 2020. Brooks will look to take over as Vandy’s primary back, fresh off of learning on the job as a freshman. In the backup role, Keyon rushed for 252 rushing yards and 1 TD with 55 carries for 4.4 ypc. He also had 17 catches for 64 yards on the season. He went for 70 yards vs Tennessee in the season finale and scored his only TD of the year on a 61 yard run vs NIU.

Ja’Veon Marlow #3, RS Sophomore: Marlow seems to be a wild card in the eyes of Vanderbilt analysts and fans. Chris Lee of has spoken of Marlow’s speed and ability with high praise on his podcast multiple times. Thus far, he’s been limited due to presumed injury and RB depth on the roster, amassing 42 rushing yards on 10 attempts in 2019, and 46 yards on 5 rush attempts in his true freshman season before redshirting. Vanderbilt fans hope he can be fully healthy and become an elusive threat in Todd Fitch’s new offense.

JR Tran-Reno #9, RS Freshman: An intriguing 2019 signee, Tran-Reno has yet to see the field while at Vandy. He looks to get snaps this season. He put up impressive stats while attending high school at Briarwood Christian in Alabama and will look to crack a talented, yet open, running back room in 2020.

Mitchell Pryor #25, Junior: Pryor played special teams and made good use of his limited carries as a RB. He had a 31 yard TD vs ETSU in 2019 and rushed for 49 yards on 5 rushes. Look for him to contribute on special teams.


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