2017 Northwestern football position previews: Special teams

Northwestern Football 2017 Match Preview Prediction and Players: The second part of our 2017 Summer Guide is position previews. For each position, we’ll outline who’s returning, who’s gone and what the big question facing the unit is before finishing up with our projected depth chart for each position.

Next up is running back. For the final time, Northwestern will have Justin Jackson as their starting running back, but there is also a pretty solid backup in John Moten IV. Justin Jackson had the best season of his career in 2016, finishing 13th in the nation with 1,524 yards and 21st in the nation with 15 touchdowns. He had some insane stat lines throughout the season, posting 171 yards and 1 TD against Iowa, 188 yards and 2 TDs against Michigan St. and 173 yards and 3 TDs against Illinois. But nothing came close to his absolute torching of the Pitt Panthers in the Pinstripe Bowl. Jackson had 224 yards, 3 TDs and averaged 7.0 yards per carrying. He also absolutely embarrassed another man on national television.

Northwestern Football 2017 Match Prediction and Players

Northwestern Football 2017

Jackson was once again the star, but the best development from last year was the emergence of John Moten IV as a legit number two. Moten didn’t see much action till the end of the season but had huge games against Purdue (119 yards) and Illinois (128 yards and 2 TDs). If Northwestern can get more of that from Moten in 2017, they’ll be a destructive rushing attack. It’s easy and it’s obvious, but Justin Jackson is the most important running back on the team. It’s not even close. For the fourth and final time, Justin Jackson will line up in the Northwestern backfield to start the season, and much of the team’s success in 2017 will lie on his shoulders. If that worries you for any reason, take a quick look at the last game Jackson played.

Northwestern Football 2017 MAtch Schedule

Jackson enters 2017 in second place all time on the Northwestern rushing list with 4,129 yards, just 356 yards behind leader Damien Anderson’s 4,485 yards. He’s also just 8 TDs behind Anderson for all time touchdown leader. So he should be a Northwestern record holder by about week three then. Hopefully Moten will be able to take a few more carries away from Jackson so he can stay fresh, but JJ is still the man in 2017. Justin Jackson is the lead back for Northwestern, but he’s also carried the ball 855 times over the past three years. There’s bound to be some wear and tear there. With Warren Long switching over to the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats need a secondary option to make sure Jackson isn’t carrying the ball 35 times a game. They seem to have found that in John Moten IV.

As we already detailed, Moten came out of nowhere at the end of the season to have a couple huge games. While that’s what we all remember, it’s also worth noting that he only had 27 carries and 93 yards in the other 11 games. Moten is exciting because we know what he can do, but maybe it’s a bit an overreaction considering most of his stats came against Purdue and Illinois. Moten establishing himself as a real number two would be the best thing that could happen to Northwestern this year and for the future. If Moten can solidly produce this year, he’s the heir apparent for the team in the A.J.J. era. At the very least he appears to have all the skills, and the physical build to do so.

Northwestern Football 2017, Can anyone else can burst onto the scene at some point like Moten did as a redshirt freshman last year? One candidate is redshirt freshman Jeremy Larkin. You may remember Larkin as the running back who committed to Cincinnati before switching to Northwestern. He was the top recruit in the 2016 class, and we’ll have to see if that translates to the college game. He’s a speed guy who may see some snaps as a change of pace, it will up to him to take advantage of them. Source Link

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