Following the deep dive into the quarterbacks room for Eastern Michigan University, it’s time to check in on the guys they’ll be handing the ball off to. The team has seven running backs listed on the roster, but Shaq Vann and Breck Turner have pulled away from the rest of the group. With that said, though, at least one other Eagles running back is going to get significant playing time in the upcoming season.
Vann, a senior out of South Bend, Indiana, is the projected starter after he ran for 590 yards, five touchdowns and a 4.4 average on 135 attempts last season. In 2017, he compiled 520 yards and three scores. Vann also added eight receptions last year. He earned his degree this past year, but is coming back for another year and should be one of the best running backs in the MAC West.
Turner will also see a lot of time on the field. He ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns in 2018. In his freshman season, Turner was great, running for 417 yards and an average of 5.4 yards per carry. He also has reached the end zone seven times in three seasons and has yet to lose a fumble. Turner was named a preseason Doak Walker award candidate, along with five other running backs from the MAC including Tre Harbison (Northern Illinois), Bryant Koback (Toledo), LaVante Bellamy (Western Michigan), Andrew Clair (Bowling Green) and Jaret Patterson (Buffalo).
The other five Eagles running backs consist of four freshmen and one junior. The freshman include Karmi Mackey, who impressed in the 2019 spring game, Josh McCarty, Darius Boone Jr. and John Branham Jr. McCarty and Branham are from Michigan and Ohio, respectively. Mackey is out of Florida, while Boone hails from Oklahoma.
Mackey helped Team Fink come away with the victory in the spring game as he scored a touchdown in the 14-7 victory. He redshirted last year after playing in three games, totaling 23 yards. Mackey ran for eight yards against Kent State and caught a pass in the bowl game loss versus Georgia Southern.