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Chad Scott Breaks Down the Running Backs

West Virginia assistant coach Chad Scott gives some insight on the progression of the running backs

Despite Leddie Brown graduating out of the program and incoming Clemson transfer Lynn-J Dixon leaving the program over the summer, running backs coach Chad Scott likes his depth in the room.

The West Virginia offense will have a new starting running back this fall with Tony Mathis Jr. expected to take the bulk of the carries the season after Brown was the face of the WVU rushing attack the last three seasons.

Entering his fourth season, Mathis is primed for a breakout season. In the season finale at Kansas, he ran for a career-high 122 yards on the afternoon, including a moment in the fourth quarter where Mathis stayed on the field from the direction of Leddie Brown in the waning moments of the game, after bursting for a 45 yard, and continued to pound the rock for over four minutes of game clock.

Oct 23, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Tony Mathis Jr. (24) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

Oct 23, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Tony Mathis Jr. (24) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

Mathis has carried the momentum all offseason and has hit the ground running to begin fall camp.

“Tony is doing really well,” said Scott. “He’s running the ball really well, seeing things really well, and pass pro, run game. He’s catching the ball really well out of the backfield too. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield has been very impressive thus far throughout camp.”

Justin Johnson Jr. is prepared to lighten the load out of the backfield after getting his feet wet as a freshman last season with 24 carries for 90 yards.

Sep 11, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Justin Johnson Jr. (26) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Long Island Sharks at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Sep 11, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Justin Johnson Jr. (26) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Long Island Sharks at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

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“Justin Johnson had a phenomenal spring camp, and he carried that momentum into the summer – he had a great summer,” said Scott. “Seeing his level of confidence right now – he’s playing with a great level of confidence and he’s running the ball really well, catching the ball really well too.”

Scott noted Jalen Anderson has been a “big surprise” this fall camp after a late arrival last season.

“He’s taken a big step,” said Scott. “Really confident what he’s doing now. In the spring he made some flash plays here and there, but he didn’t necessarily know exactly what he was doing all around. He did a good job this summer.”

The coaching staff moved incoming freshman tight end CJ Donaldson over to running back in the early days of fall camp.

“CJ Donaldson is a kid we moved over to running back. I tell you what he’s been impressive – very smart kid and has great versatility.”

Scott also mentions redshirt sophomore Markquan Rucker was “doing a good job” too. 

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