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Eastern Kentucky Colonels have flexibility in backfield
Zavier Foster was a standout running back in high school, but when he arrived at EKU he was moved to linebacker.
And for a couple of years, the Colonel coaching staff had considered the possibility of shifting the junior back to the backfield.
“He just does some things naturally at the tailback position you just can’t teach,” EKU coach Dean Hood said.
After seeing action in eight games last year, mostly at safety, the 6-foot, 200-pound junior has jumped in to the competition for playing time at running back this spring. Foster has been impressive and along with All-American Matt Denham and transfer De’Shaun Sands certainly gives the Colonels a formidable core of runners as they look to repeat as Ohio Valley Conference champs.
“That’s probably been the best move we’ve made,” Hood said of moving Foster to tailback. “We’ve talked about it for two years. Actually doing it now, its easy to see why we had that idea two years ago.”
Foster was a First-Team All-Region selection at Villa Rica High School in Carrollton, Ga. He rushed for 1,130 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Foster was named the region offensive player of the year and was also a standout on the track team.
After redshirting in 2009, he played in all 11 games the following season at linebacker. In 2011 he was moved to safety.
With the addition of Foster and Sands, the Colonels have filled some potential holes in the backfield.
Denham, of course, enters the spring as the undisputed No. 1 back. In his first season as a starter, the junior burst onto the scene with a series of stunning performances.
Denham rushed for almost 1,600 yards, even though he didn’t crack the starting lineup for the first month of the season, and was named an All-American by several publications.
Still, there were questions about depth.
Jeremiah Williams suffered a season-ending knee surgery mid-way through last season and the Colonels next two leading rushers (with the exception of quarterback T.J. Pryor) were both seniors — Kyle Lumpkin and H.B. Banjoman.
But, Foster and Sands have stepped up to fill those holes.
“I think with having Matt back, moving Zavier to tailback and having De’Shaun do as well as he’s done and having the flexibility of Caleb Watkins back there, that just might give us the luxury to redshirt Jeremiah,” Hood said. “We’ve got flexibility because I think Jeremiah will be ready.”
Williams has not gone through drills this spring, but he is making progress. A decision on whether or not to redshirt the senior from Dallas, Texas may not be made until fall camp.
The transfer from Trinity Valley Community College had 317 yards rushing on 87 rushes in six games last season.
By Nathan Hutchinson, Richmond Register