It’s a good problem to have for Sullivan South head football coach Justin Hilton.

The Rebels have more potential running backs than they have starting spots available at that position for the 2020 season.

Five players are in the running: Eli Jennings, Eli Topping, Jackson McGee, Damien McClain and Eli Jones. It’s a 60-percent Eli mix and 40 percent other guys.

Hilton said he will lean toward a lead dog this season as opposed to a committee approach.

“I would like to have one guy we know we can rely on,” Hilton said. “But we can still do things as a committee. All of these guys are contending and each brings something different to the table. I will probably base it on the week of practice. We may see who has the hot hand and roll with it.”

There are plenty of yards up for grabs as explosive back Julian Reed has graduated. But there is also experience returning because Reed battled through injuries in 2019.

“In one game Jackson had over 100 yards rushing, and in another game, Eli Jones and Damien both had over 90,” Hilton said. “Julian carried the load, but when he got hurt we had different guys step up with big games.”

Hilton commented on each of his running backs.

Jennings (5-foot-11, 175, Sr.) can see the whole field.

“He has great vision with good speed. He’s one of those guys who can just go score.”

Topping (6-0, 230, Jr.) brings the power element to the equation.

“He’s big and strong. He’s not the fastest guy, but he is hard to bring down.”

As for McGee, the junior is a combo guy at 5-8 and 180 pounds.

“He has good speed and he’s very strong. He is a really good high school running back.”

McClain (5-7, 145, Sr.) adds quickness to the backfield mix.

“He’s shifty. He’s more of the kind of back you are used to having at Sullivan South with good vision, one cut, and go score.”

Athleticism is one of Jones’ calling cards. He is a 5-9, 180-pound senior.

“He plays quarterback some and runs it from that position. He can make people miss and has an uncanny ability to find holes.”

Hilton said it’s a battle, but the players remain good teammates.

“They all want to be the man, but I think they are all pulling for each other,” he said. “Also, some of them play defense more than the others, so there will be opportunities.”

Recommended for you