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2019 Position Preview: Running Back

There is depth once again at running back on the Plains, let’s see if Auburn uses it.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Music City Bowl - Purdue v Auburn Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 1,000 yard rusher streak came sadly to an end last season but Auburn is hoping to start a new one this year. There’s reasons to believe it will happen with last year’s full RB rotation returning to campus along with the addition of two very talented freshman. The key is keeping this group healthy and letting more than just one tote the rock against top competition.


  • Asa Martin (Transfer Portal) - 13 carries 57 yds 4.4 avg 2 rec 36 yds 18.0 avg


  • Kam Martin (Senior) - 103 carries 458 yds 4.4 avg TD 10 rec 64 yds
  • JaTarvious Whitlow (rSophomore) - 150 carries 787 yds 5.2 avg 6 TD 15 rec 173 yds 11.5 avg 2 TD
  • Shaun Shivers (Sophomore) - 70 carries 321 yds 5.3 avg 3 TD
  • Harold Joiner (rFreshman) - 3 carries 9 yds 3.0 avg TD


Strength - Depth

Auburn limped to the finish line in 2016 and 2017 in large part because their star backs were sidelined with injuries. The Tigers just didn’t have the juice behind them to beat top competition. I don’t see that being a problem in 2019. Boobee Whitlow is back and is looking to get the 1,000 yard streak restarted. Kam Martin and Shaun Shivers can provide some speed in relief and we saw during A-Day what DJ Williams can do. You hope this group can stay healthy all season but if something does happen Auburn should be better positioned to absorb the blow.

Weakness - Consistency

There were some incredible flashes last season where you saw Whitlow power his way through multiple defenders, Shivers race away from an elite defense or Martin bust through for a 10+ yard gain but there were also frustrating fumbles, missed running lanes and pass protection struggles. For Auburn to be successful they need more of the former and less of the latter. They also need backs to be able to create opportunities for themselves. Yes, the offensive line was bad last year and they must be better for a truly strong rushing attack but Auburn also needs its ballcarriers to be able to turn what should have been negative losses into positive gains.


If there were ever a year to use a true running back rotation this would be the one. Whitlow should be the lead back but he should not be rushing 20+ times a game. I would love to see a healthy dose of Shaun Shivers, Kam Martin and either freshman to ensure this group is still fresh late in the game. Harold Joiner is the wildcard. He’s reportedly working with running backs but could line up still some at wide receiver and H-Back. He will have a roll of some sort, just not sure what it will be. Bottom line though is there are some playmakers in this group, let em play.

War Eagle!