Illinois Football: Spring Practice Running Back Depth Chart Breakdown

Oct 8, 2016; Champaign, IL, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers safety Navon Mosley (27) tackles Illinois Fighting Illini running back Kendrick Foster (22) during the 2nd quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois football fans received some sad news yesterday as former starting running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn announced he would be transferring.

Vaughn was a four-star recruit who led the Illini in rushing his freshman season.  He rushed for 723 yards and 6 touchdowns that year.

This past season a new regime took over in Lovie Smith and company and they decided to go a different direction at running back.  Vaughn only ended up rushing for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2016.

Transferring was something many fans had expected and now Vaughn has declared he will be departing.

But, no worries Illini fans, while it hurts to lose such a talented running back, Illinois still has a nice stable in the backfield.

Here is the spring practice running back depth chart for the Illini.

Starter: Kendrick Foster

After a rocky beginning to his career with the Illini, Kendrick Foster announced he was going to transfer as well.  But, a few months later he decided to stick it out with the program.

This was a great decision because in 2016 Foster rushed for 720 yards and 7 touchdowns for the Illini.  He led the team last season and he will likely be leading the team this season as well.

Foster undoubtedly deserves the starting job after his performance in 2016.  He has power and speed that is tough to match.  I can’t wait to see how he performs this upcoming season.

Backup: Reggie Corbin

Corbin is listed as the backup running back, but really he gets a decent amount of touches.  He is more of the third down running back.

Last season, Corbin rushed for 523 yards and 2 touchdowns with 6.1 yards per carry average.  He also caught 10 passes for 112 yards as well.

I love how Lovie utilized Corbin as the third down back and in certain situations.  He will likely be used like that again this season.

No. 3 RB: Dre Brown

The story of Brown has been sad in the first two years he has been with the program.  He hasn’t had a chance to see the field yet in either season because of injuries.

Brown is likely entering the spring practice as the No. 3 running back.  He is a wildcard for the Illini and I am excited to see what he can do in game action.

No. 4 RB: Tre Nation

Illinois’ third running back last season was true freshman Tre Nation.  He received some playing time with 11 carries for 59 yards, but he still has some room to grow.

Nation is likely to be the No. 4 running back to start spring practice, but I think he will have an opportunity to move up depending on how he performs.

Despite losing a good running back to the transfer market, the Illinois football team has a nice, eclectic, group of players to carry the rock. The future is bright at running back for the Illini.

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