2021 Football Position Preview: Running Backs

Tucker Gregg in motion against Troy. Photo: Michael Wade


POSITION COACH: Dan Ellington (2nd year at GSU) 

RETURNING STARTERS:  Senior Destin Coates*

RETURNING CONTRIBUTORS: Senior Tucker Gregg, sophomore Marcus Carroll, junior Dawson Hill, sophomore Makari Pruitt, senior Jam Williams

NEW NAMES: Freshman Jaquan Dixon 

KEY LOSSES: Junior Seth Paige

* =projected starter


After a record-setting 2019 campaign, Georgia State took somewhat of a step back in the ground game during the 2020 season. With the graduations of Tra Barnett and Dan Ellington, the Panthers looked to Destin Coates and Tucker Gregg to carry the load. While each produced decent seasons, it was a far cry from the 3,000+-yard rushing attack the Panthers came to expect. Still, the pair rushed for over 1,200 yards combined and scored 13 of the team’s 22 rushing touchdowns on the season. Coates was the feature back and looks to retain that role as a three-down running back, while Gregg was the home run hitter who used a much more brute running style to wear down opposing defensive linemen. For his work in 2020, Coates was rewarded with an All Sun Belt Third Team selection and was picked on the 2021 Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team offense. 

After Coates and Gregg, fans should expect to see the Swiss Army knife that is Jam Williams get the majority of the extra touches. Prior to the 2020 season, Williams transferred from South Carolina. He played in the defensive backfield in Columbia but made the switch to running back once getting to Atlanta. Williams brings a unique combination of speed and explosion to the running back group that is not found in any other runner on the roster. It can’t be expected that there will be many touches to go around behind Jam, but a guy to keep an eye on is Marcus Carroll. Carroll saw plenty of action early on in the 2020 season but had his carries dwindle as the season went on. Third-year contributor, Seth Paige, is the only loss from the 2020 season.

Next up: Wide Receivers

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