Taking a look at Kent State's depth chart at running back makes it hard
to believe that just five years ago the Golden Flashes averaged less than 50
yards rushing per game. That's right, in 2005 Kent State averaged just
45.9 yards rushing per game.
That year Jerry Flowers led the team with 304 yards on 96 carries. He was
the only KSU running back to top 100 yards for the season. It should come as
no surprise that Kent State finished the year 1-10 overall.
Oh, but the times have changed.
Since the 2005 season Kent State has increased its team rushing totals each
year, with the exception of last year when starter Eugene Jarvis was
sidelined in week 2 with a season-ending kidney injury.
Jarvis' absence opened the door for Kent State's other running
backs to shine. Junior Jacquise Terry was most impressive as he rushed
for over 100 yards in each of his first three starts after moving back to the
position from wide receiver.
The NCAA granted Jarvis a sixth season of eligibility, which gives Kent State
star power at the position to go along with the depth created by Terry and
the Golden Flashes' other two experienced backs.
Ever since his arrival in 2005 Eugene Jarvis has been the face of the Kent
State football program.
Jarvis is Kent State's first four-time captain.
A two-time Pittsburgh Post Gazette Player of the Year, Jarvis rushed for 4,300
yards in his career at Central Catholic High School. As a senior he rushed
for 2,196 yards and 38 touchdowns to lead the Vikings to the Class 4A state
Because of his diminutive size, Jarvis is listed at 5-foot-5, 170-pounds,
Kent State was one of just a couple of Division I programs to offer a scholarship.
Jarvis picked the Golden Flashes over their rival Akron Zips and since then
he's helped Kent State gain respect in the Mid-American Conference.
As a redshirt freshman in 2006 Jarvis earned Kent State's Offensive
Rookie of the Year award after he rushed for 883 yards and three touchdowns
in 11 starts.
He was even better in 2007 when he earned the first of two selections to the
all-conference teams. Jarvis again was named the team's offensive MVP
after rushing for a school record 1,669 yards on 279 attempts. He finished
the year fifth in the nation in rushing and set a school-record with nine 100-yard
rushing efforts. Jarvis was a first-team all-MAC selection and an honorable
mention All-American by SI.com and CollegeFootballNews.com.
In 2008 a nagging ankle injury, and the emergence of quarterback Julian Edelman,
now a wide receiver with the New England Patriots, limited Jarvis to just 801
yards and nine touchdowns in just nine games.
Jarvis entered his fifth year with high hopes but they were quickly dashed
when he suffered a lacerated kidney at Boston College in week 2. The injury
ended Jarvis' season and without a special waiver from the NCAA his career
would have ended with 3,426 rushing yards, just 564 short of breaking Astron
Whatley's school rushing record.
But, the NCAA came through with the waiver and Jarvis was granted a sixth
year of eligibility.
He enters the 2010 season as just the fourth player in Kent State history
to top 3,000 yards rushing and he is second among FBS active career leaders
behind BYU's Harvey Unga, who has 3,455 career rushing yards.
Jarvis also is third in school history in all-purpose yards (4,315) and rushing
attempts (666), seventh in rushing touchdowns (23) and total touchdowns (27)
and ninth in points scored (164).
There's no question Jarvis is one of the most talented players ever
to wear a Kent State uniform, but he's also one of the most-scratch
that, THE MOST-well-respected players. This spring Jarvis was again voted
team captain. He is the first four-time team captain in school history.
Archer emerged as a big-play threat.
With the depth Kent State had at running back entering the 2009 season the
Golden Flashes had the luxury of moving one of their most talented offensive
players to wide receiver to bolster the depth at that position.
As a freshman in 2008, Jacquise Terry rushed for 170 yards in 10 games. But,
even more important, he showed Kent State fans why he earned the nickname, "Speedy." Terry's
speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield prompted the Golden
Flashes coaching staff to move him to wide receiver prior to the start of the
Jarvis' injury took a big chunk out of Kent State's running back
depth and Terry moved back to running back for the week 4 game against Miami.
In that game he rushed 15 times for 103 yards, which earned him the start the
following week at Baylor. In nine games at running back-including seven
starts-Terry rushed for 649 yards and four touchdowns. He posted three
100-yard efforts. He also became just the fifth Academic All-American in school
Unlike Kent State's other running back options, Terry possesses the
combination of speed and size. He's listed at 6-foot, 183-pounds.
Terry will compete this fall with sophomore Dri Archer for the No.
2 running back spot. Archer, who as a freshman finished second on the team
with 246 rushing yards on 58 carries, enters the fall listed No. 2 on the depth
chart. He'll need to work hard to keep that spot. Like Terry, Archer's
greatest strength is speed, but at 5-foot-7, 162-pounds he lacks Terry's
size, but he makes up for it in other ways. Archer was fourth on the team with
743 all-purpose yards and caught 19 passes for 231 yards. He's also one
of Kent State's top options to return kicks.
Providing even more depth at the running back position is senior Andre Flowers, a 5-foot-11, 220-pounder. Flowers, who started the week 3 tilt
against Iowa State last fall, has rushed for 778 yards in his three-year career
at Kent State. He primarily has been used on special teams, but turned in a
career-best 319 rushing yards as a sophomore in 2008.
In February, Kent State signed Rob Holloman to a national
letter of intent.
Holloman, a 5-foot-9, 170-pounder from Philadelphia, Pa., played his high
school ball at West Catholic High then played a year at Cushing Academy, where
he rushed for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.
As a senior at West Catholic he rushed 150 times for 1,923 yards to earn first
team all-state honors. He set the West Catholic school record for touchdowns
scored (42) and rushing touchdowns (36). His jersey now hangs in the rafters
at the school.
A bit bigger than Jarvis and Archer, Holloman still possesses the explosive
speed that makes Kent State's running backs so difficult to chase down.
With the depth the Golden Flashes possess at running back it's a good
bet Holloman will redshirt.
The return of Eugene Jarvis for a sixth season gives Kent State at least
three quality running backs to carry the football. Jarvis, a two-time all-conference
selection possesses everything a running back should have, short of a 6-foot
frame, and he sets an example for his teammates to follow, off the field and
on. With so much quality depth Jarvis won't have to be the workforce, which
will allow him to return punts and get the necessary rest to keep his legs
fresh for what is shaping up to be a long season.
Kent State's running backs aren't punishers. They simply don't have the size
to guarantee a one-yard carry on fourth-and-short. Short yardage situations
have been hit-and-miss for the Flashes and likely will continue to be the same
in 2010. Terry's size and Flowers' strength gives the Flashes a short-yardage
option if they choose to go that route.
Nobody deserved an extra year of eligibility more than Jarvis. He's been
a tremendous asset for the Kent State program. His work ethic and nobody-will-outwork-me
attitude have provided a positive example for his teammates to follow. Having
Jarvis for a sixth season gives Kent State a wealth of talent at the running
back position. That gives the Flashes the flexibility to position Jarvis to
return punts, which should create more positive starting field position opportunities
for the offense. Terry and Archer should see a fair share of the total carries,
easing Jarvis' load and keeping true freshman Rob Holloman on the sidelines
to learn the Kent State offense and adapt to the college game at his own pace.
One thing is for sure...the Flashes won't struggle to run the football like
they did in 2005 and potentially could threaten their five-year rushing
high of 2,767 yards set in 2008.
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