Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Who Will Be USC's Premier Running Back?

Both on the Doak Walker preseason watch released in July, Javorius “Buck” Allen and Tre Madden of USC have quickly emerged as two of America’s premiere backs.  To be listed among very well-rounded and talented backs in the nation is no mistake, and honestly may begin an upswing of the return to glory of the running back position on an NFL level.  However, inside the confines of the L.A. Coliseum, which back will emerge as the one most relied upon to carry the load?

The Trojans have a luxury unlike a vast amount of programs.  USC boasts a 4-headed monster of running backs who all have their own unique way of becoming a game changer in one handoff.  D.J. Morgan and Justin Davis could probably start on a handful of Pac-12 teams alone.

Allen and Madden both posted similar numbers in 2013.  Allen’s 785 yards rushing and Madden’s 703 with 4 carries of separation the difference in backs (Allen 134 to Madden’s 138), is proof that both can handle the load consistently.  The main difference between both is Javorius Allen’s knack for finding the end zone.  His 14 rushing touchdowns to Madden’s 3, as well as on the surface gives the impression that Allen ultimately will be the go-to back.  In Madden’s defense, however, injuries hampered his 2013 season to a degree.

Hamstring and knee injuries now behind Tre Madden, he’s gone on 120-play workouts in Steve Sarkisian’s no-huddle offense.  Thus, returning to form to the running back who rushed for over 100 yards in 4 of his first 5 games with the Trojans last season. While both are competent receivers out the backfield, Madden holds the edge as he averaged 13.4 yards a game receiving and earned 4 touchdown receptions. While Allen can boast consistent hands as a reliable receiver in his own right, Madden has shown up often as the home run hitter type of receiver with the ball in his hands from receptions.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Javorius Allen’s rise in 2013 gives him the slight edge as the primary feature back.  His durability mainly states his case for him.  Allen is explosive and tough to bring  down nearly every moment he carries the rock.  Despite the early season success of Tre Madden, Javorius Allen has definitely earned his stripes as primary back.  He can tote the majority of carries and has the ability to shoulder the load and put the team on his back.  Having served his first two seasons on the scout team, saying Javorius Allen has come a long way is an understatement.  Buck is the ultimate ‘rags to riches’ story and brings a high energy to the USC offense as a near centerpiece to their offensive rhythm.

Both backs are ranked in the top 20 NFL running back prospects in the nation.  Both backs also have near identical skill sets where they can both have cases to whom gets the ball when it’s all on the line.

When it all comes down to it, however, Javorius Allen seems like THE man among both.  Although Tre Madden will get his fair share of carries and action, he still must be able to prove the nagging injuries of his recent past are behind him.  Madden, no doubt will definitely be a huge part of the Trojan run game, however expect Allen to likely be the one who leads the Trojans in 2014.


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Tags: Javorius Allen NCAA Football Pac-12 Running Backs Tre Madden USC

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