In college football, the running game is just as important as a team’s passing attack. Ground-and-pound, read-option, and many more offensive styles utilize a run-heavy scheme, and even passing offenses rely heavily on the running backs to set up play action opportunities.
ULM’s Matt Viator obviously recognizes the importance of a productive running attack, as the Warhawk head coach continues to go out and collect highly-touted talent in the backfield.
Last summer, that came in the form of adding Alabama transfer back Derrick Gore. Gore, who walked on for the Crimson Tide and was productive in limited action, did not see much time on the field being behind the likes of Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake, Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. As a redshirt junior for the Warhawks, Gore led the backfield in rushing with 585 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 164 yards.
Just a year and some change later, the ULM staff has added another SEC-level talent to the 2018 roster in former Ole Miss commit Josh Johnson, who set records at Coahoma Community College. Johnson originally committed to sign with the Rebels, but never ended up playing in Oxford. Johnson caught the eye of Ole Miss coaches with several breakout performances, including a 321 yard, four touchdown outing while at Coahoma.
It isn’t often that G5 schools are able to bring in talent also coveted at the SEC level, but Matt Viator is proving he can get it done. Many will say the Warhawks are digging in to “scrap heap” of SEC talent, but the fact remains the team is showing they are actively going out and bringing players talented enough to play in the nation’s best conference. For an offense that was number one in the Sun Belt conference last season, adding an SEC-level player to a backfield that already posses loads of talent is just another step in the right direction.