Before I get started with looking at the backs for next year, I wanted to take a moment to talk about how this is going to go. I'm going to break down the offense, defense and special teams group by group. I'll be looking at who's leaving, who's coming in and how the position group looks for next year. If all goes according to plan, we'll be done the day after National Signing Day.
Who's Gone: Nick Arbuckle
Who's Coming In: Connor Manning (transfer)
Outlook: Right now, the Panthers have five quarterbacks on the roster, including Manning who enrolled in January. There could potentially be six if Matlin Marshall comes in as a quarterback. Manning will definitely be in the thick of things, and in my opinion, is probably the front-runner for the job right now. The other name to keep an eye on here is rising redshirt sophomore Emiere Scaife. This past season he served as Arbuckle's back-up. The southpaw was a 3-star recruit coming out of Charlotte, N.C. At this point, it's too early to tell who's going to be the starter, but it should be a fun spring as we watch these two go at it.
Who's Gone: Jonathan Lytle (FB), Marcus Caffrey (HB)
Who's Coming In: Darius Stubbs, Tra Barnett
Outlook: There's good news here, and there's bad news here. The bad news, State lost its only fullback in Jonathan Lytle. He didn't do much with the ball in his hands, but he served in more of a blocking role, which can be vital. The good news, though, is that State returns its top four rushers. Though it will likely be runningback by committee for the Panthers next season, they do have a couple of guys to keep an eye out for. The first one is rising redshirt junior Kyler Neal. Neal ran for just 336 yards this season at 3.9 yards a carry, but he was led the team in rushing touchdowns with five. The other guy to watch for is Glenn Smith. Smith was the team's leading rusher with 373 yards on 89 carries. He also had a decent year receiving with 17 catches for 115 yards. The two incoming freshmen could also break into the committee with good falls.