Spring Football Position Battles Preview: Running Back

By Nick de la Torre

In part five of our spring position battles preview we take a look at running back and who will replace Mike Gillislee. In 2012 we saw the emergence of Gillislee. After waiting for an opportunity to become the feature back, Gillislee didn’t disappoint. He became the first Gator running back to surpass 1,000 yards in a season since Ciatrick Fason in 2004. Gillislee carried the ball 244 times for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s a lot of production to make up for, but the Gators have the players in place to do just that.


The Players


Matt Jones, So.

Jones had a productive season as a freshman carrying the ball 52 times for 275 yards and three scores.

Jones is a big, bruising back who doesn’t waste time dancing in the backfield. He is a north/south runner who finds a hole and attacks it at full speed.

Jones is the early favorite to be the opening day starter at tailback.


Mack Brown, R-Jr.

Brown has played sparingly in three seasons. He has just 40 carries in three seasons as a Gator.

Brown has good size and speed for the position but looks like he will be a career backup.


Kelvin Taylor, Fr.

The son of Gator legend, Fred Taylor, Kelvin will look to create his own legacy in Gainesville.

Kelvin looks and runs a lot like his father, but is more advanced than Fred was at this point in his career. Kelvin has good size and speed for the position and can make defenders miss in space.


Jones really came on towards the end of last season and is the early favorite to replace Gillislee. Jones physical running style is exactly what Will Muschamp is looking to get out of his running backs.

While Jones is the early favorite, Taylor will not go down without a fight. As an early enrollee, Taylor is getting a head start on the rest of the recruiting class and already participating in workouts and acclimating to college life. Taylor will push Jones for the starting spot this off-season and it should be one of the more exciting position battles to follow.

As we saw last season, there will be plenty of carries to go around in the Gators offense so no matter who comes out on top of this position battle, expect to see a lot of both of these young players in 2013.