4. RB James Gilbert, from Ball State to Kansas State
It was a bad offseason for the Ball State offensive backfield.
QB Riley Neal is a talent, and now he’s taking it all to Vanderbilt.
James Gilbert ran for over 2,800 yards in his Cardinal career with 30 touchdowns – including a terrific 1,332-yard, 12-score campaign in 2016. But he got banged up in 2017 – playing in only three games because of a hand problem – and he wasn’t used enough last season thanks to a back problem in a 659-yard, seven-touchdown year.
Kansas State needed more options at running back after 1,355-yard, 12-touchdown junior Alex Barnes left early for the next level, and with top backup Dalvin Warmack done. No other running back on the 2019 roster registered a carry last season, and that’s where Gilbert fits in.
New head coach Chris Klieman has Harry Trotter from Louisville as an interesting option, and Tyler Burns is a speed back who returned after leaving the program last year.
But the goal early on will be to get the ball in Gibert’s hands in a variety of ways. The 5-9, 200-pounder might not be all that big, but he’s tough around the goal line, and he can move.