ROLLA, Mo. -- Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central) put together one of the greatest offensive seasons in Missouri S&T football history in 2017, earning second-team All-America honors after rushing for more yards in a campaign than any previous Miner.
Jones broke a number of S&T rushing records last season, including the top single game mark with 275 yards and single-season record 1,579 yards while scoring a record 16 touchdowns. While Jones parlayed those numbers into helping the Miners record their best season record-wise in five years in just his sophomore season, the good news for the Miners heading into 2018 is that Jones won't have to carry the bulk of the load in the backfield.
"Deshawn had a great year for us last year and he was rewarded for those efforts," Fenwick said. "But last year, it was just Deshawn and D'Luis West (Troup, TX/Troup). This year, we have more quality depth at the position with Aaron Moya (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) and Payton McAlister, so we'll have the ability to keep fresher backs on the field throughout the games."
The Miners enter the year with a strong stable of running backs to go along with Jones, who accounted for 1,798 all-purpose yards last fall. His primary back-up, D'Luis West(Troup, TX/Troup), is back after a year that he closed with a 123-yard rushing performance out of the 400 he ran for during the year, while two others who were impressive in the spring game will also contend for playing time.
Moya, a redshirt freshman Aaron Moya (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) who had a 65-yard showing in the April contest, will be in the backfield pool as will McAlister, a transfer from Florida Tech that led the Miners with eight catches in the spring game.
"Aaron is more of an all-around back and had a really good spring. Not only can he run the football, he can also catch the ball out of the backfield and is good is pass protection," Fenwick said. "Payton is probably the most versatile back on our roster, as we can put him in the slot as well as run him out of the backfield."