After Kade … Cardinals diverse in running back talent

Published 9:16 pm Monday, August 8, 2016

BEAUMONT — Catch a glimpse of Kade Harrington if you can, because when he’s gone … he’s gone.

That can mean gone for a touchdown or gone from Lamar after an All-American career. And it begs the question: Who else can carry the load of Lamar’s rushing attack?

“We’ve got plenty of guys,” Harrington said. “We’ve got lots of talent. We don’t think there’s too much dropoff at all.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

It’s an assuring answer for Cardinal followers from the Football Championship Subdivision’s 2015 leading rusher himself.

Harrington accounted for 266 of Lamar’s 443 carries and 2,092 of the team’s 2,935 rushing yards. That’s 71.3 percent of the team yardage a running back listed as 5-feet-9, 190 pounds, accumulated.

Harrington also accumulated numerous postseason and preseason awards on the conference and national levels since the Cardinals last played in November. He earned another Monday, along with senior offensive lineman Bret Treadway, as members of College Sports Madness’ Preseason All-America teams. Harrington was selected to the first team, and Treadway was named a third-teamer.

STATS LLC gave the two the exact same recognition a week earlier.

So the younger running backs — of whom Emmitt Raleigh is the only other upperclassman — learn a lot from Harrington, like …

“Patience,” sophomore Keegan Mitchell said.

“Be patient with the opportunities you get,” sophomore Derrion Randle said.

Randle (5-foot-10, 200 pounds), who looks a few inches taller than Harrington, has turned heads since spring drills after missing the entire season recovering from an ACL injury at Navasota High. He, along with the 6-0, 210 Raleigh and 6-0, 205 sophomore Emmanuel Atoyebi give the Cardinals some added size in the backfield.

“Derrion is looking like the back we recruited out of high school,” running backs coach Brian Morgan said. “He’s a legit three-down back. That’s what we’re looking for.

“As good as Kade is, Kade’s an exception to the rule. People don’t understand that. There aren’t a whole lot of people at his size who is as good as he is.”

Randle could see some time with Harrington in two-back sets in a primarily spread offense and serve as a scatback for pass-blocking or catching out of the backfield on third down. Harrington, however, has come up with many big plays on third down in the past.

“He’s not a scatback,” Morgan said of Harrington. “He’s 190 pounds, even though he’s short and runs powerful. He’s able to do a lot of things in pass pro[tection] that a lot of guys aren’t able to do. Most guys struggle with that part of it.”

Harrington said he sees himself in newcomer Austin Krautz, a 5-10, 180-pound freshman who played a big role in the past three District 22-5A championships for Nederland.

“Mentally, he’s super sharp,” Morgan said of Krautz. “Him and [Iowa, La., freshman] Markell Hawthorne have a good little punch with those younger guys coming in. He’s had a really good summer. Hopefully, Saturday, he has a really good scrimmage.”

Hawthorne is two years the junior of Lamar redshirt sophomore Martell Hawthorne.

Mitchell, who had 105 rushing yards on 27 carries last year, was the Cards’ fifth-leading rusher and third among running backs, behind Raleigh’s 114. Depending on Harrington’s performance, the sophomore from Corrigan doesn’t mind moving anywhere on the field as necessary.

“There are places that need to be filled,” Mitchell said. “Just wherever I need to be put to get the win is great. I don’t mind. I just want to play.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.