Silmon battles for running back position in competitive spring season

Then-freshman running back Justin Silmon runs the ball during the football game between K-State and Oklahoma State in Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Oct. 3, 2015. Silmon is one of three players competing for the running back position for the upcoming season. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

One of the question marks that surround the K-State football team this offseason is who will be taking the ball as the running back this fall.

Head coach Bill Snyder said it is a three-way race for the position and it has been very competitive this spring.

One of the players vying for the spot is sophomore Justin Silmon, who hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The other two running backs competing for the position are senior Charles Jones and sophomore Dalvin Warmack.

Last season, Silmon rushed for 355 yards with two touchdowns on 78 attempts.

“He is one of the three in contention for the spot,” Snyder said. “He’s such a competitive guy, but I didn’t think he got off the spring practice like I wanted him to. There just seemed to be something that was holding him back.”

But three weeks later and with a spring game approaching, Silmon appears to be playing much better than earlier in the month.

“I think I’ve grown this spring into being a better player with the ball out of my hands,” Silmon said. “Just knowing the game, chipping on the right block when help is needed and understanding the defense more by pass protection just to name a few things.”

Silmon said he thinks the competition this offseason can only help everyone’s skills.

“This is great for our position, and it’s a good thing in any sport,” Silmon said. “They’ve been pushing me, and I don’t think that competition will stop any time soon.”

After playing without spectators in the stands the past three weeks, Silmon said he is ready to show the K-State faithful his and the rest of the team’s talents.

“It’s very exciting and is building these past few days,” Silmon said. “We don’t want to get embarrassed and show everyone how much we’ve improved. Everybody is ready for Saturday, that’s for sure.”

Snyder said the coaching staff has been watching Silmon and noticed something that he is doing very well.

“Everyone has been impressed with how hard he’s run,” Snyder said. “He’s got certain things in his game he needs to improve on, but he’s made this a competitive race because of how hard he competes.”

Silmon is putting himself in a good position to be the starting running back this season, and Snyder said overall he is having a good spring.

“He’s a good guy and is developing quite well right now,” Snyder said. “(Silmon) is making good headway and is having a nice spring.”

K-State fans will get the chance to see Silmon and the rest of the Wildcats in action at 1:10 p.m. Saturday at the annual Purple and White Spring Game in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.