Over the next two weeks, we'll be featuring 10 Big 12 players who are on the spot this spring. Maybe they are coming back from injury. Maybe they have much to prove after a disappointing 2013 season. Maybe they are embroiled in a key position battle. Whatever the case, this spring is big for them.
Today's player on the spot: Kansas State running back Charles Jones
The Wildcats running back is coming off a sophomore season that didn't go as planned, despite his 13 rushing touchdowns. Jones had 133 carries for 540 yards to lead KSU, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Jones (5-foot-10, 197 pounds) wasn't completely healthy, nursing a strained PCL for much of the season, but he'll be looking to increase his production as a junior.
With no running back close to 1,000 yards a year ago, Bill Snyder's team will enter 2015 searching for a running game and added balance in the offense after finishing No. 101 among FBS teams with 134.23 rushing yards per game in 2014. It was a very un-Snyder-like production from the Wildcats offense, which averaged 185.82 rushing yards per game during the previous three seasons combined.
Now, Jones will enter the spring looking over his shoulder. Freshman Dalvin Warmack impressed during his redshirting season and Class of 2015 signee Alex Barnes enrolled early to join the spring battle for carries as well.
Warmack looked good enough in the 2014 preseason that he almost played himself out of a redshirt campaign. He enters the spring looking to prove he's ready to share carries in the KSU backfield. A three-star signee, Warmack (5-9, 180) is elusive and quick with the ability to provide a chance-of-pace option for Snyder's squad.
Barnes (6-1, 210) is the biggest of the trio but also the most likely to need time to settle into the demands of playing college football in the Wildcats' program. Yet he could provide the best combination of power, speed and elusiveness on the roster.
If Jones wants to secure a spot as a primary ballcarrier in the offense and have a shot at leading the Wildcats in rushing for the second straight season, he's going to need to turn his game up a notch or risk opening the door for one of the freshmen to walk through.