Three years ago, I took a not-quite official tour of the then newly-minted Fetterman Athletic Complex. A football practice was underway when we got to the indoor football field, and as we watched the different positions run drills, my guide told me about one of the frosh running backs. "Remember his name, David Fluellen. That guy is going to be a stud."
Not being one to follow the recruiting game, I believed him, but I also knew he had a pair of studs ahead of him -- Adonis Thomas and Morgan Williams, to be exact. And while Fluellen got his touches, Adonis was the running back of choice for 2010, and when he went down in '11, Williams stepped up. That doesn't mean David didn't get his touches: in 2011, he totaled 648 yards and scored 6 touchdowns.
Enter 2012, and Fluellen has inherited the position. But it doesn't mean that the other guys are gone. David told the Toledo Blade early in the year that he watched game tape of his predecessors, specifically to see if the other teams had weaknesses that Adonis was able to exploit. Things he could exploit with his turn in the barrel.
Exploit, he did.
7 games with over 100 yards. 3 games where he cracked 200. Just under 1500 yards and 13 touchdowns when it was all said and done. Would have been more if not for injury (and the one-two punch of Bernard Reedy and Alonzo Russell at the WR position). A performance like that landed him First Team All-MAC Honors and a spot as a semi finalist for the Doak Walker Award.
Fluellen is the lynchpin for the offense in 2013. The secondary doesn't open up for Reedy, Russell, and Owens unless the running game works, and as long as Fluellen can stay healthy (and behind the pro-level work of center Zac Kerin), he'll get those defenses to pull in enough to make it all work.