Ryan Graham scored 22 touchdowns for Sierra (Calif.) College last fall in leading the Wolverines to a 7-4 record. Arkansas State University Coach Blake Anderson is hoping the junior transfer can have a similar impact for the Red Wolves this season.
"Ryan is a very versatile player," Anderson said. "The first week he was here he looked lost, but he's made strides. He runs with power."
ASU spring game
WHEN Noon Saturday
WHERE Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro
NOTEWORTHY There is no admission charge for the game, which will be preceded by a punt, pass and kick competition for first- through sixth- graders from 10-11 a.m. Gates will open at 11 a.m., and the Red Wolves will take the field at 11:30 a.m.
Graham will be one of several fresh faces the Red Wolves will count on when the season begins at home Aug. 31 against SMU. ASU will hold its annual spring game Saturday at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro. Game time is scheduled for noon.
Graham, 5-11, 200 pounds, was the Wolverines' leading rusher in 2018, running 159 times for 1,276 yards. He also led the team in receiving yards, catching 46 passes for 783 yards. He scored 15 rushing TDs and seven more through the air.
"I love everything about [Arkansas State's] offense," Graham said. "It's a balanced attack and I love to play that style of football. It gives me an opportunity to show off my running ability but I also love to catch the ball coming out of the backfield. It's something I'm naturally good at."
Graham and D.J. Chatman, a junior transfer from Independence (Kan.) Community College, will be welcome additions to the Red Wolves' backfield. They will compete with sophomore Marcel Murray for playing time. Murray led Arkansas State in rushing in 2018, running 154 times for 860 yards and 8 TDs.
"They are all a great group of guys," Graham said of his new teammates. "We [are] all out there pushing each other to be our best every day. Coming here was just the best fit for me."
Logan Bonner, the Red Wolves' first-team quarterback, may see limited action in Saturday's game because of a muscle strain. Senior Carson Coats (Jonesboro) and freshman Coltin Clack (Texarkana, Texas) are expected to see the bulk of the playing time.
"Bonner's injury isn't a long-term thing. He'll be back," Anderson said. "We still have a couple of days to get him ready for the spring game, but if we played today I would not let him play."
In their second major scrimmage of the spring last Friday, Coats completed 14 of 18 passes for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns. Clack, an early enrollee, was good on 14 of 25 passes for 130 yards and 3 TDs. He also threw an interception.
"It's good that Coats and Clack are getting some reps, but Bonner needs them, too," Anderson said.
Six of ASU's top eight receivers from 2018 have returned, but it was another junior transfer who led the Red Wolves in receiving in last week's scrimmage. Bubba Ogbebor, who last played for Boise State, hauled in six passes for 71 yards. Jonathan Adams caught five passes for 56 yards.
The defensive line should continue to be one of the Red Wolves' biggest strengths. The Red Wolves, who had 35 sacks in 2018, picked up four from end Aaron Bonkor, a junior transfer from New Mexico Military Institute, during last week's scrimmage.
"We've got a lot of new folks and we're trying to be patient with them," Anderson said. "But we've had few injuries, and we've been going at it hard every day. We're not a finished product, but we're working to get there."
Sports on 04/19/2019
Print Headline: ASU RB gives unit versatility