So far, we have looked at the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends for the Birmingham Stallions heading into 2023. Today, we will consider the rest of the backfield, both running back and fullback. The Stallions enter 2023 with a strong running back room. We will consider it first before looking at the Stallions lone fullback.
Two running backs return from 2022. The biggest name will be local fan-favorite and former Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough. Scarbrough joined the Stallions mid-season last year and made an immediate impact, quickly taking over as the starting running back. He rushed for over 100 yards in his first two games as the starter, finishing the season with 526 yards and two touchdowns on 108 carries. Scarbrough (6’1, 235) is a bruising, physically dominant runner. He ended up third in the league in yards per game and never turned the ball over once. Notably, he was most dominant when it mattered most. In the USFL Championship, Scarbrough ran the ball 13 times for 135 yards (10.4 yards per carry), including a 70-yard run and a 36-yard touchdown scamper early in the game. Scarbrough has been training hard this offseason and making lots of media appearances for the Stallions. Expect him to the be the feature back, if not the feature player, on the Stallions’ offense.
C.J. Marable (5’10, 195) also returns for the Stallions in 2023. Marable was the starter last season until Scarbrough joined the team. He continued to have an active role in the offense, though, and finished the regular season as the Stallions’ leading rusher (401 yards on 102 carries). He had a nose for the end zone, hitting paydirt five times (more than any other Stallions’ running back or wide receiver). Marable was also the Stallions’ fourth leading receiver during the regular season, catching 20 passes for 161 yards (155 yards coming after the catch). Expect Marable to be the Stallions’ third-down, change-of-pace back in 2023.
The Stallions added one running back this offseason: ZaQuandre White. White (6’1, 215) is an intriguing add for the Stallions. His style of play falls somewhere between Scarbrough and Marable. He has size and is hard to bring down, but he’s not as overpowering a runner as Scarbrough. He also is agile, shifty, and has good hands, but he’s not quite as fast as Marable. If Scarbrough is the Stallions’ between-the-tackles workhorse and Marable is their third-down, change-of-pace back, I’d expect White to do a little bit of everything for the Stallions in relief of those two.
After starting out at Florida State, White spent his last two collegiate seasons at South Carolina. His senior year he was the Gamecocks’ second-leading rusher with 583 yards and two touchdowns on 88 carries. His 6.6 yards per carry tied for third-best in Gamecocks’ history. He also caught 19 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns. His five total touchdowns tied for most on the team in 2021. White was undrafted in 2022 but signed with the Dolphins. He was cut from their practice squad mid-season and later signed with the Stallions. The USFL will provide him an opportunity to show what he can do as a professional running back.
Bobby Holly, the Stallions lone fullback in 2022, returns for 2023. Holly, another one of Coach Holtz’s players from Louisiana Tech, was primarily a blocking back in 2022, but he had some massive offensive plays when the Stallions needed him. In the regular season, he had a 52-yard touchdown run on a fake punt against the Maulers to give the Stallions a second-half lead. In the USFL Championship, he had a clutch, remarkably athletic 25-yard reception. Expect Holly to continue to be a key part of the Stallions’ offense in 2023 as both a blocker and playmaker.
The Stallions had the second-best rushing attack in 2022, and I don’t expect this year to be any different. The Stallions’ running back room is arguably its strongest offensive unit heading into the season. Bo Scarbrough will get his first full USFL season and is expected to be dominant for the Stallions. C. J. Marable is good enough to be a starting running back in the USFL, and he will provide a great one-two punch alongside Scarbrough. Throw new addition ZaQuandre White into the mix and you have a lethal three-headed monster. With fullback Bobby Holly leading the way, steamrolling defenders, and opening up holes, expect a potent rushing attack for the Stallions in 2023.
One thing that will be fun to watch in particular is how the Stallions continue to utilize their signature T formation. Opposing defenses found it nearly impossible to stop in 2022. Now, with Scarbrough and White likely flanking either side of Holly, the Stallions downhill rushing attack will have almost 700 pounds coming out of the backfield. Will defensive coordinators be able to adjust after a long offseason and stop the T in 2023? I wish them luck.