After a long wait, Illinois State University football is back. Practice has started up and one key piece is missing: James Robinson.

Robinson is now the starting running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he has gotten off to a hot start. He is second in the NFL in rushing yards and averaging 4.9 yards per carry.

The question that everyone is asking is who is there to replace him? The player looking to take advantage of his expanded role is Jeff Proctor.

I believe that Proctor will do enough for this team. He is an explosive player who will make highlight plays. But, he will not be able to put up the numbers that Robinson did.

In his senior season, Robinson ran for 1,899 yards and averaged 126.6 yards per game. It is unfair to hold Proctor to these standards as he is replacing one of the best ISU players of all time, but he can impact the game in a different way than Robinson.

Robinson never really made an impact in the passing game, which is something that Proctor can do. In the 2019 season, Robinson only had 16 catches while in 11 games as Robinson’s backup, Proctor had five catches for 61 yards. Over a full healthy season and being the primary back, Proctor’s numbers will skyrocket.

Proctor will help out returning quarterback Brady Davis in the passing game. It is nice to have someone who you can rely on catching passes out of the backfield.

ISU relied heavily on Robinson. This season, they will have a more balanced attack and can rely on Proctor to maintain success on the ground and in the passing game.

Proctor is not going to be putting up the numbers that Robinson did. Robinson is second in ISU history in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, all-purpose yards and total touchdowns. Asking Proctor to put up those kinds of statistics is unrealistic. Proctor has his own unique skill set to make this team fun and exciting.

With Davis getting hurt, the ISU passing game really suffered. In the FCS quarter finals game ISU threw for just 38 yards. With ISU getting healthy for this 2020 season, they do not need Proctor to average 130 yards per game, but they do need the explosive plays.

Last season, ISU ranked last in the MVC in pass offense, something that Proctor can help with his pass catching ability. They also were bottom half of the conference in total offense on the season. ISU is going to need Proctor to help them with the home-run hitting plays if this offense wants to improve for next season.

Going into the past three seasons ISU knew who was going to help carry the offense. With Robinson gone, look for Proctor to be the star of the show.

ZACH STENGAL is a Sports Reporter for The Vidette. He can be contacted at zstange@ilstu.edu Follow him on Twitter at @StangelZach


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