Vanhorse emerging as contributor in JMU backfield

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Redshirt freshman Solomon Vanhorse led James Madison in rushing during the Dukes' season opener at West Virginia.

Redshirt freshman running back Solomon Vanhorse led JMU in rushing with 55 yards on 12 attempts while scoring the Dukes' only touchdown in the season opener at West Virginia.

Vanhorse gained 55 yards on 12 carries and scored JMU's lone touchdown of the game on a nine-yard TD run in the first quarter. Vanhorse shared carries in the backfield with Percy Agyei-Obese, Jawon Hamilton, and Austin Douglas.

For Vanhorse, it was his first meaningful action in a JMU jersey. He redshirted in 2018 before emerging as a standout performer during the 2019 spring season.

"He's a really strong guy pound-for-pound," said JMU head coach Curt Cignetti, when describing Vanhorse. "He leveled a safety from West Virginia in the third quarter of the game, that was a big guy. He's super quick, great cutting ability. He's just has really great instinct for the game."

Vanhorse, who is listed on the JMU roster at 5'7", 177 pounds is a quick, shifty runner who is not afraid to play physically. His football pedigree is also strong, with his father Sean playing seven years in the NFL with the Lions, Chargers, and Vikings.

"I know I am a small player but I know I am quicker than others so that helps me," said Vanhorse.

Dukes working to figure out running back rotation
Vanhorse and his backfield mates all saw significant action in Saturday's game at West Virginia. Four different players appeared at running back with each carrying the ball at least five times.

With 12 attempts, Vanhorse led the way while Agyei-Obese and Hamilton each had eight carries and Douglas earned five rushing attempts.

"I think it will always be a rotation," said Cignetti. "At least a two-man rotation. Because I have given the running back the ball 43, 42, 41 times before. I don't like to do that because generally when you do that, they are really sore that next week and eventually it catches up to them."

"You're always going to split the carries, at least between two guys and most of the time between three."

The Dukes return to action Saturday evening when JMU hosts Saint Francis in the home opener. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Bridgeforth Stadium.