In what will be a continuing series from now until the bowl game, wherever and whenever that is, we’ll be reviewing some articles written during fall camp about some of the Panthers leading into the just-finished 2016 regular season.
Let’s take a look at our wonderful fullback rsSO George Aston. The article written about him earlier can be found here. So take a minute and review his history over the 2015 season, his first taste of D1 college ball.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Aston is that he has two more years of eligibility for us. With the distinct possibility of Conner departing for the NFL I think you have to look at Aston’s return as a key point in our future offense going into the 2017 season.
It isn’t that he blocks so well for other running backs, although he certainly does that. It is more that he is an integral part of the offense on his own as his stats will bear out. If you remember his break-out game was against Louisville last year where he scored two TDs. That was the last game we won last year and it was a hard-fought win to get.
He didn’t get any carries but had two receptions – both that went for TDs.
This year he’s hit the trifecta for a FB in his blocking (superb) his rushing (effective) and his receiving (surprisingly great). Let’s take a look at what he did out on the field of play:
His yards per carry average isn’t that great at 3.5 however scoring five TDs on 21 carries is very productive. But it is his receiving skills that our OC Matt Canada has used so well in putting points on the scoreboard.
Twenty catches for 162 yards and 4 TDs – an average of 8.1 ypc is effective as hell. Most of those came on swing out passes to the flat as you would suspect but we saw the shovel-pass twist put into the offense and Aston, along with our TE Scott Orndoff, have been the main targets for that successful play.
His nine TDs on the year so far ties him for 2nd place with WR Jester Weah… of course both trail RB James Conner’s 20.
Folks – if you want to see the real dynamic change to our offense Matt Canada brings then look no further that what he has done in leveraging George Aston’s talents into points.
A real startling comparison for Aston’s production is to look at our other heralded FBs at Pitt. Henry Hynoski scored a total of two (2) TDs while a Panther; Lousaka Polite had a total of six. So far in his short two-year career span Aston has 11 with six through the air and five on the ground.
That will rise and may even make huge jumps if we see him in a Conner-less backfield. The kid is a true player. He does the unheralded tasks with no complaints and shares in the glory with his scores without arrogance.
The future is bright with Pitt football overall I think, and this is one position I won’t worry one bit about over the next two seasons.