Deep Hornet backfield aims to dominate

Brycen Alleyne

Mike Waters

DOVER — The Delaware State football team’s best position last season is even deeper for 2017.

Not only do the Hornets return their top two rushers, but the backfield gets a boost because Nyfease West is now healthy.

West sat out all of the 2016 season with a knee injury. He had to watch from the sideline as the Hornets went winless.

Brycen Alleyne and Mike Waters provided some of the few bright spots for Delaware State during that losing streak. Both running backs finished in the top-five in the MEAC in rushing.

The addition of West just makes that unit more dangerous.

“I feel like we got the best backfield in the conference,” Alleyne said. “No one can compete with us in the backfield.”

Brycen Alleyne takes a handoff from Keenan Black on the first day of Delaware State football camp. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

“Me and Mike are All-Conference players, then you add Nyfease,” Alleyne added. “That’s a big plus for us. There’s more that we can do now. We got a lot of different ways of getting our playmakers the ball.”

West tore his LCL in the first week of preseason camp last season. He wasn’t able to practice again until the Hornets hit the field this spring.

It robbed him of what was supposed to be his freshman year, yet he was able to redshirt and maintain his freshman eligibility for 2017.

“It was a hard process, to be honest,” West said. “You’re kind of like a baby because you have learn how to walk before you can run. When you’re running you’re going to have pain here and there. In spring ball my knee was kind of bothering me just a little but I’m 100 percent now and hope to have an impact on the field to help get some wins this year.”

Seeing what Alleyne and Waters were able to do last year just motivated West even more to make an impact this season.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this,” West said. “Our backfield is so competitive. You see Brycen do something, then you want to one-up him. Then Mike does something and you want to one-up him.”

And each running back brings something to the table.

Alleyne, the most experienced as a junior, is 5-foot-6 and is known as the shifty running back who can also line up in the slot. Waters, a sophomore, packs more power and set a DSU freshman record with 820 rushing yards last season.

West describes himself as a combination of the two who is adept at catching passes out of the backfield.

“Brycen can juke you out of your shoes and Mike can just power over you,” West said. “Me, I like to run people over too and catch the ball out of the backfield. We all complement each other.”

Waters was a All-MEAC third team selection a year ago and was the MEAC’s third leading rusher at 74.5 yards per game. Alleyne wasn’t too far behind him at 58.4 per game, good for fifth in the conference.

Alleyne was also third on the team in receptions with 28.

That gives third-year coach Kenny Carter a lot of options on offense.

“I love all three of those guys,” Carter said. “They will all be very productive players and we’re going to play them all. There will be times all three can be on the field at the same time. There’s no limitations on what we can do offensively.

“The thing that makes those guys so dynamic is you can line them up at wide receiver and they’ll run routes as good as receivers. That’s a godsend right there to have that kind of skillset.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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