Perhaps the most exciting contributor to the 2020 season, RB Jahmyr Gibbs is back for his sophomore season! Gibbs was hugely impressive as a freshman and earned himself a lot of national attention. If you didn’t expect him to be on our Impact Players list then you must be living under a rock.
Gibbs played in seven games in 2020, missing the final two due to an injury. In just those seven he amassed 460 rushing yards (5.2 yards/carry), 303 receiving yards (12.6 yards/catch), and 7 total touchdowns. He also managed to add 205 total kick return yards (25.6 per over 8 attempts). On an offense with more than its fair share of rushing talent (Jeff Sims, Jamious Griffin, Dontae Smith, Jordan Mason), Gibbs set himself apart as one of the most exciting players we’ve seen in recent years. He was explosive and deadly with the ball in his hands, breaking for a 25+ yard run or catch in nearly every game he played. He was electric to watch and dependable down after down. In particular his presence in the passing game was highly valuable; he had a great ability to find open spaces and his ball skills were fantastic for a running back. He was a big reason we could play with tempo. If there was any consistency on offense in 2020 it was because of Gibbs - there was a noticeable difference when he left the field.
His efforts landed him third in voting for ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year and fifth for ACC Rookie of the Year.
Looking to 2021
We’re still quite deep at the RB position but Gibbs should maintain his status as the featured back in 2021. I would expect him to get somewhere around 15 carries and 3-4 catches per game. To me one of the big unknowns this season will be how much Jeff Sims runs the ball; If Sims is more confident as a passer then some of his designed runs may be given to Gibbs. No matter how it shakes out I think a 1000 rushing yard season with 12 TDs is achievable. You can also be sure that he’ll continue to be involved in the passing game as well - I’m looking for 400 yards and a few TDs.
However it happens, Gibbs deserves everyone’s attention when he gets the ball. Look for him to be the pace setter and the big play maker in the 2021 season.