Shavers is going to have to carry the load at the running back position this year. Ralph Bolden is recovering from another ACL tear and Purdue saw the transfers of Doug Gentry and Reggie Pegram. Akeem Hunt is the only other running back with experience, but it was sparingly in blow outs and the bowl game. Last year Shavers rushed for 519 yards on 111 carries and also had 58 receiving yards on 5 receptions. He only had one touchdown. That was mostly the result of Purdue utilizing their fullbacks in goal line situations.
Shavers definitely is up to the challenge of taking over. He has said multiple times he is ready to be the featured back. It will be the first time in awhile that Purdue is going to have one running back get the majority of the carries. With Shavers being a combo-back(good average of speed and power), you can expect to see him in the back field with Hunt in 2 running back sets. Also, with Rob Henry expected to see some time in a variety of ways, Antavian Edison lining up in the back field, and even just Hunt back there by himself, expect to see Shavers split out to the slot wide receiver position in some packages.
It will be crucial that Shavers has a good season. Other things will need to work out for that to happen though. The offensive line needs to improve while breaking in a bunch of new starters. The quarterback(s) and wide receivers also need to get the passing game going. Last year you saw teams just focusing on the run since the passing game was almost non-existent.
By the end of last year was when Shavers was really starting to come on as a play making running back. Maybe it was a coincidence it happened when Bolden went down with an injury or he was just better utilized. He could be one of those players who is more confident knowing that they will be getting most of the playing time.
6) Akeem Shavers