YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State has had a thousand-yard rusher each of the last three seasons. This season, there are seven tailbacks on the roster all capable of doing it — five of which played high school football in the Valley.
That list includes senior tailback and South Range grad Joe Alessi.
“Obviously, the first thing on my mind is just winning,” Alessi said. “You know, as a team, I just want to win. But it’s definitely a goal of mine to rush for over a thousand yards. You know, I make a list of goals and that’s one of my goals, to get over a thousand yards for the season. But I’m just going to be happy if we all do good and get that national championship.”
“Every time we’ve called his number, he’s stepped up,” said YSU Head Coach Bo Pelini. “And this is his chance. He’s going to get a lot more carries. He’s going to get a lot more time and I think he’s going to have a big year.”
Alessi is the only senior in the backfield this season and he’s had plenty of success in a limited role, averaging nearly 13 yards per carry over the last three seasons.
Christian Turner has the most experience and the most reps. He’s racked up over 1,700 all-purpose yards over the last two years.
Junior London Pearson, Farrell native Braxton Chapman, Liberty grad Dra Rushton, Randy Smith from Austintown Fitch and true freshman Jason Santisi from Cardinal Mooney will add depth to one of the most talented backfields in the conference.
“That’s a lot of talent,” Pelini said. “Those are kids that can really help our football team and the competition is going to make them all better.”