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Missouri Western running back Shamar Griffith rushes with the ball during spring practice at Spratt Stadium.

What came to be one of the top groups in all of the country figures to yet again be a staple for the Missouri Western offense.

The second year under offensive coordinator Dave Brown will center on a run-pass option around a new starting quarterback and a stable of running backs.

Western must replace their top two rushers in James Bailey Jr., who left the team this offseason, and quarterback Dom Marino.

The Griffons have all the confidence in Shamar Griffith, a junior coming off a season where he rushed for 665 yards and four touchdowns. He finished the season with 970 all-purpose yards.

Griffith averaged nearly 6.5 yards per carry a season ago, highlighted by an eight-carry, 119-yard day at Missouri Souther. He rushed for a season-long carry of 86 yards in the contest.

His average of 55 yards per game ranked 13th in the MIAA, with his yards-per-carry ranking second in the MIAA.

Griffith also ran for 400 yards during his All-MIAA freshman season, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

Along with whoever laces up as the starting quarterback, the Griffons will also welcome in a pair of graduate transfers that figure to make an immediate impact.

Deron Thompson, a Wichita Northwest grad who most recently attended Kansas, ran for 102 yards on seven carries last season for the Jayhawks. He played in 10 games as a junior after transferring in from Colorado State. He was once a top-10 player among Kansas high schoolers.

The Griffons also add Markel Smith from Vianney High School in St. Louis. He played in 11 games at Illinois State last season, rushed for 562 yards on 93 carries with four touchdowns, averaging 6 yards per carry. Smith originally played at Central Missouri in 2015, rushing for 913 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Griffons will also roster junior Travon Harris from Scottsdale Community College, St. Louis University High School redshirt freshman Jared Scott and Odessa freshman Jonas Bennett.

Brandon Zenner can be reached

at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.