One of the San Francisco 49ers position groups with the most intrigue around it is the running backs.
The reasoning for the interest level is not hard to discern.
For the past 10 seasons, fans knew who would be the team's featured 'back. That is not the case in 2015 after Frank Gore, the franchise's all-time leading rusher, left via free agency to Indianapolis.
Now, many believe that the team will use a committee of running backs to shoulder the load. And while players like Jarryd Hayne, Mike Davis and Kendall Gaskins figure to be in the mix, there are three ball-carriers who reporters and analysts alike predict will receive the majority of the carries.
Those would be Pierre Garçon, Kendall Hunter and Reggie Bush.
The person responsible for leading the stable of running backs is veteran coach Tom Rathman, who spoke to 49ers.com on Thursday after the team wrapped up its three-day minicamp.
"Certain players do certain things better than other players, so we're going to try to maximize our potential with our players and put them in a position to win," Rathman said. "But I would say that they're all well-rounded. I'd like to think that they're all every down players.
"That's what we're trying to develop here. We don't want to try to pigeon anybody and say, 'You're only a third-down 'back.' I don't believe in that. If you come to play football, you come to play every down."
Below are Rathman's thoughts on each of the 49ers three running backs who are tentatively in line to lead the rushing attack when the season begins. REGGIE BUSH
Notes:Bush signed a one-year deal with the 49ers on March 18 after spending the previous two seasons with the Detroit Lions. The 30-year-old is active leader in receptions by a running back with 466 in nine NFL seasons. This offseason, Bush has taken reps in both the punt and kick return games.
Rathman quote:"He looks dynamic out there. He's got some creativity as a football player. We're very fortunate to have him on our team, and we're looking for big things from him. He's moving around really good, and I think he wants to show that he's explosive."
Notes:* *After suffering an ACL injury at the beginning of training camp last year, Hunter missed the entire 2014 season. He is back now, and by all accounts has looked as strong and fast as ever. In 2013, Hunter carried the ball 78 times for 358 yards and three touchdowns. He owns a career yard-per-carry average of 4.6.
Rathman quote:* *"If you could say you want your group to look like one guy, I'd say I want my guys to look like Kendall Hunter. I want my guys to approach the game like Kendall Hunter. He's a professional football player. He gives great effort and is very talented and dynamic. He's got everything that you're looking for. The bottom line with him is he's had a couple tough years with injuries that have put him behind the eight-ball. But the time is now for him."
Notes:The team's second-round pick out of Ohio State in 2014, Hyde turned in an impressive rookie campaign playing behind Gore. The downhill runner amassed 333 yards and four touchdowns on 83 attempts. Hyde dealt with a leg injury early this offseason but was a full participant in minicamp.
Rathman quote:* *"I think he's taken a little more ownership of his position, even though nothing has been set as far as who's going to be our starter. All those guys are going to play because they're all very talented and have the ability to be that guy. But Carlos is doing really well. He's picked up right where he left off, so I'm excited to see him get out there and get to work."
Enjoy some of the most memorable images of the San Francisco 49ers running back from his two seasons in the Bay Area.