Bryant’s Beehive: Bryant Rates Top 10 FCS Draft Eligible RB’s
October 28th, 2010 By De'Angelo Bryant
FAST is a four letter acronym I use to evaluate RB’s when I scout. As I discuss each of my picks, this word will give you a better understanding of my choices for this week’s Bryant’s Beehive. Before I start here’s a brief breakdown of the meaning of the word FAST.
F- Fast to and through the whole
A- Abilities & Attributes (agile, powerful, size etc.)
#1 Mark Ingram, Alabama, Jr.
The 2009 Heisman Trophy Winner is a powerful runner between the tackles. In my opinion I believe he’s one of the best, if not the most patient runner in college football. Although splitting time with Trent Richardson has reduced his carries, Ingram manages to remain the workhorse of a physical Alabama football team. Ingram’s short compact build allows him to hide behind the line and run through tackles on a consistent basis. Best of all this is a guy who takes care of the football and keeps the chain moving with his powerful lower body.
#2 Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State, Sr.
The more I watch Hunter the more I begin to notice the explosion he has as a runner. Hunter struggled to get on track during his junior season after missing 5 games during the regular season. This season a healthy Hunter has over 100 yards rushing in every game this season, except for one. He also ranks 3rd in the nation in rushing this season. When he is healthy, he averages nearly 6.4 yards per carry throughout his carrier.
#3 DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma, Sr.
Even with the repeated injuries, it was hard for me to keep him out of my top three choices. Murray is an electrifying player that is a homerun threat anytime he touches the football. Because of his versatility he will be able to add many dimensions to an NFL offense. Murray’s ability to attack the perimeter as a runner and receiver is arguably the best in this year’s draft. He won’t be a featured back in the NFL, but he will provide mismatches against safeties and linebackers in the passing game.
#4 Daniel Thomas, Kansas State, Sr.
This may be this year’s most underrated back in the draft. Thomas led the Big 12 in rushing last season and is currently on track to match his 1,200 yard total from a year ago. He’s a big back with a quick burst through the LOS to reach the second and third level at top end speed. Despite his upright running style, Thomas displays pure athleticism as a ball carrier. Don’t be surprised if you hear the former JUCO RB's name called often on Sundays.
#5 Noel Devine, West Virginia, Sr.
Of course there are bigger RB’s out there to choose from, but none with the heart and skills of the shifty Floridian. Devine may be the shiftiest runner in tight spaces when eluding defenders. At times he has even resembled his idle Barry Sanders. For those of you who always like to bring up size, pound for pound he is one of the strongest players on the West Virginia roster.
#6 Shane Vereen, California, Jr.
Coach Jeff Tedford does a better job of any coach in the nation at finding stud football players at the RB position. This season Vereen is finally the featured back for the Cal Bears, after filling in and splitting time with current Detroit Lions RB Jahvid Best. Vereen has rare stop and start ability to go along with tremendous hip torque to make defenders miss. J.J. Arrington, Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, and Jahvid Best are all current NFL RB’s from Cal. Will Shane Vereen be the next great Cal RB to join this list?
#7 Jordan Todman, Connecticut, Jr.
Despite splitting time with Andre Dixon last season, Todman managed to eclipse 1,000 yards for the Huskies. Under the hard-nosed tutelage of Coach Randy Edsall, Todman has become Mr. Reliable for the Huskies' offense this season. He currently ranks 5th on the FCS level averaging 140.1 rushing yards per game. He runs a lot bigger than he is listed and has the durability to withstand 25 plus touches a game. In addition, he is an excellent kick returner, averaging 25.6 career yards per return. Todman is on his way to another 1,000 yard season and could find himself following in the footsteps of former UConn RB Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts).
#8 Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State, Jr.
No back in among this list carries the swagger this 5’7, 191 pound back has. In each game this season he has totted the mail 18 plus times with multiple touchdowns in 3 games. Rodgers plays in a pro style system, which allows him to make the NFL runs you see on Sundays. When watching him, notice the footwork he has to gain yardage by making the first tackler absorb contact. With brother James out for the remainder of the season, look for Rodgers to elevate his game even more.
#9 Roy Helu Jr., Nebraska, Sr.
Helu is a strong back that hits the hole with authority, despite playing in a more zone-option read offense. While he won’t dazzle you with his speed, Helu could be a good change of pace back at the next level.
#10 Delone Carter, Syracuse, Sr.
Carter has been my secret of the year. Syracuse gets little, if any recognition, so if you’ve never heard of him I understand. Similar to Mark Ingram, Carter has a compact build and runs with authority in between the tackles. I like Carter for one simple reason; he knows how to get yards after contact. The one thing scouts will question is the dislocated hip he suffered prior to the 2007 season.
Shaun Draughn, North Carolina, Sr.
Armando Allen, Notre Dame, Sr.
Montel Harris, Boston College, Jr.
Evan Royster, Penn State, Sr.
Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech, Sr.
Jeff Demps, Florida, Jr.
On the Rise
Bilal Powell, Louisville, Sr.
Jay Finley, Baylor, Sr.
Daniel Herron, Ohio State, Jr.
LaMichael James, Oregon, R-So.
Washaun Ealey, Georgia, So.
Dion Lewis, Pitt, So.
Benard Pierce, Temple, So.
Andre Ellington, Clemson, R-So.
Ryan Williams, Va. Tech, R-So.
Trent Richardson, Alabama, So.
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