Carlos Hyde*, RB, Ohio State
Height: 5-11. Weight: 230. 40 Time: 4.66. Projected Round (2014): 1-2. 4/5/14: The powerful Hyde is a one-cut downhill runner who can pick up yards after contact. He looks like he has the burst and the quickness to hit the hole before it closes in the NFL. Hyde has a lot of power and can run over, or through, defensive backs in the open field. He is a first-round talent who may slip to Day 2 because of the devaluing of the running back position. Some teams are grading Hyde as a first, while others are giving him a second-round grade.
Hyde was suspended for the first three games of the 2013 season. After returning to the lineup for the Buckeyes, he ran over the Big Ten. Hyde had huge games against Northwestern (26-168), Iowa (24-149) and Purdue (16-147). Against Illinois, he was completely dominant. Hyde totaled 247 yards on 24 carries with four touchdowns on the ground. As a receiver, he had two receptions for 26 yards and a score.
Hyde didn't look slow in his final collegiate season. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry for 1,521 yards with 15 touchdowns. Hyde also had 16 receptions for 147 yards and three scores through the air. He has nice receiving ability for a big back.
8/3/13: Hyde was bumped down the rankings some because of off-the-field issues. He was a named a person of interest in a reported assault of a woman at a Columbus bar, but police have stated that Hyde won't be charged with a crime. Head coach Urban Meyer had suspended Hyde from all team activities, but one can safety assume that Hyde will be reinstated. It remains to be seen if Ohio State will suspend him from any games to open the season for this brush up. The incident will still start up off-the-field questions with NFL scouts.
Hyde is a big, downhill, power back. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2012. Hyde is a good short-yardage and goal-line back, but may not have enough speed for the next level. He is very tough to bring down and constantly runs through tackles. For the NFL, Hyde should trim down to get quicker.
Personal: Majoring in criminology. Son of Dermida Hyde and Carlos Britton.
Jeremy Hill**, RB, LSU
Height: 6-0. Weight: 233. 40 Time: 4.66. Projected Round (2014): 2-3. 4/5/14: WalterFootball.com knows some teams rate Hill as the top back in the 2014 NFL Draft. There were a lot of tough questions about his off-the-field issues and sources said that he interviewed extremely well at the Combine.
Hill looks like he has the potential to be an impact starting back in the NFL and could have three-down potential. He has a unique skill set and could be nice value pick on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Hill can be a dominant runner. He was the best of a talented group of running backs for LSU over the past two seasons. Hill has the size of a power runner, but also has a burst to the hole and the second level of the defense. His quickness differentiated him from the Tigers' other big backs and led to him being the team's featured runner for 2013. When Hill gets into the open field, he can run away from defenders.
Hill averaged 6.9 yards per carry in 2013 for 1,401 yards with 16 touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 181 yards. As a freshman the year before, Hill ran for 755 yards with 12 touchdowns and 5.3 yards per carry.
Personal: Hill has some off-the-field red flags. At the end of high school, he was charged with misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a 14-year old girl and also had a simple battery charge for a bar fight in April of 2013.
Tre Mason*, RB, Auburn
Height: 5-8. Weight: 207. 40 Time: 4.50. Projected Round (2014): 2-3. 4/5/14: Mason performed well at the Combine with speed and agility. Sources have told WalterFootball.com that they have Mason as the third-rated back in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Auburn made it to the National Championship Game in large part because of Mason. He had monster performances against Alabama (29-164-1) and Missouri (46-304-4). Mason showed real speed to break off long runs. He also runs with excellent body lean and pad level to pick up yards after contact.
In 2013, Mason averaged 5.7 yards per carry for 1,816 yards with 23 touchdowns. He also had 12 receptions for 163 yards. Mason turned in a huge game against Texas A&M (27-178) to lead Auburn to a road upset. He also played well against LSU and Georgia. Mason has showed a nice mix of quickness, cutting ability and vision. He has nose for the end zone.
8/3/13: Mason was one of the few bright spots in Auburn's dismal 2012 season. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry on his way to 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns. Mason is a smaller back and may not have the size to be a feature back in the NFL.
Personal: Majoring in business. Son of Vincent and Tina Mason.
Bishop Sankey*, RB, Washington
Height: 5-9. Weight: 209. 40 Time: 4.49. Projected Round (2014): 2-3. 4/5/14: Sankey was one of the best backs in college football in 2013. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry on the year for 1,775 yards with 18 touchdowns. The junior also tracked down 25 receptions for 298 yards and another score. Sankey ran really well against Stanford and Oregon, though he did have a fumble against the Ducks. Sankey is a tough back who has excellent balance, vision, cutting ability and can pick up yards after contact.
At the Combine, Sankey ran faster than expected and looked good in the receiving drills. He had a strong performance to help his draft stock. Sources have said that they have Sankey as their fourth-rated back.
8/3/13: The Huskies didn't have the 2012 season they had hoped to have, but Sankey was the bright spot as he had an excellent year replacing Chris Polk as the feature back. Sankey averaged five yards per carry and totaled 1,439 yards with 16 touchdowns in 2012. He also caught 33 passes for 249 yards. Sankey ended the season in impressive fashion with 205 yards on 30 carries against Boise State. The toughest defense he saw all season was Stanford, yet he gained 144 yards on 20 carries.
Sankey is a well-balanced runner. He has quickness, strength, toughness and receiving ability. If Sankey can add some weight, it would help his draft stock.
Lache Seastrunk*, RB, Baylor
Height: 5-9. Weight: 201. 40 Time: 4.51. Projected Round (2014): 2-3. 4/5/14: Seastrunk was slower than expected at the Combine by a large margin, but did really well in the receiving drills. He ran fluid routes and displayed nice hands. Teams have told WalterFootball.com that they expect Seastrunk to go on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Seastrunk started the 2013 season on fire before cooling down. He ran for 1,117 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 158 carries (7.4 average). The junior was injured against Oklahoma and missed the games against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The big question around Seastrunk will be his receiving skills as he didn't have a single reception in 2013.
Seastrunk had 156 yards and a touchdown on only 10 carries against Louisiana-Monroe. Even though he only played the first half against Buffalo, he totaled 150 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns. Seastrunk ran for 172 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns against West Virginia. He had some highlight-reel runs running over defensive backs and accelerating away from other defenders.
8/3/13: Seastrunk finished the 2012 season in impressive fashion with 843 yards across the final six games. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry for the year and totaled 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns. Seastrunk ran over some tough opponents including Kansas State (19-185), Oklahoma State (16-178) and UCLA (16-139).
The past two seasons the Bears have lost good passing quarterbacks in Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence along with receivers Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams. Seastrunk should be the focal point of Baylor's offense in 2013 and looks poised for a massive season. He has stated that his goal is to win the Heisman Trophy this year.
Seastrunk is an intriguing runner with size and speed. He has nice cutting ability and a real burst to break off long runs. Seastrunk needs to avoid the tendency to dance around and run more downhill. Originally, he signed with Oregon and redshirted as a freshman in 2010. Seastrunk sat out 2011 after transferring to Baylor.
Personal: Majoring in general studies. Son of Evelyn Seastrunk.
Ka'Deem Carey*, RB, Arizona
Height: 5-9. Weight: 207. 40 Time: 4.70. Projected Round (2014): 2-4. 4/5/14: Carey was suspended for the first game of the 2013 season, but was red hot after returning to the lineup. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry on the year for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns. Carey also caught 26 passes for 173 yards and a score.
The junior exceeded 100 yards rushing in every game in 2013 - excluding that week he was suspended - with a 232-yard total against Utah. Carey recorded 132 yards on 30 carries against Washington and scored four touchdowns against Colorado. His most impressive performance was 206 yards on 48 carries and four touchdowns versus Oregon.
Carey is a quick, slashing back who routinely rips off yards in big chunks. If he were a little bigger and didn't have off-the-field concerns, he would be a higher draft pick. Carey hurt his draft stock with a disappointing Combine performance.
8/3/13: Carey took college football by storm in 2012 as he led the nation in rushing with 1,929 yards and an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Carey scored 23 touchdowns on the ground. He hauled in 36 receptions for 303 yards and a score, too.
Carey ran for 425 yards and six touchdowns with 15 receptions for 203 yards and two scores in 2011. The freshman was just used as a backup
Carey is a slasher who has nice quickness and a burst to get into the second level. While he isn't a big back, he has some physicality to him and can pick up yards after contact. Carey had a number of big runs after breaking a tackle in the first 10 yards. He isn't a burner back, so defensive backs can catch him from behind.
If Carey can add 10-20 pounds while maintaining his speed, it could help his draft stock.
Personal: Son of Tisha and Jack Carey.
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Colorado State
Height: 5-9. Weight: 212. 40 Time: 4.67. Projected Round (2014): 3-4. 4/5/14: Bibbs had an excellent season for Colorado State as he showed good speed and some strength. Bibbs averaged 6.2 yards per carry for 1,741 yards with 31 touchdowns on the ground. He only had eight receptions for 59 yards. The Chicago product is still somewhat raw as he only played the 2013 season in major college football. Before Colorado State, Bibbs played two seasons of junior college football.
Personal: Majoring in ethnic studies. Son of Keith Bibbs and Stacey Griffin.
Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
Height: 6-0. Weight: 214. 40 Time: 4.48. Projected Round (2014): 3-4. 4/5/14: Sims had a strong week at the Senior Bowl and followed it up by running surprisingly fast at the Combine. He illustrated that he is a well-rounded back who runs well, yet can block, receive and even be able to contribute on special teams. Sims has quickness and is a physical runner. He could be a nice value pick.
Sims played well for West Virginia in 2013 with an average of 5.3 yards per carry for 1,095 yards with 11 touchdowns on 208 carries. As a receiver, he had 45 receptions for 401 yards and three scores.
After playing well at Houston, Sims transferred to West Virginia before the 2013 season. The senior didn't have to sit a season due to having completed his undergraduate degree.
Sims averaged six yards per carry for the Cougars in 2012 as he ran for 851 yards with 11 touchdowns on 142 carries. The junior also caught 37 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns. He ran for 821 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011 and 698 yards with nine scores as a freshman in 2009.
Devonta Freeman*, RB, Florida State
Height: 5-8. Weight: 206. 40 Time: 4.58. Projected Round (2014): 3-4. 4/5/14: Freeman ran for 1,016 yards on 173 carries with 14 touchdowns this year. He had 22 catches for 278 yards and a score, too. Freeman was the Seminoles' most consistent back in a stable of tough runners. He is a quick back who also has some strength to him. Freeman was solid at the Combine, and WalterFootball.com knows some teams are big fans of Freeman.
8/3/13: Freeman was the second-leading rusher for the Seminoles with 660 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Freeman took over as the starting running back after Chris Thompson went out for the season. Freeman is a quick back with some strength.
Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford
Height: 5-11. Weight: 220. 40 Time: 4.49. Projected Round (2014): 3-5. 4/5/14: Gaffney was a backup in 2009-2011 before getting his opportunity to be the starter in 2013. With Stepfan Taylor in the NFL, Gaffney was the featured back for the Cardinal. With a superb offensive line in front of him, he carried Stanford's running-based offense. Gaffney ran for 1,709 yards on 330 carries for the second-best single-season total in school history. He ran for 21 touchdowns as part of that. Through the air, he caught 15 passes for 86 yards and a score.
Gaffney is a tough, physical runner who picks up yards after contact. He has some quickness to him, but isn't a speed back.
Personal: Gaffney sat out the 2012 season as he played minor league baseball.
Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Height: 5-11. Weight: 230. 40 Time: 4.56. Projected Round (2014): 3-5. 4/5/14: Williams ran pretty well at the Combine, but had a horrible performance in the receiving drills. It was clear why Willams had zero receptions in 2013. He lumbered with poor route-running and dropped passes. It really hurt his cause to be seen as more than a situational back.
Williams put an exclamation mark on his tremendous senior season with a record-settting game on senior day. He ran for 339 yards on 42 carries with two touchdowns against N.C. State. That set a Boston College single-game record. In 2013, Williams averaged 6.1 yards per carry for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Williams was a backup running back during his first three seasons. He ran for 584 yards in 2012, 517 yards in 2011 and 461 yards in 2010.
Personal: Son of Lancelene and Ervin Williams.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
Height: 5-9. Weight: 209. 40 Time: 4.41. Projected Round (2014): 3-5. 4/5/14: McKinnon was tremendous at the Combine. He led the running backs in the bench press with 32 reps while also flying in the other tests. McKinnon was second among the running backs to only Kent State's Dri Archer in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.41 seconds. McKinnon tied Archer for the fastest 10-yard split at 1.46 seconds. In the field drills, McKinnon continued to impress as he ran well in the change of directions and looked good in the receiving drills. He really helped his cause as a mid-round pick.
McKinnon played quarterback in college, but will move to running back in the NFL. He ran for 1,050 yards as a senior with 12 touchdowns in 2013. McKinnon had 125 yards on nine attempts against Florida to help lead Georgia Southern to a legendary upset.
McKinnon was very impressive as a runner at the Senior Bowl. He used his speed to rip off some long runs and has a real burst out of the backfield. McKinnon also is put together well with the strength to get yards after contact. He is a sleeper back who could be this year's Alfred Morris or Zac Stacy. However, some sources feel that McKinnon really isn't a natural runner after playing quarterback and will need development.
Terrance West, RB, Towson
Height: 5-9. Weight: 225. 40 Time: 4.54. Projected Round (2014): 3-5. 4/5/14: At the Combine, West had a solid performance. He is coming off a massive 2013 season with 2,509 yards and 42 touchdowns. That broke records in the Football Championship Series subdivision (Division I-AA). Towson totaled 86 touchdowns and 4,584 yards as a team for the year.
In 2011 as a freshman, West ran for 1,294 yards with an average of 6.7 yards per carry. He totaled 1,046 yards in 2012 for an average of 5.4 yards per carry. In those two seasons, West had only 10 receptions.
Personal: Majoring in sports management. Son of Onika West.
Lorenzo Taliaferra, RB, Coastal Carolina
Height: 6-0. Weight: 229. 40 Time: 4.58. Projected Round (2014): 3-5. 4/5/14: There were a lot of scouts who were impressed with Taliaferra at the Senior Bowl. He showed some blocking potential in the blitz-protection drills and also ran the ball well in practice.
Taliaferra rewrote Coastal Carolina's record books in 2013 as he averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 1,729 yards with 27 touchdowns. The senior also had 23 receptions for 153 yards and two scores. Taliaferra didn't play much as a junior after coming over from junior college. A lot of teams are intrigued with Taliaferra's size, power and quickness.
Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State
Height: 6-0. Weight: 208. Projected 40 Time: 4.53. Projected Round (2014): 4-6. 4/5/14: Grice ran for 996 yards (5.2 average) and 14 touchdowns in 2013. He also did some serious damage through the air by catching 50 receptions for 438 yards and six touchdowns. Grice could be the best receiving back in the 2014 draft class. A late-season injury kept him out of the Holiday Bowl and the Senior Bowl. Grice went to the Combine, but didn't do the field work.
8/3/13: Some have said that Grice is a Heisman Trophy darkhorse entering the 2013 season and that seems unreasonable. The Sun Devils used multiple backs last season and Grice ran for 679 yards on 103 carries with 11 touchdowns. He was a junior college standout before going to Arizona State.
James White, RB, Wisconsin
Height: 5-9. Weight: 204. 40 Time: 4.57. Projected Round (2014): 5-6. 4/5/14: White ran for 1,444 yards on 221 carries with 13 touchdowns in 2013. Also, he hauled in 39 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. White was overshadowed by Melvin Gordon, but finished the year well. White also had a quality performance at the Senior Bowl and really stood out well with his blocking in the blitz protection one-on-ones.
8/3/13: White would be a starter for most programs, but at Wisconsin, he spent the past three seasons as the secondary back behind Montee Ball, White should be the starting back for the Badgers in 2013 since Ball was drafted by the Broncos.
White ran for 806 yards and averaged 6.4 yards per carry with 12 touchdowns last year. The sophomore ran for 713 yards and six touchdowns in 2011, which was definitely less production than in 2010. He ran for 1,052 yards with 14 touchdowns, averaging 6.7 yards per carry as part of a running back rotation while a freshman.
White has 26 receptions for 238 yards in his career. He has also contributed to the Badgers as a kick returner, but averaged only 20 yards per return. Like Ball, White also needs to prove that he could be more than a system back.
Personal: Son of Tyrone and Lisa White. Related to Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss and Giants wide out Sinorice Moss.
Antonio Andrews, RB, Western Kentucky
Height: 5-10. Weight: 225. 40 Time: 4.82. Projected Round (2014): 5-6. 4/5/14: Andrews was extremely productive for Western Kentucky during the past two seasons. The senior averaged 6.5 yards per carry in 2013 for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. The previous year, he ran for 1,684 yards with 11 touchdowns (5.5 average). Andrews also showed that he has receiving ability with 41 catches for 478 yards in 2013 and 37 receptions for 432 yards and three touchdowns the season before.
Andrews had some ball-security issues in college. He was solid at the Senior Bowl, but was a disappointment at the Combine.
Alfred Blue*, RB, LSU
Height: 6-2. Weight: 223. 40 Time: 4.63. Projected Round (2014):54-6. 4/5/14: Blue rotated into the game behind Jeremy Hill. Blue had 343 yards in 2013 with an average of 4.8 yards per carry and a touchdown. He caught five passes for 62 yards, too. Blue decided to enter the 2014 NFL Draft even though he was granted a fifth year of eligibility, and with Hill coming out, Blue could have been LSU's featured runner.
8/3/13: The LSU Tigers have had a running back-by-committee approach that makes it tough for any one back to stand out. He won the competition to be the starting running back for the 2012 season. Blue only played in three gamesm but ran for 270 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries. He suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss the rest of the year. Blue ran for 539 yards on 78 carries with seven touchdowns in 2011.
Personal: Majoring in sports administration. Son of Alfred Blue, Jr. and Erica Clement.
LaDarius Perkins, RB, Mississippi State
Height: 5-7. Weight: 195. 40 Time: 4.46. Projected Round (2014): 4-6. 4/5/14: Perkins was unable to get going in 2013 as teams sold out to stop the ground game. He had 495 yards on 124 carries with an average of 4.0 yards per carry and two touchdowns. Perkins notched 26 receptions for 238 yards and two touchdowns, too. He was solid, but unspectacular, at the East-West Shrine. Perkins had a good performance at the Combine.
8/3/13: Perkins had a quality 2012 season, running for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging five yards per carry. The junior also caught 19 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He was the change-of-pace back in 2011 for the powerful Vick Ballard. Perkins ran for 422 yards on 87 carries. He is a smaller and quick back who could be a rotational back in the NFL.
Personal: Son of Robert and Vanessa Perkins.
Henry Josey*, RB, Missouri
Height: 5-8. Weight: 194. 40 Time: 4.43. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: In 2013, Josey averaged 6.7 yards per carry with 16 touchdowns and 1,166 yards on the ground. He had 10 catches for 65 yards and a score. Josey showed more signs of his old form in the final month of the season and had 123 yards on nine carries in the SEC Championship. He likely would have benefited from another year at Missouri before going pro, but Josey entered the 2014 NFL Draft.
Size and durability concerns knock Josey down lower, but he has some talent. Josey showed some real speed at the Combine, but his medical evaluations were as critical as the field work. If Josey were bigger and didn't have a bad medical history, he would be selected higher.
8/3/13: Josey did not play football for Missouri in 2012, but returned to contact practices in the spring of 2013. He was one of the best running backs in the Big XII in 2011 before he had had his knee devastated versus Texas, coming away with a torn ACL, a torn MCL, torn cartilages, a torn meniscus and a torn patellar tendon. All that required three separate surgeries to repair. Josey ran for 1,168 yards and averaged 8.1 yards per carry with nine touchdowns in only eight starts in his shortened season.
Personal: Grandson of Thomas and Eula Josey.
Storm Johnson, RB, Central Florida
Height: 6-0. Weight: 209. 40 Time: 4.60. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: Johnson was a productive back who combined with quarterback Blake Bortles to lead Central Florida to a one-loss season. Johnson averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2013 for 1,139 yards with 14 touchdowns. The junior had 30 receptions for 260 yards and three scores, too. He Johnson was a backup in 2012 and racked up 507 yards and four scores.
Johnson has a nice skill set with some strength, quickness and receiving ability. A big knock on him is fumbles as he put the ball on the ground a lot in 2013. That looks like a big issue that is hurting Johnson with teams.
Personal: Majored in interpersonal/organizational communication. Son of Wes and Dione Johnson.
Isaiah Crowell*, RB, Alabama State
Height: 5-11. Weight: 224. 40 Time: 4.57. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: Crowell ran for 814 yards on 112 carries with 12 touchdowns in 2013. He entered the 2014 NFL Draft, but could have benefited by returning to school and putting together another clean year before going pro. Crowell has had some nice buzz about him in recent weeks.
8/3/13: Crowell ran for 842 yards and 15 touchdowns on 159 carries (5.3 yards per carry) last year at Alabama State. He caught 11 passes for 95 yards, too.
Crowell couldn't stay out of trouble enough to survive at Georgia. He was twice suspended and finally kicked off the team due to weapons charges that were eventually dismissed.
Crowell was a highly touted recruit for the Bulldogs and played extremely well as a true freshman. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, running for 850 yards (4.6 average) and five touchdowns, while dealing with some injuries. The junior knows he can't afford to get in any more trouble if he wants a shot at the NFL.
James Wilder, Jr.*, RB, Florida State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 232. 40 Time: 4.86. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: The power back ran for 563 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013 while averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Wilder had three receptions for 27 yards, too. He lost some carries to Karlos Williams and Devonta Freeman. Wilder also missed the game against N.C. State because of a concussion.
Both Williams and Freeman are more dynamic runners than Wilder. He runs too upright and does not have a good pad level. That could lead to injuries and ball-security issues in the NFL as Wilder will take a lot of hits. It made sense for him to enter the 2014 NFL Draft because he probably would lose even more carries to Williams and other backs next season.
Wilder had an ugly performance at the Combine as he was extremely slow and continued to show a lack of body lean when running with the ball.
8/3/13: Wilder is a big back who has some quickness. The sophomore ran for 635 yards in 2012, while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He also showed some receiving ability with 19 receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Wilder is a downhill runner who can move a pile. He figures to see more carries as a junior in a backfield tandem with Devonta Freeman since a number of the Seminoles' players have moved on.
Personal: Son of former Buccaneers running back James Wilder.
De'Anthony Thomas*, RB, Oregon
Height: 5-8. Weight: 174. 40 Time: 4.50. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: At the Combine, Thomas ran slower than expected. He had his final season get off to strong start against some weak opponents before an ankle injury knocked him out for four games. After coming back to the field, Oregon had already transitioned to other backs, so Thomas became a forgotten man. He had only three carries in the Alamo Bowl against Texas.
The injury won't help the durability concerns that come with Thomas being such an undersized player. In 2013, he had only 96 carries for 594 yards and eight touchdowns. The junior had 22 receptions for 246 yards and a score, too. Thomas lost a critical fumble against Stanford. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Utah. Thomas would have been better off returning for his senior season.
8/3/13: Obviously every season is big, but this is a huge year for Thomas. He finally has the opportunity to be the lead back for Oregon now that LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner are in the NFL. Thomas has the glaring size concern, so he has to show durability in 2012. There have been running backs his size who have had NFL careers, Warrick Dunn for example, but they are few and far between. There definitely will be talk of moving Thomas to slot receiver in the NFL, but he could be used in a variety of ways.
Thomas ran for 701 yards (7.6 average) and 11 touchdowns in 2012. He also caught 45 passes for 455 yards and five scores. Thomas also handled kicks, averaging 24 yards per kick return and 17 yards per punt return. He took back both a kick and a punt for a touchdown.
Thomas is perhaps the fastest player in college football entering the 2013 season. He actually earned his way into playing time as a true freshman even with the Ducks having experienced play-makers like James and Barner. Though Thomas only received 55 carries in 2011, but he averaged 10.8 yards per carry and totaled 595 yards with seven touchdowns. Thomas was also used as a wide receiver. He hauled in 46 passes for 605 yards and nine touchdowns. Thomas got in on kick returns, too, averaging 27 yards per return and taking two back for touchdowns.
There is no doubt that Thomas is an electric play-maker who is a threat to score on any touch. If the junior was bigger, he would be sure fire first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Personal: Communications major. Son of Anthony Thomas and Gaylian Dupree.
James Sims, RB, Kansas
Height: 6-0. Weight: 202. Projected 40 Time: 4.59. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: Even though Sims was a 4-year contributor, he has gone under the radar. Kansas has had a rough stretch of losing, and that didn't help Sims to get noticed. He had solid seasons as a freshman (742 yards, 9 touchdowns) and sophomore (727 yards, 9 touchdowns).
As a junior, Sims was the featured runner for Charlie Weis and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. He totaled 1,013 yards with nine touchdowns. Sims' best season came as a senior when he averaged 4.8 yards per carry for 1,110 yards with seven touchdowns. Sims also had 25 receptions for 166 yards. He has some size and quickness. Sims could be a sleeper back who ends up a nice value.
Darrin Reaves, RB, UAB
Height: 5-10. Weight: 210. Projected 40 Time: 4.53. Projected Round (2014): 6-7. 4/5/14: Reaves had two solid seasons for UAB and decided to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. In 2013, the junior rushed for 928 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry. As a sophomore, he totaled 1,037 yards with 13 touchdowns and 4.8 yards per rush. Reaves' receiving ability will work in his favor as he caught 41 passes for 302 yards with a score and 29 receptions for 294 yards and two scores in 2012. Reaves did not participate in the Combine.
Personal: Majored in liberal arts. Son of Crystal and Darrin Reaves.
Raijun Neal, RB, Tennessee
Height: 5-11. Weight: 212. Projected 40 Time: 4.60. Projected Round (2014): 6-7. 4/5/14: Neal played well for Tennessee in 2013. He carried the offense, including a huge game against Georgia (28-148). Neal averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 1,124 yards with 12 touchdowns on the ground. He snagged 27 receptions for 108 yards as a receiver as well. Neal ran for 741 yards in 2012 with an average of 4.5 yards per carry with five scores. He caught 19 passes for 149 yards and four touchdowns.
Neal is a physical runner with some quickness and good feet. He impressed scouts at the East-West Shrine and could be a nice sleeper back. Neal did not attend the Combine.
Personal: Majoring in sociology. Son of Kovondria and Ant Neal.
George Atkinson III*, RB, Notre Dame
Height: 6-1. Weight: 218. 40 Time: 4.48. Projected Round (2014): 6-7. 4/5/14: Considering Atkinson never was the featured runner at Notre Dame, he was a surprise entry into the 2014 NFL Draft. 2013 was Atkinson's most productive season as the junior took 93 carries for 555 yards and three touchdowns. He was suspended from the Pinstripe Bowl for tweeting during a team dinner. Atkinson is a good returner, and that could be his entry way onto an NFL roster. As a backup in 2012, he ran for 261 yards and five scores.
Atkinson was a star of the Combine with a fast 40 time. He has good size and athleticism.
Personal: Son of George Atkinson and Michelle Martin. His father was a star cornerback for the Raiders in the 1960s and 1970s.
Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma
Height: 5-11. Weight: 222. 40 Time: 4.45. Projected Round (2014): 6-FA. 4/5/14: Williams recorded only 114 carries in 2013, but averaged 4.9 yards per carry on his way to 553 yards and seven touchdowns. He had nine receptions for 90 yards. At the Combine, Williams was very fast and looked good in the drills. He could be a sleeper back worth a late pick.
8/3/13: Williams had a quality junior year, running for 946 yards and 11 touchdowns with an average of 5.7 yards per carry. He also showed some nice receiving ability with 29 receptions for 301 yards and a touchdown.
Williams has a nice combination of quickness, elusiveness and size. He also is a patient runner and does a nice job of setting up his blocks. With Landry Jones and Kenny Stills in the NFL, Williams could be the focal point of the Oklahoma offense in 2013. If the senior can stay healthy, he could have a huge season.
Jerome Smith*, RB, Syracuse
Height: 5-11. Weight: 220. 40 Time: 4.84. Projected Round (2014): 6-FA. 4/5/14: Smith was a bruising back for Syracuse the past two seasons. He ran for 914 yards with an average of 4.6 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns in 2013. Smith had slightly better production as a sophomore in 2012, but he also had a better supporting cast. Smith ran for 1,171 yards with three scores and an average of 5.2 yards per carry as Ryan Nassib helped provide better run fronts.
Smith is a physical runner, but his serious lack of speed could limit him to being a backup or rotational back in the NFL. In watching him in college, it was obvious that Smith is slow. That was confirmed with a dreadful 40 time at the Combine.
Silas Redd, RB, USC
Height: 5-10. Weight: 212. 40 Time: 4.70. Projected Round (2014): 7-FA. 4/5/14: Redd had a disappointing Combine with a very slow 40 time. He had a minor procedure on his left knee just before the start of the 2013 season that caused him to miss the first five games. After returning to the lineup, Redd ran for 376 yards on 81 carries with a touchdown and 10 receptions for 45 yards. He played well against Notre Dame (19-112). Redd had a knee injury against California and was held out against Stanford and Colorado. He played against UCLA in the regular-season finale before missing the bowl game against Fresno State.
8/3/13: Redd averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2012, collecting 905 yards and nine touchdowns. The Nittany Lions transfer was solid for the Trojans, but made the right decision to return for his senior season.
Redd saw his first playing time for Penn State as a freshman in 2010, backing up Evan Royster. Redd ran for 437 yards and two touchdowns. He had an excellent 2011 season for Penn State. Redd totaled 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns with an average of 5.1 yards. He only caught nine passes for 40 yards.
With Penn State sunk by the Sandusky scandal, Redd transfered to USC. He has a decent team around him and should produce a solid senior season especially with the departure of Curtis McNeal. As a runner, Redd combines nice quickness with elusiveness and the strength to break tackles. The Trojans' West Coast offense looks like a nice fit for him, assuming he has more receiving skills than were evident with the Nittany Lions.
Personal: Son of Silas and Yvonne Redd.
Glasco Martin, RB, Baylor
Height: 6-1. Weight: 220. Projected 40 Time: 4.60. Projected Round (2014): 7-FA. 4/5/14: Martin ran for 509 yards on 120 carries (4.2 average) with seven touchdowns in 2013. He was slow to get back into the groove after coming back from a broken ankle he sustained in Spring 2013. Martin was starting to put some good games together this season when he suffered a leg injury against Oklahoma. That caused him miss the game against Oklahoma State. Martin did not attend the Combine.
8/3/13: The Bears have a tough one-two combination with Martin and Seastrunk. Martin didn't play very much his first three seasons at Baylor before breaking out in 2012. He ran for 889 yards and 15 touchdowns last year, while averaging five yards per carry. Martin is not a receiving back as he has only two receptions in his career. With Seastrunk providing the speed, Martin is a downhill, power runner who can pound the ball between the tackles.
Personal: Majoring in speech communication. Son of Glasco, III and Lavernita Martin.
Roderick McDowell, RB, Clemson
Height: 5-10. Weight: 200. Projected 40 Time: 4.50. Projected Round (2014): FA. 4/5/14: McDowell did not participate in the Combine. He waited patiently behind Andre Ellington and was Clemson's featured running back in 2013. McDowell had an impressive performance to open the season against Georgia. The senior ran for 132 yards on 22 carries against the Bulldogs. He suffered an ankle injury versus Wake Forest.
McDowell ran for 1,025 yards in 2013 with an average of 5.4 yards per carry with five touchdowns. He had 29 catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns as well. McDowell ran for 450 yards on 83 carries with five touchdowns in 2012.
Personal: McDowell has graduated with a degree in sociology.
Ben Malena, RB, Texas A&M
Height: 5-8. Weight: 195. Projected 40 Time: 4.54. Projected Round (2014): FA. 4/5/14: Malena did not work out at the Combine. The Aggies spread their rushing attempts around, but Malena had 551 yards on the ground in 2013 with an average of 4.8 yards per carry and 10 touchdowns. He snagged 21 passes for 190 yards and a score as well. Malena was decent at the East-West Shrine, but he wasn't overly impressive.
8/3/13: When Christine Michael got in the doghouse of new coach Kevin Sumlin last year, the Aggies turned to Malena to be their primary back. Johnny Manziel led Texas A&M in rushing, but Malena ran for 808 yards with eight touchdowns. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry, plus made 18 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Malena is a quick back who has some explosiveness. He is a short back, but is built compactly. Malena has some ability, but needs to become a better blocker to be trusted as a third-down back in college or the NFL.
Personal: Undecided major. Son of Renee and Ben Malena.
John Hubert, RB, Kansas State
Height: 5-7. Weight: 191. Projected 40 Time: 4.54. Projected Round (2014): FA. 4/5/14: Hubert did not participate in the Combine. He rushed for 1,048 yards with an average of 5.3 yards per carry and 10 touchdowns in 2013. The senior caught 13 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown as well.
8/3/13: Hubert earned First-Team All-Big XII honors from the coaches in the conference last year. While Collin Klein got all the headlines, Hubert came up huge for Kansas State. He ran for 947 yards with 15 touchdowns in 2012, averaging five yards per carry. The junior caught 18 passes for 98 yards and a score as well.
Hubert ran for 970 yards and three touchdowns in 2011 on 200 carries. He caught 24 passes for 188 yards and a score, too. The Wildcats will lean heavily on Hubert to help replace the production they received from Klein.
Personal: Son of Jabbar Lindsey and Tamara Hubert. John Hubert is the cousin of 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox.