It is hard to overstate the overflowing presence of talented running backs in college football right now. With the current landscape, it is easy for backs to somehow go unnoticed while bigger names run rampant on a weekly basis.
One of the names that slipped under the radar this season was Michigan State’s LJ Scott. The 6’1”, 229 junior had a solid season in 2016 despite Michigan State’s down year; rushing for just under 1,000 yards at 5.4 yards per carry and six touchdowns. There were big expectations for Scott going into his draft eligible season, but he started relatively slowly.
The first four weeks of the season featured only one game where Scott eclipsed 20 total touches and he never rushed for over 100 yards in any of those games. After missing Michigan State’s game against Michigan, LJ Scott was all but out of the conversation among top running back prospects in the country.
Scott has re-entered the conversation.
Against Minnesota last week, the massive power back rushed 25 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns. According to PFF, Scott forced ten missed tackles and picked up over 90 yards after contact. Most amazing was Scott’s consistency. Averaging a whopping 7.8 yards per carry, Scott’s longest run was 33 yards; suggesting that he was picking up big chunks with every carry and that his numbers weren't inflated by a 50+ yard breakaway.
Scott’s performance exhibits his ability as a true battering ram type of running back with incredible size, power and attitude. This was truly a breakout for Scott and more games like this will have people forgetting Scott’s slow start to the season.
Other performances of note
- James Washington, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State: In an absolute thrashing of Baylor, James Washington averaged nearly FORTY yards per catch on six catches (235 yards) and scored two touchdowns. On the season, Washington is averaging almost 26 yards per catch and has scored six touchdowns on only 34 catches. That is insane production for the senior receiver.
- Michael Gallup, Wide Receiver, Colorado State: Michael Gallup is quietly leading the country in receiving this season and is averaging an impressive 16.1 yards per catch on 59 catches. Gallup dominated Nevada last weekend with a 13 catch, 263 yard, three touchdown performance and the Rams needed every one of those catches in a 44-42 victory over the Wolf Pack. Gallup is a very solid receiver and continuing to put up eye popping numbers is going to put a lot of NFL people on notice.
- Duke Dawson, Cornerback, Florida: While Texas A&M was able to squeak by the Gators on Saturday, Duke Dawson did everything he could to limit the Aggies and their explosive offense. Dawson allowed only one catch on seven targets, knocked away two passes and added in a tackle for a loss. A&M tried to exploit the middle of the field and attack the Florida slot cornerback but he did a great job all game.