Thursday, May 1, 2008

Looking Back at Class of 2003...Running Backs

Full Schedule by Position

Five Star RB's

1. Reggie Bush, USC - What needs to be said about him that isn't already well known?? Walter Camp Award? Check. Doak Walker Award? Check. Heisman Memorial Trophy? Check. Unanimous 1st Team All-American? Check. BCS National Championship? Check. 1st Round Draft Pick? Check. If you need more info...check out one of the many sites dedicated to the man.

2. Kregg Lumpkin, Georgia - Blowing out his knee in practice after his freshman year, Lumpkin had a nice season in Athens in 2006 when he started 9 games and ran for 798 yds and 6 TD's. However, he served mostly as a backup during his time with the Dawgs and was quickly passed on the depth chart by Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown on the 2007 depth chart. After going undrafted, Lumpkin signed on with the Green Bay Packers earlier this week.

3. Demetrius Summers, South Carolina - Summers had a great freshman season for the Gamecocks. However, positive drug tests lead to his dismissal from the team before the 2005 season. As indicated in the above link, he surfaced at a Dallas Cowboys mini-camp in 2006 but never made the team. Only bit of info I've found since is an arrest from August 2007.

Four Star RB's

4. Alley Broussard, LSU - This is an interesting one. Broussard spent 4 years at Baton Rouge and played a signifcant backup role to Joseph Addai and Justin Vincent. However, he chose to leave LSU before his senior season because his "heart was no longer in it." At the time he indicated that he would finish up his degree at LSU. However, he ended up transferring to Div II Missouri Southern State University. He showed up at LSU's Pro Day, went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft, and I haven't been able to determine if anybody picked him up. I've seen mentions that the Colts, Bengals, and Saints were all considering him but nothing confirmed.

5. Tyrone Moss, Miami - He started as a true freshman for the U and was a nice change of pace back for Frank Gore his first two years. His breakout year as the feature back in 2005 was cut short by a knee injury vs Virginia Tech but Moss was still named 1st-team All-ACC. He struggled to return to his old form in 2006 and saw limited playing time as a backup to Javarris James. Undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, Moss attended the rookie minicamp of the Cleveland Browns but was cut shortly thereafter. It looks like his professional playing days are over.

6. Darrell Blackman, NC State - Despite showing up in Raleigh as a highly touted running back, Blackman made his mark as a return specialist. He earned recognition on multiple All-ACC, and All-American lists for his accolades on special teams. By 2007 he had fully transitioned from the backfield to wide receiver and he tied for the team lead in receptions. Blackman went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but has signed on the with Detroit Lions, who are likely considering him for a spot on special teams.

7. Lynell Hamilton, San Diego St. - Hamilton started out with a bang for the Aztecs, having the best freshman season in school history since Marshall Faulk and earning multiple Freshman All-American accolades. However, broken ankles, torn rotator cuffs, and damaged knees slowed him down over the rest of his career and he was eventually transitioned into a part-time fullback role. He signed with the New Orleans Saints earlier today and will attend their rookie minicamp.

8. Chauncey Washington, USC - Signing with the Trojans as one of three blue chip RB's (Reggie Bush and Lendale White being the others), Washington was quickly the odd man out. Multiple ankle injuries derailed him only 2 games into the 2003 season. He was ruled academically ineliglble in 2004...and again in 2005. The second academic suspension cost him his athletic scholarship but CW stayed at Southern Cal and regained his scholarship before the 2006 season. However, he was hit by the injury bug again in August practice and didn't return to his starting spot until the middle of the season. Injuries hampered him again in 2007 but he performed well when on the field and, combined with a 4.35 40 at the USC Pro Day, it was enough to earn a 7th round selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2008 NFL Draft.

9. LenDale White, USC - White had an impact as the perfect compliment to Reggie Bush from the time they stepped foot on the field in 2003. He quietly lead the team in rushing his first two seasons and was a 2005 All-American running back. He set a school record with 52 rushing touchdowns over his 3 year career. He parlayed his success at Southern Cal into a 2nd round pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL Draft. He received limited carries in his rookie season before rushing for 1,100 yds and 7 TD's in 2007.

10. Barrington Edwards, LSU - Edwards saw limited playing time for the Tigers as part of their 2003 National Championship team. He chose to transfer to UNC after the season and sat out the 2004 year. He shared time with 2 other backs during the 05 and 06 seasons, running for less than 400 yards both years. He was suspended indefinitely from the team before 2007 spring practice and did not return in the fall.

11. Erik Hardeman, Texas - Showed up at the Forty Acres and never saw the field. He became academically ineligble during his redshirt year and was arrested with 20 grams of cocaine and $3,774 in his pockets shortly before Texas left for the 2005 BCS National Championship game.

12. Jason Evans, Stanford - Evans,who could safely be given the bust label, never started a game for the Cardinal. In 4 years he tallied 381 rushing yards as a reserve running back. He was also the team's kickoff return specialist with a career long return of 35 yards. Yeah...that's just depressing.

13. Cornell Johnson, unsigned - As the lack of school indicates...Johnson never committed to a school. He held out for an offer from OU that never came. He then planned to choose between UNLV and Oregon State but nothing ever materialized. He spent the 2003 season at Alfred State, a JUCO in New York. While there he set the school's single season rushing record. He then played for 1-AA Indiana State in 2004. They don't show any stats for him in the 2005 season but he declared for the 2006 NFL Draft. It doesn't appear that anything materialized for him though.

14. Brian Dennison, NC State - I can't find anything that shows where he actually showed up in Raleigh, NC. ESPN reflects that his name was tied to Bethune-Cookman at one point but it doesn't indicate a year nor does it show any game stats for Dennison.

15. Jerome Jackson, Michigan - Jackson served primarily as a backup running back for the Wolverines. He appeared in 35 games as the backup to Mike Hart. His career high was 105 yds vs Northwestern in a 2005 game. He received the Brandstatter/Beckmann Award that's given to the player that "best demonstrates passion, dedication and commitment to the team." He went undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft but was picked up by the Cleveland Browns. He spent the 2007 season the injured reserve list.

16. Skyler Thornton, Florida - Thornton spent a few years in Gainesville but rarely saw the field for the Gators. He was none too happy about it and made his feelings known to anybody that would listen. Eventually, he left the team and transferred to Valdosta State for the 2006 season. He was listed as a fringe NFL prospect but doesn't appear to have ever caught on with a team.

17. Andre Callender, Boston College - One could make the case that Callender should be listed as a dual-threat back. His first 3 seasons, he accumulated 1978 yds rushing (4.6/carry) and 497 yds receiving (8 yds/catch). Callender had a breakout year in 2007 with 989 yds rushing, 720 yds receiving and 13 total TD's.

18. Laurence Maroney, Minnesota - Maroney split time with Marion Barber III (now of the Dallas Cowboys) to form one of the best rushing tandems in college football. Upon Barber's departure to the NFL, Maroney stepped into the lead role in 2005 and again rushed for over 1000 yards. He is only the 3rd RB in Big 10 history to rush for 1000+ yards in each of his first 3 seasons. On the heels of his success as a Golden Gopher, Maroney declared for the 2006 NFL Draft and was taken in the first round by the New England Patriots. He split time with Corey Dillon during his rookie season before becoming the feature back in 2007.

19. Austin Scott, Penn State - Serving primarily as a backup when he wasn't injured, Scott got the starting nod for the 2007 season. However, Paterno kicked him off the team in early October and he was charged with rape and sexual assault shortly thereafter. Scott's case was scheduled to start on April 16th. However, the talent that he showed early in his career was enough to earn him an invite to the Cleveland Browns minicamp this weekend.

Other RB's of Note

22. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech - A very good RB for Georgia Tech, Tashard etched his name all over the record books for the Yellow Jackets. He set school records for most 100 yd rushing games, most consecutive 100 yd rushing games, and most rushing attempts in a season. Choice has many other career numbers in the Top 5 in school history. His performance in college caught the eye of the Dallas Cowboys and they picked him up in the 4th round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

The Tech Factor

Sione Havili - Came to Texas Tech as a RB but made the transition to LB and served primarily on special teams. After the the 2004 season, Havili transferred to Weber State for more playing time. In the summer of 2005, he filed a lawsuit against the University of Utah due to him not being allowed to tryout for the team in 2002. He claimed that he was not allowed to tryout because he was a convicted felon who spent a year in jail for arson in 1999.

edit - Here's an opinion piece I found speaking out against Havili's lawsuit. I'm still searching but have yet to find the outcome of the lawsuit. I might have to have the fiancee look it up in Westlaw or some other online law database that she can access.

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