We all know that the longer Running Backs stay in college, the more wear and tear they have on them, making them less valuable at the NFL level. Every carry, every hit a RB takes just shortens his career, which is a harsh reality for an important position. On occasion we see a player, mostly at RB, leave with two years of college eligibility left (redshirt junior), and you can blame the kid for doing it. It's exactly what Jawan Jamison from Rutgers did.
Jamison started both years while playing for the Scarlet Knights, rushing 486 times for 1976 yards (4.1 avg) in those two years, including 13 touchdowns. He also caught 36 passes out of the backfield (28 last season), making him a duel threat, much like another guy from Rutgers that won the Super Bowl for the Ravens last season, Ray Rice. Not to be outdone, he also threw a TD pass against Army. He was named second team All-Big East last season. Even though he only played two seasons, he had plenty of opportunities to show off his talent.
He is a bit undersized (5'7", 203 lbs), which means he has little chance to be an every down back, but there aren't many of those left in the NFL anyway. He can make guys miss in the open field, but he'll have to run behind an Offensive Line that can create holes for him, as he isn't the bruising type of RB. A key for Jamison will be whether he can pass protect, as being a potential third down back means he'll have to block a blitzer on several occasions throughout a game. If he can learn to pass protect well, he'll have a spot in the league.
Jamison is being projected in the 4th or 5th round, which was a good spot for a RB for the Colts a season ago (Vick Ballard). There's a good chance the Colts will be looking in that range once again this season, and Jamison would be a nice complement to Ballard, assuming he can pass block. He was a productive back at Rutgers, can catch the ball, and while being undersized, could play a key role on third downs, and potentially returning kicks. Don't be surprised if we hear Jamison's name being called by the Colts.
STRENGTHS: Versatile back who can provide production as a runner between the tackles and as a receiver out of the backfield. Elusive runner who isn't afraid of contact.
WEAKNESSES: While he has a tough mentality when running with the ball, Jamison is still undersized at 5-8, 200 pounds and likely lacks the bulk to be an every-down back in the NFL.
COMPARES TO: Ray Rice, RB, Ravens -- Jamison has a build -- and game -- similar to his fellow former Rutgers star, demonstrating the elusiveness expected of a back his size and the hard-running mentality of one much bigger.
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