Colts.com takes a closer look at the 38 running backs invited to this year’s NFL Combine. The 2013 combine takes place Indianapolis and begins on Feb. 20, spanning six days. The running backs invited are as followed:
Running Backs (38)
*Indicates eligibility remaining
C.J. Anderson – California
-Trying to follow in the footsteps of former Cal running back Mashawn Lynch, Anderson is built in the same mold as the Seahawks Pro Bowl back. Anderson played two seasons for the Golden Bears, finishing his career with 1,135 rushing yards.
Montee Ball – Wisconsin
-Big Ten fans are very familiar with the Doak Walker Award winning (nation’s top running back) Ball. During his four seasons in Madison, Ball set an NCAA record with 83 career touchdowns. Ball became Wisconsin’s feature back during the final four games of his sophomore season and reached stardom behind back-to-back 1,800+ yard and 30+ touchdown seasons in 2011 and 2012.
Kenjon Barner – Oregon
-Barner was a key component in an electric Ducks attack, scoring 50 touchdowns via four different ways during his time in Eugene. After 49ers running back LaMichael James left for the NFL last season, Barner emerged in 2012 highlighted by a 38-carry, 321-yard, five-touchdown performance against USC.
*Le’Veon Bell – Michigan State
-The bruising Bell made the most out of his lone scholarship offer from a BCS school. This past season, Bell was in the Heisman race early on in the season thanks to games of 210 and 253 yards during the first month of the season.
*Giovani Bernard – North Carolina
-Bernard is looking to continue the tradition of professional athletes to graduate from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After tearing his ACL in 2010, Bernard started his final two seasons in Chapel Hill, earning All-ACC honors both years. Bernard finished 2012 with an average of 198.1 all-purpose yards per game including leading the nation in punt return average.
Tommy Bohanon – Wake Forest-A Senior Bowl invitee, Bohanon is a true fullback prospect at 247 pounds. During his four-year career with the Demon Deacons, Bohanon carried the ball just 50 times but did haul in 23 catches for five touchdowns in 2012.
Zach Boren – Ohio State
-Boren will enter the combine as a fullback but he showed his versatility in 2012, splitting time at linebacker during the Big Ten campaign. Boren had at least seven tackles in five of seven Big Ten contests, to go along with his blocking duties on an undefeated Buckeyes squad.
Rex Burkhead – Nebraska
-Burkhead bounced back form a sprained knee in the season opener to play the final eight games of 2012, helping Nebraska to the Big Ten Championship game. While finishing among the most productive runners in program history, Burkhead also excelled away from the gridiron by earning Academic-All America honors in 2011 and 2012.
*Knile Davis – Arkansas
-Arkansas has produced a pair of NFL backs in Felix Jones and Darren McFadden over the past few years and Davis is hoping to continue that tradition. Davis was a first team All-SEC running back in 2010 but a knee injury in August of 2011 forced him to miss all of his junior season. Davis had 377 rushing yards in 2012.
Andre Ellington – Clemson
-The speedy Ellington averaged over 5.0 yards per carry in each of his four seasons with the Tigers. In his final three seasons, Ellington earned All-ACC honors and his senior season began with a 25-carry, 228-yard performance in a 26-19 win over Auburn.
*Michael Ford – LSU
-Ford leaves LSU with a year of eligibility remaining after being apart of a talented, and crowded, Tigers backfield. Ford brings an element to the return game and he is hoping to continue LSU’s tradition of running backs finding a niche in the NFL.
Johnathan Franklin – UCLA
-A Doak Walker Award finalist, Franklin finished his time at UCLA as the program’s all-time leading rusher (4,403) yards. In 2012, Franklin found himself under Heisman consideration with 214- and 217-yard games to start the season. Franklin ran 19 times for 194 yards in the 2012 Pac-12 Championship.
Mike Gillislee – Florida
-Behind a 1,152-yard senior season, Gillislee became the first Gators running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since the 2004 season. Gillislee was Florida’s feature back in 2012 and had 146- and 140-yard games against LSU and Florida State respectively.
Ray Graham – Pittsburgh
-Graham ran for at least 922 yards in each of his final three seasons with the Panthers. He also excels out of the backfield, catching 98 passes during his four-year career. This past season Graham had four 100-yard rushing games including a 172-yard effort against Notre Dame.
D.J. Harper – Boise State
-While former Broncos Doug Martin was erupting for one of the finest rookie seasons by a running back in NFL history, Harper was back in Boise grinding out a 1,000-yard season. Harper had six 100-yard games last year in his first full season as the feature back for the Broncos.
Montel Harris – Temple
-Harris completed his career at Temple after a pair of 1,000-yard seasons with the Boston College Eagles. Harris was the leading rusher in the Big East this season but his biggest output came from a 36-carry, 351-yard effort in a 63-32 victory over Army.
Mike James – Miam
-In his first full season as Miami’s starting running back, James accounted for 984 total yards. At 222 pounds, James also saw time at fullback during his career and he was named to the 2012 AFCA Allstate Good Works Team.
*Jawan Jamison – Rutgers
-The five-foot-eight-inch, 200-pound Jamison looks up to former Scarlet Knights running back and Super Bowl XLVII winning running back Ray Rice. Jamison has been Rutgers feature back the last two seasons and began his final campaign with seven 100-yard games in the first eight contests.
*Stefphon Jefferson – Nevada
-While Colin Kapernick was the focal point of Nevada’s offense during Jefferson’s first two seasons with the Wolf Pack, this past year was all about the man lining up behind the quarterback of the pistol offense. Johnson finished the 2012 season second in the nation with 1,883 rushing yards.
*Eddie Lacy – Alabama
-Lacy played his best football at the end of the season with 131-, 181-, and 140-yard performances against Auburn, Georgia and Notre Dame. Lacy leaves Alabama with a year of eligibility remaining but is hoping to follow the path of Trent Richardson, the 2012 AFC’s leading rookie rusher.
*Marcus Lattimore – South Carolina
-Lattimore busted onto the college football scene back in 2010, racking up a 1,197-yard season as a true freshman. There is no denying Lattimore’s talent, but he is coming off a devastating knee injury suffered on Oct. 27. Lattimore will have his medical records handy in meeting with NFL personnel at the combine.
Zach Line – SMU
-The versatile Line is hoping to find himself in the h-back role that many NFL teams have adopted. As a running back, Line rushed for over 1,200 yards in his final three seasons at SMU but at 230 pounds, he knows his role might have to change at the next level.
Miguel Maysonet – Stony Brook
-Maysonet finished his three seasons at Stony Brook with 4,727 rushing yards and finished runner-up for the FCS Walter-Camp Award that is given to the nation’s top player. Maysonet, a Puerto Rico native, had 158- and 220-yard games against Syracuse and Army respectively this past season.
Onterio McCalebb – Auburn
-The electric McCalebb left Auburn with a school record of 8.5 yards per carry set during the 2010 season. McCalebb can impact the game in special teams as well. He set a school record with a 27.9-yard kickoff return average.
Christine Michael – Texas A&M
-A heralded recruit coming out of Beaumont, Texas, Michael recovered from a tibia injury during his sophomore season. Michael was apart of a crowded Aggies backfield during his four-year career. This past season, Michael only had 88 carries (38 fewer than any other season) as Texas A&M’s offense was built around Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Lonnie Pryor – Florida St.
-Pryor was the lead blocker for a Seminoles offense that helped FSU to four straight bowl wins. The limelight was finally shown on Pryor with the fullback carrying the ball five times for 134 yards and a touchdown in FSU’s 31-10 Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois.
*Joseph Randle – Oklahoma St.
-Known for its potent passing attack, the Cowboys offense leaned on the running of Randle each of the past two seasons. The Kansas native, rushed for 1,200+ yards in his final two seasons in Stillwater, before foregoing his final year of eligibility to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
Theo Riddick – Notre Dame
-Riddick bounced between the receiver and running back position during his four seasons in South Bend. This past year, as the starting running back, Riddick ran for 917 yards and also caught 36 passes for 370 yards.
Robbie Rouse – Fresno St.
-The five-foot-seven-inch Rouse rushed for over 1,000 yards in three separate seasons with the Bulldogs. His talents extend to the receiving department as well, with Rouse hauling in 63 catches in 2012.
Zac Stacy – Vanderbilt
-Part of Vanderbilt’s resurgence, Stacy became the first Commodores running back to rush for consecutive 1,000+-yard seasons. Rouse finished his career with 3,143 rushing yards and a 5.4 average on 581 carries.
Stepfan Taylor – Stanford
-The reliable Taylor was counted on game after game in leading the Cardinal to three straight BCS bowls. During Taylor’s final three seasons in Palo Alto, he racked up 767 carries, 3,909 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Christopher Thompson – Florida St.
-The five-foot-eight-inch Thompson is rehabbing a knee injury he suffered in late October. Before the knee injury, Thompson had three 100+-yard games and was coming off a Chick-fil-A Bowl MVP following the 2011 season.
Matthew Tucker – Texas Christian
-During his four years in Fort Worth, Tucker was apart of a balanced Horned Frogs offense. Tucked carried the ball at least 105 times in each of his four years and never finished with fewer than 515 yards during a season.
*Spencer Ware – LSU
-Just like his teammate Ford, Ware also leaves Baton Rouge with a year of eligibility remaining. Ware only had 367 rushing yards in 2012 but showed an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield (18 catches for 230) yards during his final season at LSU.
Kerwynn Williams – Utah St.
-Williams comes into the combine off the best game of his career (18 carries for 235 yards) in the Aggies 41-15 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl’s victory over Toledo. Not only did Williams rush for 1,512 yards in 2012, but he also caught 45 passes for 697 yards.
Braden Wilson – Kansas St.
-At six-feet-four-inches and 256 pounds, Wilson is the biggest of all the fullbacks that will participate in the combine. Wilson only had 21 carries over his four seasons in Manhattan to go along with 18 receptions.
George Winn – Cincinnati
-Winn emerged in his senior season with 243 carries for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns. Cincinnati’s offense featured a balanced attack thanks to Winn’s six 100+-yard games in 2012.
*Cierre Wood – Notre Dame
-After a 1,102-yard season in 2011, Wood split time with Riddick in the backfield this season and averaged 6.5 yards per carry on 114 attempts. Wood leaves South Bend with a year of eligibility remaining after helping the Fighting Irish to an undefeated regular season.
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