Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:24 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 11:36 pm
Southern Illinois running back Jewel Hampton is taking advantage of a breakout 2011 campaign in which he led the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 17 touchdowns and 1,121 rushing yards to put his name into the NFL lottery.
The news was broken not by Hampton nor Southern Illinois but by a release from St.Vincent Sports Performance, a Pre-Combine Training group with which Hampton apparently will be working with in preparation for NFL testing. Hampton's name was among 15 prospects St. Vincent listed as having signed with the group for 2012. Most notable among were two other juniors -- former Oregon cornerback and return specialist Cliff Harris and San Diego State star running back Ronnie Hillman.
Hampton transferred to SIU 2011 after being a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes for the past three seasons. Hampton played very well as a true freshman for the Hawkeyes, emerging as Shonn Greene's primary backup and actually setting the school record for first year players with seven rushing touchdowns (along with 463 yards). Expected to take over for Greene in 2009, Hampton instead tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and took a medical redshirt. After a successful rehabilitation, Hampton once again appear poised to compete for big playing time for the Hawkeyes in 2010 but tragically suffered another torn ACL, this time to his left knee.
The loss of back to back seasons due to injury convinced Hampton that a change of scenery was best and he transferred to the Salukis.
He rushed for over 100 yards six times in 2011 and added 163 receiving yards to finish fourth in the MVFC in all-purpose yardage and was named the conference's Newcomer of the Year.
Hampton's path from BCS to FCS is hardly a new one. In fact, the last Saluki to be named the conference's Newcomer of the Year also transferred from a prominent BCS school.
Brandon Jacobs had played behind Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams at Auburn but elected to transfer for his senior season to get a greater opportunity at seeing the field. Jacobs, by comparison, ran for 992 yards and 19 scores for the Salukis in 2004. The New York Giants drafted him in the fourth round (No. 110 overall).
The 5-09, 210 pound Hampton is no Jacobs (6-4, 260) clone but does possess some of the skills to catch the attention of NFL scouts. Hampton is quick to the hole and shows good lateral agility. Due to his low center of gravity and determined running, Hampton is a surprisingly stout load to bring to the ground.
Hampton is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 29 running back in the 2013 class. Considering his injuries and the fact the running back class is shaping up to be 2012's deepest position, Hampton may only get late round or even free agent consideration. Jewel, however, does have enough shine to get an extended look.
Posted on: March 16, 2010 4:54 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2010 11:28 am
The belief among league insiders is that future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson signed with the New York Jets over the Minnesota Vikings because he thought he'd be able to get more carries playing with Shonn Greene than Adrian Peterson.
Sound thinking, probably.
However, the Jets might have another running back to add to the backfield if their choice of private visits is any indication.
Fresno State's Ryan Mathews told me the Jets and St. Louis Rams have invited him to come to their facilities for private meeting. Mathews told me this during our interview for his next journal entry for NFLDraftScout.com's Path to the Draft series.
Rams fans and running back Steven Jackson might be surprised by the news, as well.
Mathews also informed me that he'll be working out at tomorrow's Fresno State Pro Day despite the fact that he turned heads during the Combine with an impressive all-around performance. Mathews, who weighed in at 5-11, 219 pounds, was clocked at 4.45 in the 40-yard dash.
Mathews led the nation with an average of 150.67 yards per game in 2009.
NFLDraftScout.com rates him as the second best running back in the 2010 draft (behind Clemson's CJ Spiller) and a first round prospect.
I projected him to be selected by the San Diego Chargers with the 28th overall pick in my most recent mock draft.
Posted on: March 25, 2009 10:01 pm
Speaking to scouts who attended the recent Pro Days at Iowa (yesterday) and Connecticut (today), it is obvious that running backs Shonn Greene and Donald Brown are moving up the board at precisely the right time.
Brown, who, of course led the country in rushing yards last season, had been impressive at the Combine, putting forth one of the best all-around performances of any running back in Indianapolis.He chose to stick with his Combine numbers today, but was especially effective catching passes out of the backfield, scouts tell me, and may have secured his position as either the 2nd or 3rd running back off the board.
Greene, on the other hand, struggled a bit at the Combine and needed a strong performance at the Iowa Pro Day to rescue his stock. While in Indianapolis, the 5-10, 227 pounder was timed at 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He dropped a tenth of a second from that time Tuesday, clocking in at 4.50-4.55 seconds according to scouts in attendance. Greene, who measured in again at 227 pounds, also increased his vertical jump from 37 to 39" inches, showing more explosiveness than many have given him credit for.
I am not as high on either back as some seem to be. I believe that both backs are significantly lesser prospects than Georgia's Knowshon Moreno and Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells. However, with more and more teams looking for a rotational system at running back, it would not be a surprise to see either back slip into the late portion of the first round.