- The lives of three former Western Kentucky football players could take a major turn this weekend as the National Football League holds its annual player draft. The event starts tonight with the first round, but former Hilltoppers Bobby Rainey, Derrius Brooks and Bo Adebayo won't be selected during that portion. Instead, the trio will wait for this weekend's later rounds to hear their names called. "I don't know, to tell you the truth," Rainey said of what to expect. "What I feel, it'll be no later than the third round - but that's what I feel. If it goes different, who knows?" Rainey, a 5-foot-6-inch, 205-pound running back from Griffin, Ga., and Griffin High School, rushed for 1,695 yards and 13 touchdowns, caught 36 passes for 361 yards and four TDs, and threw two passes for 48 yards and one score in 2011. He left the Hill as one of WKU's all-time greats, setting records for rushing yards in a season and a career. The latest teams to contact Rainey have been Denver and St. Louis, he said, and both have him lined up at running back at the next level. Rainey's headed back home to Griffin this weekend and said he just wants to keep things low-key. "No, we're not going to have a party," he said, laughing. "They want to have a party for me, but I told them, ???Nah.' I just want to be with my family at my house, that's it." - Chad Bishop, The Daily News
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Despite lacking ideal size for the position, Rainey proved to be a dominant running back for the Western Kentucky Hill Toppers, earning the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year award after each of the final two seasons of his career. A true workhorse back, Rainey led the country with 709 carries over that span, rushing for an average of 139 yards per game. Perhaps most impressive, Rainey's production remained impressive regardless of the competition, rushing for over 100 yards against Kentucky (twice), Nebraska and Indiana since 2010. Rainey leaves as WKU as the career record-holder with 4,542 rushing yards.
Possessing a combination of elusiveness, acceleration and surprising power, Rainey isn't just a change of pace option for the next level though his lack of height is likely to cause some to peg him as such and could drop him into the third day of the draft. If given an opportunity, however, the short but certainly not small back could prove to be quite a late round find for some lucky NFL team.
Strengths: Possesses very quick feet to accelerate through the hole. Good lateral agility and balance to avoid defenders in tight quarters and can make would-be tacklers look silly in the open field. Surprisingly powerful for his short stature due to a strong lower body, good forward lean and determined running. Good stiff-arm. Craft runner. Sets up his blocks and senses defenders leaning, showing the ability to cut quickly to avoid them. Durable runner. Never missed a game due to injury over his career, which included starting the final three seasons and carrying the ball over 700 times over the past two seasons. Answered the bell when facing top competition, proving that he wasn't just a product of weak competition. Improved as a receiver throughout his career. Looks comfortable gathering passes out of the backfield and flashes the ability to pluck the ball outside of his frame. Experienced kick returner with the vision and burst to contribute in this area at the next level.
Weaknesses: Possesses a shorter than ideal frame and isn't a powerful interior runner. Sprung some big runs against quality competition but the vast majority of his production has come against questionable competition. Didn't separate himself versus the pack at the East-West Shrine Game. Has seen an awful lot of touches over his career (1,038) and may have relatively little tread left on his tires. Will be an older prospect entering the NFL as he will turn 25 years old as a rookie.