A two-star RB recruit, Reaves chose UAB over Vanderbilt out of high school, deciding to stay close to home. He was part of a heavy RB-by-committee backfield as a true freshman in 2011 and emerged as the starter in 2012, recording career-bests with 215 carries for 1,037 yards and 13 scores (and 41 catches). Reaves produced similar numbers in 2013 and decided to leave school early for the NFL ? leaves UAB with 2,337 career rushing yards, third-best in school history. He is solidly-built and packs a punch at the point of attack with good vision and patience to allow blocks to develop, quickly getting through the line of scrimmage. Reaves was able to be productive despite sharing the workload with little talent around him. He lacks elite speed or explosive qualities, but he?s tough, balanced and has proven to be an every-down back.
STRENGTHS: Sturdy, compact build with proportionate bulk throughout his frame. Balanced with a low center of gravity, keeping his feet through contact. Patient but doesn?t shy from contact, lowering his pads, following blocks and keeping his legs pumping. Quickly reads his blocks and adjusts with decisive, smooth lateral cuts. Good feet and feel at the line of scrimmage to find the hole and get north-south. Fluid lower body with loose hips. Runs determined and always falling forward with his finishing toughness. Good hands and focus to spear the ball away from his body ? 77 career catches at UAB. Willing blocker and gives up his body in pass protection with strong field awareness to pick up extra blitzers. Consistent production the past two years, leading the team in rushing both seasons.WEAKNESSES: Only average power and won?t run over defenders. Looks maxed out physically and won?t be able to get too much bigger. Only average speed with limited explosive qualities. More of a one-speed runner and isn?t a home run threat. Slowed by contact and needs a few moments to collect himself and get back to full speed. Too often goes down at first contact and won?t break a lot of tackles. Pass blocking technique needs an overhaul. Needs to be more aware as a pass catcher to sit in open zones or recognize pressure and get his head turned for the quick dump off. Shared the backfield duties (44.2% of the team?s carries in 2013) and appeared to wear down late in games.--Dane Brugler
05/07/2014 - 2014 NFL Draft: 126 FBS programs, 126 possible UDFAs: UAB: RB Darrin Reaves (5-7, 209, 4.57)...A surprise junior declaration, Reaves is a smaller scatback who doesn't look like much, but he's tough, determined and adds value as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com