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2015 NFL DRAFT

George Atkinson III, RB

School: Notre Dame  |  Conference: FBS Independents
College Experience: Junior  |  Hometown: Stockton, CA
Height/Weight: 6-1 / 218 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
36526-

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.402.571.5819 3810'1"4.467.07
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
---- --4.337.08

Mock Draft Expert Analysis

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Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Possesses an impressive combination of size and speed. When he locates the hole, Atkinson has the burst to explode through it and break away from the defense. Subtle changes of direction to avoid defenders in the open field and sets up his blocks well. Reliable kick returner with a history of big plays in big games. Expected to impress during workouts. Spent a year with Notre Dame's track team and has good timed speed. Good bloodlines. Father WEAKNESSES: Looks more like a safety than a running back. Upright and uncreative runner who relies on his straight-line speed to make big plays. Doesn't possess the lateral agility or balance to make defenders miss in tight spaces and isn't as physical as his size would indicate, too often being knocked to the ground on initial contact. Looks to break runs to the outside too often, rather than lowering his shoulder and grinding out the tough yards between the tackles. COMPARES TO: Joe McKnight, New York Jets - Atkinson isn't as nifty as McKnight and is bigger but possesses a similar reliance on his straight-line speed. His ability to return kicks could land him a roster spot but without greater toughness, his hype has more to do with the prominence of his collegiate team (and bloodlines) than his actual potential to star as an NFL running back. -Rob Rang

Player Overview

Atkinson signed with Notre Dame as a highly touted prep player and wowed initially, returning two kicks for touchdowns (vs. Michigan State, USC) as a true freshman but fell out of a favor as his collegiate career went on and elected to enter the 2014 draft after a disappointing junior season. Atkinson started the season listed as Notre Dame's starting back, but finished second in yards and carries with 555 yards on 93 attempts. In total, Atkinson produced 3,144 all-purpose yardage on the strength of 2,136 career kick return yards. He saw his carries diminish as the season wore on and freshman Tarean Folston got more carries. Coach Brian Kelly said Atkinson didn't consistently run tough enough. Atkinson was suspended from playing in the Pinstripe Bowl for violating an unspecified team rule. He tweeted he was suspended for texting friends and family during a team meal. His father, former Oakland Raiders' standout George Atkinson, Jr. said neither the suspension nor the crowded backfield played roles in his son's decision. "The time was just right to make that move," he said.
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Player News
01/08/2014 - Running back George Atkinson III has become the third Notre Dame player this offseason to skip his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. Atkinson joins defensive linemen Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt in declaring for the NFL after the Irish finished the season 9-4 and ranked No. 21. While Nix and Tuitt have been projected as potential first-round picks by some, Atkinson is projected as a later-round pick. "He look at as an opportunity," Atkinson's father, former Oakland Raiders great George Atkinson Jr., said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "We did our due diligence and decided to roll the dice with it."

Atkinson started the season listed as Notre Dame's starting back, but finished second in yards and carries with 555 yards on 93 attempts. He saw his carries diminish as the season wore on and freshman Tarean Folston got more carries. Coach Brian Kelly said Atkinson didn't consistently run tough enough. The Irish already have a crowded backfield with Folston and leading rusher Cam McDaniel returning as well as Amir Carlisle and Greg Bryant, who sat out last season after knee surgery. Atkinson was suspended from playing in the Pinstripe Bowl for violating an unspecified team rule. He tweeted he was suspended for texting friends and family during a team meal. His father said neither the suspension nor the crowded backfield played roles in his son's decision. "The time was just right to make that move," he said. - AP Sports

 

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