From High School to NFL Combine – Running Backs

Running backs took the stage at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Friday. With a handful of backs we had the chance to scout during their prep careers, we thought we’d take a look at how they did as they look to make their mark at the next level.

LJ Scott
Youngstown, Ohio
Hubbard High School
Michigan State

Scott came into the combine at 6-foot-0 and 227-pounds with many questions to answer following a season and career where more was expected of him. While choosing not to run the forty, Scott did take part in the other drills and showed well with 21 reps in the bench press, 33.0-inch vertical jump, 120.0-inch broad jump, 7.27 three-cone drill and 4.34 20-yard shuttle. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield opened more eyes and it will be interesting to see what he does at his pro day. Scott entered Michigan State with a lot of people comparing him to Le’Veon Bell. However, the production never came close to matching, but the tools are there for Scott to have success. Needs to return to playing with power and not try to be a finesse back.

Damien Harris
Richmond, Kentucky
Madison Southern High School
Alabama

The former Kentucky Gatorade High School Player of the Year (2014) posted a 4.57 40-yard dash to go with a vertical jump of 34.0 inches and broad jump of 121.0 inches. Harris also benched 16 reps coming in at 5-foot-10, 216-pounds. During our high school evaluation, we saw the talent Harris has shown while being a productive back for Alabama. However, the same knock NFL scouts have with Harris is his ability to accelerate when he’s forced to slow down his feet. We had the same issues when we caught him in action his senior year.  The forty time should help answer some of the questions NFL teams have and there is no question Harris can be productive when he has a chance to get started.

Montgomery while at Mt. Healthy

David Montgomery
Cincinnati, Ohio
Mt. Healthy High School
Iowa State

In high school Montgomery lined up as a quarterback always with the ball in his hands. That allowed some to have concerns with him making the transition to a traditional running back. He answered all those questions at Iowa State and stay productive. Montgomery is more of a player than a tester and that came forward at the combine. Coming in at 5-foot-10, 222-pounds and posting a 4.63 40-yard along with a broad jump of 121.0 inches and a vertical jump of 28.5 inches may not have blown NFL scouts away. And we would have liked to of seen more than 15 reps in the bench press. However, we’ve watched Montgomery prove all doubters wrong from the very start of his prep career and feel he’ll still be a top performer at the next level.

Snell at the NIKE Opening in High School

Benny Snell
Westerville, Ohio
Westerville Central High School
Kentucky

Snell was hopeful to run well and put away some doubts in the minds of NFL scouts. His 4.66 forty may not of helped his case. However, much like Montgomery, Snell has always been a productive player on the field. Add in a 7.07 three-cone drill, 4.33 20-yard shuttle, broad jump of 119.0 inches and vertical of 29.5 and Snell ended up in the back end of the backs that tested on Friday. As we said, Snell is not known to put up great testing numbers, but you cannot question his grit and toughness to make a difference on the field. May not have blown scouts away but should prove valuable on special teams and when give the chance to carry the ball.

Mike Weber
Detroit, Michigan
Cass Technical High School
Ohio State

Weber came in at 5-foot-10, 211-pounds and performed extremely well posting a 4.47 forty and a 33.5-inch vertical jump. Add in 22 bench press reps and there is no question Weber has the tool set. While he didn’t perform in the 3-cone, 20-yard shuttle or broad jump, look for him to answer those questions on his pro day. Injuries and sharing carriers didn’t help Weber post big numbers, but the tools are there for him to surprise.

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