As the NFL draft nears, USA TODAY High School Sports will look back at the high school careers and draft prospects for some of the top players. Here is today’s installment on Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon
Position: Running back
High school: Daphne, Ala.
ALL-USA history: Named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA second team in 2011, when he ran for 2,193 yards and 31 touchdowns and averaged 9.5 yards per carry. Finished his high school career with 4,653 yards and 65 touchdowns rushing and 1,502 yards and eight TDs receiving.
Height, weight: 6-2, 226 pounds
By the numbers: Rushed for 3,322 yards and 37 touchdowns with a 5.8-yard average per carry in three remarkably consistent seasons at Alabama. He broke the school’s freshman record when he ran for 1,108 yards.
Draft positives: Has good vision and patience to let blockers open holes. Explodes through holes with good acceleration and burst. Has all the size, athleticism and physical tools to be a feature back at the NFL level. Scheme friendly and versatile, Yeldon could play in either a gap- or zone-blocking scheme at the next level.
Draft negatives: Doesn’t always run with a good pad level. Has had major fumbling issues and needs to work on ball security. Inconsistent hands out of the backfield. Lacks elite speed. Doesn’t always drive legs through contact.
Projection: Round 3/4
What he says: “I have good vision, good cutting. I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I can split out wide and catch the ball. It just depends on how they want to use me in their offense.”
Draft analysis by Dan Shonka, Ourlads.com