San Diego State University Running Back 5’11” – 220 lbs.
2017 Highlights: YouTube
2017 Stats: 275 carries – 2,027 yards – 7.4 avg. – 19 rushing TDs – 2 kick return TDs – 1 punt return TD
2016 Stats: 135 carries – 1,246 yards – 7.4 avg. – 11 TDs – 15 receptions – 2 kick return TDs
2015 Stats: 61 carries – 368 yards – 6.0 avg. – 4 TDs – 8 receptions – 3 kick return TDs
Not only is Rashaad Penny a one cut, downhill runner with plenty of speed in the open field and power up the middle, he’s also an explosive kick returner. Penny ran back two kicks for touchdowns and one punt for a touchdown this season. For his career, Rashaad Penny has 40 TDs from scrimmage, 7 kick return TDs, and 1 one return TD. You have to take into account that Penny has competed in the Mountain West his entire career but his production has been unbelievable. The Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year is being slept on by most but he has the chance to be a special running back when he’s selected somewhere in the middle rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Penny has a nice build at 5’11” 220 with power to be a team’s 3rd down, downhill runner. Some see him as strictly a power back but he does have pretty good speed as evidenced in his 7 career kickoff return TDs. His vision is excellent and he runs well up the middle, in between the tackles. He can catch a few passes and is great when in open space. Penny is an exciting player to watch both in the backfield and in the kick return game.
During his career at San Diego State, Penny has returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown on three occasions. He makes big plays and has averaged 7.4 yards per carry for the last two seasons. He’s a patient runner and is deceivingly quick. Many are going to be surprised at how quick he runs the 40 at the NFL Combine. The only reason Penny isn’t getting the hype he deserves is because of the conference he played in but make no mistake, Rashaad Penny was the best running back in college football this season.
Size, speed, and running ability aren’t issues for Rashaad Penny. He’s admitted himself that his pass blocking needs to improve and he feels it has during his college career. If NFL teams want to use him for three downs, he’s going to have to get better at his pass blocking. That’s the one missing component of his game and if he can improve some more on it, he’s got a chance to play every down.
During his collegiate career, Penny has fumbled six times and lost four of those six. If you take into account that he’s carried the ball 474 times for 3,435 yards during that span, the fumbles don’t look as bad. He’ll need to focus on his ball security and pass blocking to succeed in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Kareem Hunt
There are a few parallels between Kareem Hunt’s game and Rashaad Penny’s game. They’re both of similar stature and have come from weaker college football conferences. When Hunt came out of Toledo, none were expecting him to be a starter in his first year. He’s looked great at times in the NFL and when he’s rushed for 100 yards, his team is undefeated. Coming out of the Mountain West, there will be many doubters for Rashaad Penny, but his production at San Diego State can’t be questioned. You don’t run for 2,000 yards in a season and return 7 kickoffs for TDs in a career due to a weak conference. If that was true, we’d see it more often.
Penny combines a unique skill set of power, agility, and explosiveness that not many running backs have. He’s going to be a great addition to an NFL Team in the 3rd or 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Like Kareem Hunt last year, expect his draft stock to surge in weeks leading up to the draft. Penny will be a steal on the second day of the draft and he will be a rookie of the year contender next season.