At the University of Iowa in 2012, the running back position was in an absolute shambles, and by some crazy set of circumstances, a young man named Mark Weisman–a sophomore transfer from Air Force–became the featured running back for a school that has had really good success running the football.
Weisman is not your typical running back, however. In fact, he’s more of a fullback in every sense of the word, aside from the fact that he runs so well. Most fullbacks are slow, not overly agile, good blockers, and decent catching the ball.
Weisman came in for the Hawkeyes last season–out of NOWHERE–and averaged over five yards per carry, rushing for 815 yards and eight scores while catching another. He did get banged up last year, missing two games entirely, but there was a stretch of four games last season where Weisman was nearly unstoppable, rushing for over 100 yards in four straight games, including a 217 yard performance against Central Michigan.
To start off the 2013 season, Weisman has been the featured back for Iowa and has three straight games over 100 yards again to start the season. The 6’1″ 235 pound junior is running as hard as ever, but there’s no doubt about what kind of style this guy is. Weisman is a plodder in every sense of the word. He probably won’t run faster than a 4.7 second 40 yard dash, and if he does, it won’t be by much.
So the question that’s been burning on my mind–and one that we’ll have the whole 2014 season to figure out, in all likelihood, is whether or not Weisman has a fit in the NFL. Right now, it’s hard to see a guy with speed limitations making an impact as a running back like Weisman, but I’ve seen crazier things. The fact that this guy continually moves the chains, works hard, is a team leader, and has decent hands in the passing game could really up his stock, but the jury is still out.
I really like Weisman as a college tailback, but I question his ability to translate to the next level. There will be time for him to improve athletically, get a more natural feel for the position, and improve other areas of his game, so I’m not going to count him out.
This is an interesting prospect to watch, a guy playing in a very old-school offense where he is constantly fed the ball, feast or famine. The Hawkeyes are in action Saturday against Western Michigan.