What Is Next for Stanford RB Toby Gerhart?


Toby Gerhart was this year’s Heisman Trophy runner-up and he was just named a 1st team AP All-American. The Stanford running back was one of the most consistent players in 2009, but he remained under the radar for most of the season.

Gerhart lead the NCAA in both rushing yards (1,736) and rushing touchdowns (26) and he was only held under 100 yards twice this season.

Gerhart did not have the benfit of playing cupcake defenses to pad his stats. In the Pac-10, Gerhart faces more than a few stingy defenses. In his two games against USC and Oregon, Gerhart rushed for an impressive 401 yards and 6 touchdowns.

There is no question that Gerhart was an outstanding college running back, but now Gerhart will be testing his skills at the next level.

Defenders in the NFL are bigger, faster, and stronger and that raises some concerns about Gerhart’s game. Gerhart lacks explosiveness and while teams would often stick 8 men in the box against Stanford you would rarely see him get behind the safeties.

Despite not having top end speed, Gerhart will time in the mid-4.5’s. That is more than enough speed for a player who relies on his size and power.

What Gerhart lacks in his explosiveness he makes up for in his physicality. Gerhart (6’1, 235) is a powerful, north-south runner who is willing to pound the ball between the tackles. Gerhart also has exceptional vision that will translate to the next level.

Don’t ignore the willingness to block and his impressive footwork. These are the qualities that got him on coach Jim Harbaugh’s good side. Gerhart is the kind of player that general managers will fall in love with. He’s a hard-working, do it all player who will do anything you ask of him. This dedication will find him a spot on an NFL roster.

Gerhart is currently projected as a late 2nd or 3rd round pick. It is still early in the draft process and Gerhart will likely only improve his position from here.