By Michael Williford
Name: Marquis Young
Hometown: Fairport, New York
NFL Draft Class: 2019
Player Overview: Marquis Young is one of only five running backs currently playing in the FBS to be named to the Doak Walker Award watch list — annually awarded to the best running back in the NCAA — in each of the past three seasons. A 2018 Phil Steele Preseason All-Independent First Team selection, Young rushed for 982 yards on 192 carries (5.4 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns as a junior in the 2017. He also caught 35 passes for 280 yards (8.0 yards per catch) and two touchdowns, gaining 1,503 total all-purpose yards at 125.3 yards per game. It was not at all anything new for Young, who first appeared in all 12 UMass games played in 2015 as a true freshman, leading the Minutemen rushing yards (960), attempts (152) and touchdowns (7). Through the first two seasons, Young had over 2,000 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns.
Strengths: A north-south-style runner with NFL size and NFL speed who frequently creates creases and opens up holes to make and extend plays against a defense by varying the pace of his runs. A three-down jack-of-all-trades back who can work inside as a hard-nosed runner in between the tackles, as a change-of-pace speed back, as a wide receiver on screen passes, or from the slot. Can lull a defender to sleep with vision and good patience then accelerate around the edge and shut the gear down for a downhill cut to create a little space. Often creates the space with a cut then a quick burst of speed past the line of scrimmage onto the second level. Has the ability to twist, turn and ricochet off of a lot of would-be tacklers to gain a lot of yards after initial contact. Will use a subtle change of direction at the second level while keeping the run north/south to limit the amount of reaction time the middle linebackers and the safeties have to make a play. Has quick-churning feet and a good mix of strength and balance to carom off the would-be tacklers and restart runs from anywhere on the field. Fearless and very competitive.
Weaknesses: Not an ideal pile-pusher in a short yardage situation. Blocking skills in pass protection are lacking. Will throw both of the arms out at a pass rusher rather than sliding the feet, squaring up, and taking on a block with good posture. Does not always attack the blocking target head on. Lacks the typical size and bulk in the core and lower body that the NFL scouts prefer to see at the running back position. Has thin hips and a small frame.