Redskins Draft Prospect: Southern Illinois RB Deji Karim the Missing Piece?

via a.espncdn.com

Size: 5'11, 205 lbs
Age: 23 (Red shirted)
Projected Round: 5-6

We've exhausted OL and QB, so let's move to the next major need for the Redskins, Running Back. Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis can be considered an above average RB duo, but the glaring problem is that neither of these RBs will be outrunning any defenders in an open field.

Anthony Alridge was a good attempt last year, but his fumbilitis proved to be too much (though he gets another shot this year). So, we move to the draft. If the Redskins don't take a RB in the 2nd round, that leaves the 4th and up. So how about this speedster from Southern Illinois? He wasn't at the combine but check out his Pro Day results (Chris Johnson anyone?):

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds, which if not adjusted due to surface would have tied him for second among tailbacks at the Scouting Combine.

His vertical leap of 43 inches would have been first among all tailbacks, his broad jump of ten feet, three inches would have placed third, his 20-yard shuttle time of 4.05 seconds would have topped all tailbacks, his 6.67-second mark in the three-cone drill also would have been first, and his 19 reps in the 225-pound bench press would have been sixth among all tailbacks. [PFT]

Very impressive. But check out his stats from last season, which are absolutely absurd:

Stats

Rushing

Receiving

Fumbles

YEAR

ATT

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

REC

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

FUM

LST

2007

76

386

5.1

44

8

4

17

4.3

8

0

0

0

2009

240

1694

7.1

93

18

17

212

12.5

48

1

0

0


No fumbles and 18 TDs. Men amongst boys...though that is rather literal since it's a 1-AA school. Deji sat out the 2008 season after partially tearing his patellar tendon in his left knee in practice, but based on his 40 times and yardage last year, I'd say the knee is fine. He averaged 35.11 yards a kickoff return and saw the end zone in this role as well.

If THAT'S not enough to sell you, how about Karim was given six names at birth. His official name is Abdul-Gafar Olatokumbo Ayodeji Lamar Karim Ayodeji. How awesome would a Redskins jersey with that be on the back? His name was shortened to Deji, which means "pure happiness." Karim is very close with his mother and his difficult rehab to return to football, which he almost gave up, validates his work ethic.

Other RB alums from S. Illinois: Brandon Jacobs

Here's the limited video I could find:
54 minute mark, 1:53 minute mark, 2:17 scores a short TD, 3:12 takes a screen - breaks tackles and takes off

If you want to see his gaudy week-by-week stats, visit here: http://espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=241179

Note: Rekka and johnnydee83 get hat-tips for mentioning him first. Deji especially sparked my interest when I saw a Scout report that the Eagles are working him out and bringing him in for a visit.

Scout.com has him ranked as its 15th-best running back prospect, and Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has him at No. 11.    

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