Tyjae Spears, RB
School: Tulane University | Conference: American Athletic Conference
College Experience: | Age: 22 (Week 1)
Height / Weight: 5’10” 200 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd round
Player Comparison: Miles Sanders
|Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
Tyjae Spears is an explosive runner who bounced back from his ACL injury to put together two impressive seasons. A 3-star prospect from Ponchatoula High School (La.), Tyjae saw limited time in his first two seasons before his sophomore season ended due to injury. In his first full season in 2021, Spears strung together an over 1,000 scrimmage yard season in 12 games (863 rushing yards (6.7 yds/carry) and 147 receiving yards (7 yds/rec) and 9 total touchdowns. In 2022, Spears took a major leap in production with 1,837 scrimmage yards and 21 touchdowns (1,581 rushing yards (6.9 yds/carry) and 256 receiving yards (11.6 yds/rec). He finished his career as the Cotton Bowl MVP and received the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Spears was invited to the Senior Bowl where he continued to impress in workouts. He is projected to work best in zone and gap scheme running schemes. He is believed to have the talent to become a starter.
- Elite receiver. Catches the ball away from the body with soft hands.
- Runs routes just as good as wide receivers.
- Quick feet, able to make sharp cuts at the second level.
- Finishes runs aggressively
- Knows how to manipulate defenders in open space.
- Impressive vision.
- Good running balance through contact.
- Lean build for the position.
- Lacks lower body power.
- Limited in pass blocking, resorts to cut blocks.
- Significant knee injury history
- Needs to be more consistent as a pass catcher.
Let’s See His Work
If you had to pick one highlight to pitch a prospect to an NFL GM in draft meetings, what would it be? (post in comments)— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) April 11, 2023
Here’s ours for @GreenWaveFB RB Tyjae Spears:#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/UmnUcLQbgG
Tyjae Spears is a guy I'm really starting to like for the Eagles at pick 62 if they don't go RB with their earlier picks. pic.twitter.com/6asnwy9kSl— Brenden Deeg (@BrendenDeeg_) April 11, 2023
Tulane RB Tyjae Spears with an absolutely filthy cut at the Senior Bowl— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) February 2, 2023
. @GreenWaveFB Tyjae Spears wakes up with GMFB to walk us through one of his best runs, and his loyalty to the Saints pic.twitter.com/ZaGvE8W71w— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) April 12, 2023
It’s time for a Kay-otic minute with Tyjae Spears— Up & Adams (@UpAndAdamsShow) April 11, 2023
⁰ : @FanDuelTV | @heykayadams | @tyjae22 pic.twitter.com/84y5n13Ae1
Interview with The Draft Network
Where were you when you found out about your Senior Bowl invite and what was your initial reaction like?
Tyjae Spears: We had just defeated SMU. We had a great game as a team, I had a great game myself as well. We were in the locker room after the victory. My teammates and I were all in a circle together. Coach [Willie] Fritz was giving us our post-game notes. We came together as a team and coach Fritz was like, “Where’s Tyjae Spears?”
I walked up to coach Fritz and he brought my family into the locker room! I was like what are they doing here? (laughs). Usually, families aren’t allowed in the locker room like that. That was a special moment though. He announced that I was going to the Senior Bowl. I was shocked. I was thankful too.
People that come from where I come from, they don’t really get opportunities like this.
That’s an incredible story. What was your motivation for accepting the Senior Bowl’s offer?
Tyjae Spears: I’m very familiar with all of the great players that have come through the Senior Bowl. My former teammate Cam Sample went to the Senior Bowl. Of course, that’s my guy. He went through the process and he spoke very highly of it. He laid down the foundation for us. The Senior Bowl is giving me a chance to show the NFL what I can do against high-end competition.
Speaking of, what are you hoping to prove to NFL general managers, coaching staffs, and scouts in attendance in Mobile?
Tyjae Spears: I’m going to prove that I’m a hard worker first and foremost. It doesn’t matter who or what I’m up against. I’m a worker at the end of the day. I’m always going to put my best foot forward.
It sounds like debunking the “small school” narrative comes to mind for you. The Senior Bowl is providing you with an opportunity to compete against the best of the best.
Tyjae Spears: The Senior Bowl levels the playing field. We’re all representing the programs we come from, but it really doesn’t matter what helmet you’re wearing when you step onto the field.
All of that stuff goes out the window. It’s me against you. May the best man win. I’m going to bet on myself 100 times out of 100. I feel like I’m going to win.
I’m trying to be humble (laughs). It’s another chance for me to showcase myself. I have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I feel like I’m going to have an amazing experience at the Senior Bowl.
When we turn the tape on, we see an explosive runner with outstanding contact balance, vision, and elusiveness. How did you develop those aspects of your game?
Tyjae Spears: It comes with time, man. It didn’t happen overnight. Sometimes, I think about it too much. I can’t do that. You just have to stay committed to the grind. I keep my head down and go to work. A lot of work went into it. I’ve done a ton of balance drills. I tore my ACL and everything. My journey, it’s been a lot.
You brought it up. You recovered from a difficult injury in 2020 to come back and be extremely productive in 2021 and 2022. What was that journey like? You overcame that obstacle. You’ve been amazing.
Tyjae Spears: It was just another bump in the road. Nothing more, nothing less. I just had to get through it. Everybody is going to face some adversity at some point. That’s nothing. It’s never about adversity. It’s about how you respond to that adversity. I tried to respond the best way I knew how and that’s about putting in hard work. It worked out for me.
How Will He Fit On The Team
Washington? Drafting another running back in the third round? Even with needs at linebacker, offensive line, tight end, and cornerback. Sarcasm aside, the Commanders rushing attack was inconsistent at best last season. Though more blame could be laid on the feet of poor offensive line play and predictable offensive play calls.
With Eric Bieniemy running the offense, Washington could be looking for a different set of skills than what Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson provide. Spears offers the Washington offense a third down back at worst or becomes a starter at best. He has great vision, comfortable catching passes out of the backfield, and has shown he is able to run inside and outside tackles. Spears’ speed and elusiveness pairs well with Robinson’s power running. Washington needs more playmakers on offense and Spears provides another nightmare matchup target.