Boise State has been the most consistent team in the country outside the Power-5 for much of the last decade plus, and has produced a fair number of NFL players over this time period. In particular, they’ve produced two quality starting running backs in Doug Martin and Jay Ajayi.
Jeremy McNichols will look to follow in their footsteps as the next back to come out of Boise. On December 27th, he’ll have an opportunity to impress against Baylor in the Cactus Bowl. While Baylor’s program has seen a steep drop off this year after a sexual assault scandal rocked the team and the university, they still represent a major step of from most of Boise’s opponents.
McNichols has been extremly productive in his two seasons as Boise State’s starter. As a sophmore, he rushed for 1337 yards (5.6 yards per carry) with 20 touchdowns, and had 51 receptions for 460 yards and six touchdowns. This year, he rushed for 1663 yards (5.6 YPC), 23 touchdowns, and had 32 receptions for 450 yards and four touchdowns. He posted a 0.78 rushing dominator rating and a 0.14 receiving dominator rating this season, both of which are elite numbers for a running back. Jordan Hoover showed that McNichols faired significantly better this year than Christian McCaffery and Dalvin Cook, two of the top backs in this year’s class, and also was a a very similar prospect to Doug Martin. However, he blows Martin out of the water in terms of DR numbers, and was also better than Ajayi rushing wise. Put it all together, and McNichols is the most productive back to come out of Boise State.
RB Prospect Lab
I used the RB Prospect Lab to generate comparisons for McNichols. I gave him a 40 time of 4.53, which gives him a speed score of 100, and a 3 cone time of 7.08 (the average 3 cone time of backs within three pounds of him):
- Toby Gerhart
- Demarco Murray
- J.J Arrington
- Lamar Miller
- Deangelo Williams
- Jeremy McNichols
- Ryan Mathews
- Bishop Sankey
- Chris Henry
- Chris Perry
- Lesean McCoy
- Jalen Parmele
Next, I used the Rotoviz Screener to look at McNichols four closest comps to see how they fared in the NFL:
Obviously, Sankey never panned out the way we hoped, and although Mathews never lived up to being the number 12 draft pick he still has been a productive running back. Every back besides Jalen Parmele was a top 100 pick in the NFL draft.
McNichols has been criminally underrated this year. He’s been one of the most complete backs in the country over the past two years, yet has little to no recognition or draft buzz to show for it. He has outstanding production, solid size (5 feet 9 inches, 212 pounds), and comes from the top non Power 5 school in the country. I would expect McNichols to go in the round 3-5 range in the draft, but if he tests very well he could potentially go Round 2. He’ll likely be a riser throughout the draft process, and I expect more buzz to come after a big bowl game against Baylor.