Wyoming running back Brian Hill is not a household name. Even for avid college football followers, Hill is likely to get lost in the discussion of 2017 draft-eligible RBs.
Playing the majority of his games in remote locations without much television coverage, Hill has quietly but steadily put up back-to-back seasons of over 1,600 yards rushing, breaking nearly every school rushing record along the way.
If Hill, just a junior, does decide to declare for the 2017 draft, will his strong production profile be enough to find him a home on an NFL roster?
Hill owns an impressive production resume comprised of 749 carries over 36 career games:
Year Games Rushes ruYDS ruTDS Receptions reYDS
2014 11 145 796 7 13 204
2015 12 281 1631 6 20 132
2016 13 323 1767 21 7 48
The 1,000 yards from scrimmage accumulated in his freshman season become even more impressive when you take into account Hill played 10 of a total 12 games that year as a 17-year-old. Even in a non-Power 5 conference like the Mountain West, a 17-year-old able to produce 43.3 percent of his team’s rushing yards is worth noting.
Hill also finds himself in extremely elite company as one of just five RBs to have eclipsed 3,000 yards rushing since 2015. Only Christian McCaffrey and Donnel Pumphrey have racked up more rushing yards over that span. And despite a sharp downturn in pass-catching production in 2016, Hill still managed 40 career receptions, and has shown the ability to play in all phases of the game.
Below is a table showing 2016 market share metrics for Hill, McCaffrey, and Dalvin Cook:
Player Age Games msRUSH msRUYDS msRUTDS
Brian Hill 20.1 13 56.6 64.6 70
Dalvin Cook 21.4 12 56.3 64.9 58.1
Christian McCaffrey 20.5 11 53.6 61.4 68.4
When viewed through this set of parameters, we get a much better sense of just how dominant Hill’s 2016 season has been. Both Cook and McCaffrey are almost surefire top-50 picks, but Hill has nearly equaled or surpassed both in every rushing market share metric. This type of statistical analysis is only a part of the large evaluation process, but it’s clear that Hill has proven this season to be just as much a “workhorse RB” as either Cook or McCaffrey.
The fact that the 2017 RB class is unbelievably deep is probably the worst kept secret in dynasty circles. Owners have been hoarding rookie picks just to get a piece of Nick Chubb, Leonard Fournette, Cook, McCaffrey, etc. While acquiring high-end talents – even at the short-shelf-life RB position – should be the goal, in years with such a glut of talent near the top, prospects like Brian Hill become values.
Is Hill as physically gifted as Cook? Probably not. Does he possess the dynamic pass-catching ability shown by McCaffrey? Not on a consistent basis. But he is a young, 6-foot-1, 219-pound proven producer that can be acquired with relatively little draft capital in dynasty leagues, assuming he declares and ends up being drafted.
Up next for Wyoming is a matchup with BYU — the 14th toughest run defense according to S&P+ ratings — in the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21.