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2018 Draft Prospects: Rashaad Penny

On December 23rd the Army Black Knights will take on the San Diego State Aztecs in the US Armed Forces Bowl in Ft. Worth, Texas. San Diego State continues its Cinderella run under head coach Rocky Long. SDSU has won 32 games in the past three years, including a remarkable upset over Stanford this year. The Aztecs are finishing a 10-3 season on the league-leading performance of consensus All-American running back Rashaad Penny. After three years stuck on the depth chart behind Donnel Pumphrey, SDSU’s greatest running back of all time, Penny leads the NCAA in rushing with 2,027 yards. Penny is a full 54 yards above the second-place Stanford back, Bryce Love.

If Penny gains more than 195 yards at the Armed forces bowl – he has four games with over 200 yards rushing – he can overtake Pumphrey’s school record of 2,364 all-purpose yards. NFL Hall-of-Famer Marshall Faulk held the previous school record with 2,174 all-purpose yards in a season.

Penny scores remarkably well on RotoViz metrics

When evaluating running back prospects we like to use Matthew Freeman’s RB Workhorse Metric.

Unfortunately, Penny was running behind Donnel Pumphrey for most of his college career, so in calculating his Workhorse Score, I only used games from his 2017 senior year.  Not counting the Bowl game (which he has yet to play) and Weeks 6 and 10 (Aztecs beat UNLV 41-10, and San Jose State 52-7), I used 10 games in calculating his Workhorse Score. This score is the average of the player’s market share of rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns with quarterback rushing attempts removed. Penny bests many of the stars from the elite 2017 RB class in Workhorse Score.

Name WS Games MS Car MS Yd MS TD Tot WS

Rashaad Penny

10 .64 .76 .87


In 2017 Blair Andrews also added receiving production into a metric which he called College Dominator rating. Anything above .40 is excellent, and anything above .50 is elite. Penny was just a tick under .50 with a score of .497.

NameMS TouchesMS YardsMS TDsRB Dom Score
Rashaad Penny.

We also have a useful tool at RotoViz called the RB Prospect Lab, where we can enter a player’s senior production as well as physical attributes to compare him to historic players. Penny has not performed sprint or agility workouts, but using estimates of a 4.25 forty and 7.2 three-cone, he scores a 63 and has notable company like Maurice Jones-Drew and Jamaal Charles.

This is the part where everyone cries foul. Penny is from a small school in an easy conference. I don’t really have any answers to that, except to say that the Aztecs are undefeated in games against PAC-12 opponents (Stanford and Arizona State University). In those two games Penny ran 50 times for 391 yards and two TDs.

Donnel Pumphrey signed with the Eagles last year and struggled in the preseason before suffering a season-ending injury. Penny offers more durability than the 5-foot-8, 176-pound Pumphrey. Penny has 3 inches and almost 40 pounds on him and is much more in line with his draft class elite.((Faulk was 5-feet-10, 206 pounds.) I should also mention that Penny has been remarkable on special teams as well, a factor you should try to exploit in finding undervalued prospects. Penny has 17 kick and punt returns for an average of 30 return yards and 3 return TDs so far this year.

Penny vs. The Stars


Wt RuYDS ReYds


Rashaad Penny


220 2027 142 21
Saquon Barkley


223 1134 594


Bryce Love


191 1973 33


Derrius Guice

5-11 212 1153 100


Just enjoy the highlights! Go Aztecs!



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