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Posted by on October 6th, 2011 in blog, CFF Features, Dan Pierson | 1 Comment

  High up in the Rocky Mountains resides one of college football’s most dynamic, productive, entertaining, and overlooked offensive players.  Colorado running back Rodney Stewart has been overlooked so often in his career that any national praise or attention would probably creep the guy out.  Coming out of Brookhaven H.S. in Columbus, Ohio the man known as “Speedy” was rated only a 2-star prospect with a grade of 40 on the scouting charts (a typical “blue-chip” recruit is rated 80 or higher); understandably, recruiters from BCS programs weren’t exactly beating down the door of a 5’7” RB who wasn’t even getting a sniff from the program right down the street from his high school.  Eastern Michigan and Toledo were among the only serious offers Stewart had late in the recruiting process.  However, fellow Columbus native Doug Rippy had already committed to CU and alerted the coaches there about a running back he had played against back home; acting on Rippy’s advice, CU recruiting coordinator Darian Hagan decided to give Speedy a look and was impressed enough to offer a last-minute scholarship.

In the 2008 recruiting class CU had already signed RB Darrell Scott – the nation’s 9th ranked overall prospect in a class that included Julio Jones, Patrick Peterson, Terrell Pryor and A.J. Green – who was the “star attraction” of the CU recruiting class.  With Scott having to deal with all the media and fan attention Stewart quietly went about his business in fall camp, earned some playing time and a handful of carries in each of the first 2 games of his true freshman season.  In the 3rd game Speedy offered the nation (or at least those who tuned in to the TV broadcast) a little taste of what was to come.  In a nationally-televised Thursday night game against nationally ranked West Virginia (led by Pat White and Noel Devine) Stewart gashed the Mountaineers for 166 yards on 28 carries.  Buffs fans figured they had something special in Speedy, and he did not disappoint… looking to be well on his way to a 1,000 yard campaign until Von Miller (a little Colorado irony) horse-collared Stewart and shattered his fibula.  Stewart was able to come back healthy in 2009 and posted 804 yards rushing on 198 carries, then gained 1,318 yards on 290 carries in 2010.  The youngster from Columbus had turned into a legitimate game-breaker and entered 2011 poised to break CU’s all-time rushing records for attempts and yards, as well as the all-time mark for yards from scrimmage.  In a related story, Darrell Scott was horribly under-utilized (although he was unimpressive on numerous occasions) by then-coach Dan Hawkins and ended up transferring to USF where he’s rushed for 424 yards and 5 TD’s so far this year.

Fast forward to the present and Stewart has been up to his usual tricks… every time he touches the football, fans, coaches and players for both teams get the feeling that Speedy can take it to the house.  He makes plays on the field that leave defenders hugging themselves after a missed tackle and fans rewinding the DVR.  Another exciting aspect of Stewart’s game this year has been his increased workload in the passing game – with 24 catches for 338 yards he leads all D-1 RB’s in receiving yards.  CU’s O-Line woes have prevented Stewart from having many great running lanes, yet he has still posted 410 yards and 1 TD for a mostly disappointing Buffaloes offense.  In spite of that, he still has a decent shot of breaking Bienemy’s rushing yardage record (needs 786 yards, 112\game) and is definitely within range of Bienemy’s yards from scrimmage record (needs 461 yards, 66\game).

While Rodney Stewart certainly is not a household name for most college football fans, you can be sure NFL scouts have been watching him for some time.  His blend of elusiveness, relative strength, and explosiveness are sure to make someone grab him in next year’s NFL draft.  I doubt the guru Kiper will have him very high on the “Big Board”, but my opinion is that Speedy can have a Darren Sproles-type impact on an NFL offense if he’s utilized properly.  Even if he’s drafted somewhere in the later rounds (or not at all) don’t be surprised when Mr. Stewart proves them all wrong.  College football freaks across the land need to find some time to watch this guy… and Buffaloes fans need to appreciate the last 7 games of Speedy’s career; he’s certain to go down as one of the greatest Buffs ever.


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1 Comment for this entry

  1. Brady says:

    Interesting factoid with the “where’s Darrell Scott” update. I heard that name a lot living in CO up until a year or so ago, but didn’t know he had moved on.

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