I’Tavius Mathers - Running Back - Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Weight: 197 lbs
Vertical Jump (Pro Day): 32”
Broad Jump (Pro Day): 10’2”
40 yard dash (Pro Day): 4.42
Bench Press: 21 reps
With the abundance of good running backs in the 2017 NFL Draft class, let me tell you about one that is flying under the raider as a sneaky good pick for the right team. I’tavius Mathers came back to his home of Murfreesboro to play his senior season for the Blue Raiders after three years at Ole Miss.
Mathers played a good amount during his time at Ole Miss but he never seemed to be the number one choice out of the backfield. Despite only starting one game in 2013, he actually led Ole Miss in rushing that season and had three rushing touchdowns.
After he decided to transfer to MTSU in 2015, Mathers got faster and stronger despite having to sit out the season because of NCAA rules. That hard work was on full display this past year as Mathers showed college football what he was actually capable of.
Let’s talk numbers first, shall we? This man had 232 rushes for a total of 1,561 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Blue Raider this past season. That averages out to 6.7 yards per carry over the course of the season.
All of those rushing stats are ranked 15th in all of the entire bowl subdivision. He also added 66 receptions for 633 yards and three receiving touchdowns out of the backfield.
With these stats, Mathers became the first player in FBS history to have 1,500 yards rushing, 500 yards receiving and 60 catches over the course of one season. Lastly, a school record for rushing yards in a season, all-purpose yards in a season, and receptions by a running back.
Though all these numbers and records are impressive, I don’t think it does justice to the type of player Mathers is. If I were to choose one phrase to describe him, I would have to choose “game changer.”
It just seemed like every time MTSU’s offense needed a spark, he would bust out a long run and get the offense rolling. He literally took over in the Blue Raiders’ victory against La Tech, leading a 20 point comeback with 237 all-purpose yards and four total touchdowns.
He is the type of runner that hits the hole hard every time and when he gets past the linebackers, good luck trying to catch him as he is a very dynamic runner in the open field due to his speed and elusiveness.
He will be a great fit for a team looking for a good open field back who is also very comfortable receiving out of the backfield as well. One concern I see teams having is that he is “too small” and “could be stronger.”
I wouldn’t count him out as a late round draft pick, but according to a lot of experts, he will probably go undrafted. If that’s the case, look for a team like Carolina or Tampa Bay pick him up as a free agent.