A Genetic Task Force: Building the Perfect College Running Back

Adam KramerNational College Football Lead WriterJune 6, 2012

It was a scientific breakthrough. 

After years of trying to genetically engineer the perfect football player, Dr. Pylon and his team discovered the process and technology necessary to transform this dream into a reality.

“We’ve finally done it,” Pylon said. “We now have the ability to take specific character traits, athletic skills and abilities from certain athletes and combine them with strengths from other athletes to form the ultimate competitor. We’re calling it Project Elite, and in 17 years, you will witness the best that science has to offer at the collegiate level.”

Dr. Pylon has put together the first-ever Genetic Committee to help select these necessary traits, and it will include Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Mack Brown and myself. It’s an impressive task force he’s put together to say the least, and I believe all of our talent assessment backgrounds are both impressive and comparable.

Our first assignment was to create the perfect running back using the pool of talented runners that will be carrying the ball in 2012.

As a purchasing reminder, the price of this incredible DNA can be yours for a modest $95 million. We did the math, and this seems fair given our guarantee that these players will earn full scholarships and monster NFL paydays down the line. Also, there will be zero durability concerns with our "Bend But Don't Break" bone and ligament technology.

And finally, this whole thing has not been approved by anyone just yet, so cash payments only.

The Speed of De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon): This was truly a no-brainer, and the discussions regarding which genes to use for speed were rather short in nature. He’s the fastest player in college football, and really, it’s not all that close.

The committee watched the 2012 Rose Bowl footage once, and the decision was unanimous in less than 30 seconds. We then watched it a few more times because it really never gets old. Urban Meyer then prank-called Bret Bielema pretending to be an ACC quarterback.

Meanwhile, Nick Saban left to make an “important” recruiting phone call during this portion, which the group found kind of odd, but it was probably nothing.


The Strength of Knile Davis (Arkansas): He’s fast, but he’s not DAT fast. What he is, however, is a physical specimen capable of benching 415 pounds and squatting 750 pounds. He also did a chin up with 139 pounds tied to his waist (which equates to 364 total pounds), and that's bordering insanity.

Although Davis is coming off a rather serious ankle injury, his strength is simply off the charts, and we could not pass it up. The committee looked at a few other bigger backs, but none really stood out quite like Davis did.

Nick Saban tried convincing the group that he knew how to “bottle him up,” but Mack Brown responded with a timely “YOU MAD, BRO?”, which instantly quieted Saban and surprised the rest of us. 


The Hands of Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina): Although Lattimore is better than everyone when healthy, he’s also an absolutely tremendous pass-catcher, which is where he comes into play here. That’s not an insult to his combination of unique abilities, but instead, acknowledgment of something that’s not appreciated enough. 

He averaged nearly 15 yards a reception his freshman year, and he could be as dangerous catching balls out of the backfield as he is running through the middle. 

When we alerted Steve Spurrier that his star player had been given this prestigious honor of being selected, he spent the next few minutes cursing us out on speaker phone for: a) interrupting his round of golf for this nonsense and b) not being invited.


The Heart of Rex Burkhead (Nebraska): No runner in the country runs harder than Burkhead, who carried the ball at least 35 times in a game twice last season. 

He’s big, he’s strong, he runs well for his size and he grinds out every yard possible. Now, that's a cliché-ish statement that gets used more often than it should, but if you watched him run (and the committee certainly has), then you are well aware of the effort he showcases on every play.


Mack Brown wasn’t in favor of including a Nebraska player since the Cornhuskers bolted from the Big 12, but I pushed the rest of the group hard on this one. I also promised Urban Meyer that he could have my extra Snack Pack my wife packed for me, and that pretty much sealed it.  


The Vision of Montee Ball (Wisconsin): Although none of his physical traits really jump off the page like some of the others included, Ball’s patience and knack for finding an opening is a quality that most backs simply do not possess.

He’s an intelligent runner who seems to disappear behind his massive offensive line and come out the other side with a big gain. He moves chains, and 39 total touchdowns in a single season is quite the feat, regardless of what you think of Wisconsin's 2011 competition.

The committee was unanimous in selecting Ball, although Urban Meyer used this as motivation to recruit a few Wisconsin commits while the decision was being made. He then prank-called Bret Bielema one more time, because, well, why not.

Our running back is complete, although our genetic mock-up has already verbally committed to Alabama. You are not surprised.