Knowshon Moreno Is The Next Big Thing

Erick SpaltiCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2009

I've been asked several times today why I'm so high on Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno. I have this to say: What's not to love?

Anyone who's ever seen this kid play football knows why people play the game. He thoroughly loves football. He loves to hurdle defenders, stiff-arm wannabe tacklers, and juke All-American linebackers. Moreno shakes off any of the "all-about-me" attitude by constantly turning praise towards his coaches and teammates.

Let's look at this with a different light, however.

I want you to close your eyes and imagine this, "And with the first pick in the 2009 NFL draft, The Lions select Georgia QB Matt Stafford."

Not that hard to believe, is it? Now, I want you to think about whether or not that would have been possible without teams having to consistently account for Moreno's whereabouts on the field the past two seasons.

The stats speak for themselves. After redshirting his freshman year, he received his big break when Thomas Brown suffered a broken collarbone during the 2007 season. He responded with the following numbers: 248 attempts, 1,336 yards (5.4 yards per carry), 14 touchdowns, and 20 receptions for 253 yards.

He followed that up in 2008 with 250 attempts, 1,400 yards (5.6 ypc), 16 TDs, and 33 receptions for 392 yards and two touchdowns.

Now remember he did this with a Heisman Trophy-caliber quarterback on a pass-first team. He wasn't relied upon to carry the team, but still was a threat every second he had the ball. He's quite possibly the best Georgia runner since Herschel Walker, and that's pretty high praise, but this kid deserves every bit of it.

Here's a quote from Moreno during a scouting interview, "I've got great blocking skills…helping the team out in any way possible is what I consider my biggest strength. I want to get stronger and faster and work on my foot speed and finding holes better."

Moreno grew up in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., where he led his high school team to three state championships. He rushed for 1,629 yards on 153 carries and scored 28 touchdowns in 11 games as a senior.

He finished his high school career with 6,268 career rushing yards, 128 touchdowns, and 1,782 points. His rushing yards rank second all-time in New Jersey high school history, while he is also still New Jersey's all-time leading scorer.

His character is concrete, as his only off-field issue was a noise pollution ticket on-campus in 2006, his work-ethic is impeccable, and he strives to be the best player he can be.

Given the potential, I'd say the sky is the limit.