The Division II National Champion University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs could help supply Miami with one of their biggest offseason needs: a running back.
Isaac Odim, the All-American tailback for the Dogs, owns almost every single game, season, and career record at UMD. He is capable of being an every-down back in the league and could be overlooked come draft day.
Odim is a special type of player who almost didn't get a chance to play football. According to the Star Tribune, Odim was a star high school athlete and student who was heading to college at Yale. Unfortunately, he ran into some legal trouble, and Yale withdrew his acceptance.
After a year of football-less junior college and another year at a community college, he landed in Duluth, Minnesota. With his past behind him, he grew up fast, acquiring a 3.85 GPA as a mechanical engineer major and rushing for 4,245 yards on 589 attempts in 2.5 years at UMD.
He was a major part of UMD's National Championship in 2008, rushing for over 1,500 yards as a sophomore. He was also a key player in their 2010 championship prior to his season-ending knee injury, a torn meniscus, as a senior. Before his injury, he rushed for 796 yards and scored 17 times through six games.
According to nfldraftscout.com, Odim was a favorite for the NCAA DII Player of the Year Award, or the Harlon Hill Award, prior to the injury. It was the only major injury he has ever had, and he is expected to make a full recovery.
Being a DII prospect who missed part of his senior year, Odim is not expected to be drafted but instead become a rookie free agent. His scout grade is a 30 on ESPN Insider, which means he's a borderline draft prospect, so he could get drafted as the sixth or seventh rounder.
He won't wow anyone with his speed. As far as straight-line speed goes, he compares to Mark Ingram (kind of ironic considering Ingram is a mock favorite for Miami). He runs about a 4.6 40 yard dash, but considering he's a 6'0" 220 lb. prospect, that isn't too shabby. Size is his strength.
If you put on film of basically any UMD game, you'll see the type of runner Odim is. He's a bruising back. His strengths are shedding tacklers and making people miss. He is much shiftier than you would think by looking at his size, and he wont disappoint you when it comes to picking up extra yards. He had collegiate success catching balls out of the backfield as well.
Some people will read about his legal troubles in high school and raise a red flag, but they would be fools to judge him strictly from that. He was nothing less than a respected team captain and leader in college.
His grades show how brilliant he is in the classroom as well. Two college athletes received an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship from CoSIDA. One was Odim. The other was Quarterback Greg McElroy (you know, the guy who scored a 43 out of 50 on the 2011 Wonderlic exam).
Jeff Ireland said during the combine he planned to check under every rock for offensive talent. I sure hope he's looking under the DII rock and finds this potential gem of a running back. Finding talent in the later rounds and rookie free agency such as Odim would allow Miami to address other needs in the draft, such as offensive line and a speedy receiver among other positions. He is the type of guy I would want to play for my program.
According to John Nowacki of the Duluth News Tribune via nfldraftscout.com, Odim is fully aware his draft stock took a hit when he got hurt, but his confidence and spirit didn't falter.
“I had never really been injured, which was seen as a good thing, so this will lower my stock a little bit,” Odim said.
“But as long as I can get back to full strength, full speed, I should have a shot to have a pro day or make a tryout and hopefully get into a minicamp.”
A minicamp invite from the Miami Dolphins would be a welcomed chapter to Odim's already intriguing story.