I know what you're thinking. Anyone who knows anything about Pac-10 football knows Stanford's Toby Gerhart. He's not a gem. He's a force to be reckoned with.
Hell, anyone who knows college football knows Gerhart. But even though this may be fairly accurate, his name isn't littered all over ESPN. He's not on the covers of magazines or gracing the headlines of sports websites.
With the history the NFL Draft has bestowed upon us, it's quite likely that NFL GM's and NFL scouts need a refresher course in what to look for in an NFL running back.
I'm sorry, Darren McFadden, but your "proto-type" isn't working. Yours either, Felix Jones. While both of these former Arkansas Razorbacks are athletic specimens, they haven't performed up to expectations, and they also can't stay on the field.
Perhaps scouts and GM's should take a different approach?
Gerhart may not be the fastest back. He runs in the mid 4.5's and 4.6's. He may not be the most athletic, either. While he does possess sound agility and elusiveness, it can't be compared to that of, say, Darren McFadden or Felix Jones.
But his durability, his power, and his lack of fear; those are components to his game that cannot be replaced. Neither can his break-away speed, his vision, and his relentless ability to and knack for attacking defenders, usually many at a time.
Last season was the start of something special, the official unleashing of Toby Gerhart.
In 2008, he compiled 1,136 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Doing this in the Pac-10, while it's not the powerhouse conference it once was, isn't as easy as it seems.
He even put up fine numbers against solid competition last year, as he topped 100 yards rushing against USC, and also chipped-in a score. While proving he could compete against high-level programs, he also proved his durability and consistency, as he recorded eight 100-yard games, and scored at least one touchdown in nine games, including a impressive four-touchdown game against Washington State.
This season, Gerhart is slowly gaining recognition as one of the nations top backs, widely regarded as the 2010 draft's top "power back".
Through seven games, Gerhart has 869 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns, and a 5.2 yards per carry average.
He's strewn-out his solid performances once again, registering five 100-yard game (including a 200-yard game), and scoring at least one touchdown in six of his seven contests.
Gerhart still has a lot to prove to his doubters, the so-called draft "experts", with matches against USC, Arizona, and Notre Dame.
But if you watch the tape on Gerhart, you'll come to see he's already proven everything he has to.