David Montgomery, RB, 5-10, 222, 4.62 (40 yards), junior
Expectations for 2018:
After showing flashes as a true freshman toward the end of 2016, Montgomery emerged as one of college football's best ball-carriers last season as a sophomore. He posted 1,094 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, adding 35 receptions for 288 yards as he helped the Cyclones to a surprising 8-5 record, including upset wins over Oklahoma and TCU (the two teams that faced off in the Big 12 Championship Game).
Montgomery wasn't draft eligible last season as a true sophomore, but NFL scouts couldn't help but notice his impact on Iowa State's offense. He touched the ball 25-plus times in nine of 13 games and is expected to again be a workhorse, both rushing and receiving.
Although he isn't currently viewed as a first-round type of prospect, Montgomery is on the short list of running backs that NFL teams must check out in preparation for the 2019 draft. Along with Oklahoma's Rodney Anderson and Oklahoma State's Justice hill, the Big 12 has three of the best running back prospects in the nation.
What the 2017 tape says:
Lining up flanked to the side of the quarterback in Iowa State's shotgun, zone read offense, Montgomery has an impressive blend of patience and vision, reading his blocks and making quick decisions. Although he lacks the instant acceleration to speed away from pursuit, Montgomery keeps his feet married to his eyes to laterally juke away from defenders, which keeps would-be tacklers off balance.
What scouts enjoy the most about Montgomery's game is his toughness and knack for eluding contact. He uses forward lean between the hashes to run through arm tackles and keep his legs churning, finishing with low pads and always falling forward. His toughness, quick feet and balance allow him to force more missed tackles than the average college back.
Montgomery is a very efficient pass-catcher with quick hands to transition into a runner and create after the catch. He spears the ball well away from his body and presents a sizeable catch radius for the quarterback. Montgomery only runs with the ball in his left hand and has room to improve his ball security.
Considered a two-star running back recruit out of Cincinnati, Montgomery had only two offers from Power Five programs, choosing Iowa State over Illinois. A dual-threat quarterback in high school, he went overlooked despite a productive career at Mount Healthy with 6,666 rushing yards and 91 touchdowns over his career, winning the Division-III Ohio Player of the Year award in 2015.
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