UCONN's Jordan Todman is a running back that has not gotten a ton of press in terms of being a pro prospect. However, in terms of his skillset, running style and long speed, he may be one of the top talents at running back to come out in the next couple of drafts.
Todman stands at 5 foot 9 and 193 pounds. As a high school student in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Todman went under the radar despite 2147 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior. On websites such as Scout.com and Rivals, he was considered a two-star cornerback prospect rather than an offensive threat. Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, however, saw him as a potential star at running back, and snapped him up as quickly as possible.
Connecticut is not a team that plays a lot of freshmen, but Todman was immediately on the field from Day 1. As a backup to 2008 national rushing leader Donald Brown, Todman toted the rock 47 times for 296 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He continued to trend upward as a sophomore, gaining 1,188 yards and scoring 14 times last season for the Huskies, and comes into his junior year as the main man at running back in Storrs.
Todman is extremely explosive, and plays faster than his 4.43 40 time would indicate. He is a bit of a long strider once he gets into the open field, but still has the burst to run away from defenders in pursuit. Todman has great vision to the hole and is able to stride through routinely. He also possesses the elusiveness to evade tacklers in the backfield, and is very hard to bring down.
Todman plays his best against top competition, averaging 5.0 yards per carry in games where the Huskies took on AP Top 25 teams. He is also possibly remembered best for his performance against Notre Dame, where he scored a beautiful rushing touchdown and also returned a kickoff for a score as he spurred the Huskies to an emotional win, their first since the murder of cornerback Jasper Howard.
As a receiver, Todman is improving. He still lets a few passes hit the turf, but he did have 21 receptions last season for 185 yards. With Andre Dixon, who was more comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield, now playing for the UFL’s Hartford Colonials, Todman will be sure to shoulder a greater load in the passing game. He is relatively natural with the ball, but should improve from last season.
Todman’s story is reminiscent of another Big East running back that was once recruited as a corner in Ray Rice. The two are similar physically, though Todman could stand to gain a few more pounds, and I could see Todman having a similar impact in the NFL. Remember, Rice only caught 25 passes as a junior before he declared early for the NFL Draft. I think that Todman could put up around 1,600 to 1,700 yards this year in a stellar UCONN offense, and will have a tough decision regarding whether or not to come out. If he does, I think he could be one of the top backs taken, and will provide whomever takes him with a great offensive threat.
(photo via russellblair.files.wordpress.com)