Devin Singletary is a relatively unknown running back in the 2019 class. He burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2016, running for 1,016 yards on 151 carries (6.7 yards per carry) and scored twelve touchdowns. What makes that stat line even more impressive is that he had a slightly lesser share of his team’s carries than his running mate, Buddy Howell.
Singletary did the majority of his damage late in the season. Through October, he only had 62 carries for 295 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. November was his month. He ran for 721 yards on 89 carries (8.1 yards per carry) and scored ten touchdowns. Those November numbers were good for fourth nationally only taking a back seat to current NFL players, D’Onta Foreman, Aaron Jones, and Christian McCaffrey. Florida Atlantic’s offensive line was a mash unit at that point in the season, and his production was a testament to his ability to produce a large portion of those numbers for himself.
Devin earned his nickname, “Motor,” as a child. That is a very apt name considering the speed and power with which he plays the game. Singletary was a lightly recruited prospect from Delray Beach, Florida. He became his high school’s second all-time rushing leader with 4,975 yards. Singletary initially committed to the University of Illinois but elected to stay closer to home. These two high school clips encapsulate who “Motor” is as a running back.
4TD's and 240yards 2⃣🔋🎮🎥 pic.twitter.com/D0IkNsyvWA
— MOTOR5️⃣ (@_motor_2) September 12, 2015
— Audible Sports (@AudibleSports) June 1, 2016
Singletary’s high school team ran him on a lot of tosses similar to the above clips. That is a great play for him because it allows him to maximize his patience, vision and cutting ability. Four NFL running backs that Singletary says he admires are Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Duke Johnson, and LeSean McCoy. I see elements of all of these players in the above clips. One way to describe his running style is “instinctive.” When I watch him, I often wonder if he sees the field similarly to how Neo sees the battlefield in the Matrix?
These incredible displays of vision, lateral agility and burst are not limited to his high school playing days. As you can see below, Singletary showcased those traits at the collegiate level.
Slide to the ⬅️ left.
Slide to the ➡️ right.
Take it back now ya'll.
Motor's 66 yard TD! pic.twitter.com/rK1Lt6Tba7
— FAU Football (@FAU_Football) November 6, 2016
I could watch that run on a loop for hours on end. Here is another run where his elite vision and agility are displayed at both the line of scrimmage and then multiple times in the open field.
— beIN COLLEGE SPORTS (@beINCOLLEGE) November 27, 2016
Florida Atlantic used their more traditional power back, Buddy Howell, in many of their goal-line scenarios. While I wouldn’t describe Singletary’s greatest attribute as his power, he does display very good strength and determination that help him succeed when the field is condensed in the red zone.
— beIN COLLEGE SPORTS (@beINCOLLEGE) November 26, 2016
— Campus Insiders (@CampusInsiders) November 19, 2016
Singletary proved that he can be an every-down-back. In 2016, he was targeted twenty-eight times as a pass catcher and hauled in twenty-six of them for an other-worldly 93% catch rate. I believe it’s safe to infer he has tremendous hand and grip strength as he coupled those receiving numbers with elite ball-security – zero fumbles on 151 carries. From a college productivity standpoint, he broke out as nineteen-year-old true freshman and will now be the beneficiary of playing in former Baylor coordinator, Kendal Briles’, running back friendly, tempo offense.
Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic’s newly minted head coach, had this to say after a spring practice about Singletary, “I thought No. 5 showed some pretty special moves. Got a chance to be a really special player.” Listed at 5’9” and 200 pounds, Singletary possesses the strength and girth needed to be a feature back in the NFL. He displays spectacular patience, vision, agility, and burst. Singletary carried the ball seventeen or more times in five games, proving he can shoulder a heavy workload. He has excellent hands and doesn’t put the ball on the ground. Singletary does it all and does it a very high level. At this point, I haven’t seen Singletary on any Devy radars and I believe he is currently one of the most undervalued assets in college football.