RUNNING BACK, TEXAS A&M, NFL DRAFT ELIGIBLE IN 2022
Isaiah Spiller is a 6’1” 225 lbs. running back that was a former four-star recruit. He was 247’s ninth-ranked running back in the 2019 class and the 23rd ranked player from Texas. Spiller entered the collegiate recruiting scene with notoriety and garnered interest from other Power Five programs before ultimately committing to the Aggies.
PAST PRODUCTION (COLLEGE STATS)
Unlike Kyren Williams and Kevin Harris, both of whom your author has recently featured, Isaiah Spiller burst onto the scene his true-freshman season. Spiller earned the starting RB role and led the Aggies in rushing against a formidable SEC schedule in 2019. That season he ran for 934 rushing yards and ten TDs with a 5.4 ypc average. Spiller added on 29 receptions for another 203 yards, fully displaying his skillset to be an every-down back.
This past season, Spiller churned out 1,036 rushing yards and nine rushing TDs for 5.5 ypc in three fewer games due to the pandemic-shortened season. He caught another 20 passes for 193 more yards out of the backfield. While your author admittedly criticized Spiller early in the season for logging the majority of his production against weak opponents, ultimately he proved your author wrong. Aside from his game against Alabama, Spiller produced each week against respectable SEC opponents.
Spiller boasts the size and versatility to become a feature-back at the next level. He is not as elusive as a smaller back like Kyren Williams, but he displays lateral mobility to make defenders miss at the LOS. He is a fast accelerator but lacks the home run speed. Spiller’s best attributes as a runner are his patience to let plays develop and his balance. He routinely absorbs contact and stays on his feet, as evidenced by his 639 yards after contact this past season.
Texas A&M Isaiah Spiller among SEC RBs:
▪️ 6.9 yards per carry (1st)
▪️ 256 yards after contact (1st)
▪️ 17 forced missed tackles (1st)pic.twitter.com/1Ri8KjZn7G
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) October 12, 2020
His greatest area of improvement from 2019 to 2020 was his increased willingness to keep his frame square to the LOS and quickly accelerate downhill to obtain positive yardage. Additionally, he displayed toughness as he played in the Orange Bowl with a broken toe.
Welcome to the Isaiah Spiller show
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 3, 2021
Isaiah Spiller should again pace the Aggies for backfield touches in his third season. He and teammates Devon Achane and Ainias Smith will be expected to shoulder the load on offense as the Aggies ready a new signal-caller this offseason. Last year’s starter, senior Kellon Mond, has graduated and declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Additionally, Texas A&M will only return one starter from its 2020 offensive line.
With all the departures in talent and veteran leadership on the offense, it is reasonable to expect the focus of opposing defenses to be shutting down the run game. Expect Spiller to face more crowded fronts than he did his previous seasons. Reasonably, his production as a rusher could suffer next season. However, Spiller may be called on for more check-downs in the short-passing game.
What’s the outlook for the next 3-5 years?
Your author has Isaiah Spiller ranked in the top-tier of the 2022 RB class, teetering back and forth for the top spot with Breece Hall. With a 2021 season as successful as his last, he could usurp Hall as the consensus RB1 in 2022. Spiller will most likely declare for the NFL Draft after next season, as he already has an NFL skill set. He is competent and experienced in protection, and offers the option to keep him in the game on passing, as well as short-yardage downs. Spiller has the size, abilities, and production of a watered-down Ezekiel Elliott as a prospect. However, he still runs high and needs to improve his pad level moving forward.
Because his rushing production may suffer in 2021, savvy devy owners might utilize that as an opportunity to acquire Spiller under market value. His size, skillset, and production should earn him a day two draft grade, and you can expect him to win a feature-back role early in his career. Expect him to be an early-to-mid first-round pick in dynasty rookie drafts in 2022.
What are the player’s strengths and weaknesses?
- NFL ready size at 6’1” 225 lbs.
- Outstanding contact balance and the ability to accumulate yards after contact
- Diverse skillset that allows him to stay on the field every down
- Competent and experienced as a pass protector
- Runs high and needs to learn to run behind his pads with a lower center of gravity
- Does not possess an extra gear and will be caught from behind by NFL DBs on long runs
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