Courtesy: Sean Simmers, The Patriot-News (2008)

Shady Shines in the Spotlight

Eagles Nation is abuzz over the newest running back in town, LeSean “Shady” McCoy. There hasn’t been this much excitement over a back since Ricky Watters’ arrival back in 1995. I say Watters, because Brian Westbrook was a largely unknown prospect from Villanova when he was drafted back in 2002. He didn’t showcase all his skills until he became a full-time starter in 2004. That’s when we all realized he was a special player.

But I digress, this post is about Shady, not Westy. McCoy immediately becomes the #2 back. Sorry, Lorenzo Booker. When I evaluate running backs fresh out of college, I like to check how they performed against the top rush defenses in the country. If a guy racks up 180 yards and three scores against some weak sister school from the backwoods of Louisiana, what does that really tell us about him? Ryan Moats blew up a bunch of his opponents in college, but he rarely, if ever, played against top-ranked defenses.

Due to a soft Big East conference the last two years, Shady didn’t get many opportunities to play against the country’s best defenses. However, when he did, he put up some very impressive numbers.

In 2007, McCoy faced three of the nation’s Top 20 rush defenses. Keep in mind, there were 119 Division 1A schools that year. Here’s how he fared:

2007 Season

@ Virginia (#13 rush D – 106.9 ypg) – 19 carries, 86 yards, 1 TD – 3 catches, 4 yards

@ West Virginia (#18 rush D – 112.9 ypg) – 38 carries, 148 yards – 1 catch, 10 yards

Cincinnati (#19 rush D – 114.2 ypg) – 25 carries, 137 yards

Not bad when you consider the 2007 Panthers were 5-7. Shady finished the campaign with 1328 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns and 33 receptions for 244 yards and one score.

In 2008, he faced four Top 20 rush defenses.

2008 Season

Iowa (#9 rush D – 94.0 ypg) – 18 carries, 78 yards, 1 TD – 2 catches, 33 yards

@ South Florida (#10 rush D – 95.2 ypg) - 28 carries, 142 yards, 2 TDs – 3 catches, 23 yards

@ UConn (#16 rush D – 109.8 ypg) – 24 carries, 95 yards, 1 TD – 3 catches, 3 yards

@ Cincinnati (#19 rush D – 115.0 ypg) – 17 carries, 82 yards, 2 TDs – 2 catches, 33 yards

Five of the seven games were on the road. He gained over 100 total yards in all but two contests. His 2008 totals were 1403 yards rushing, 21 touchdowns and 31 receptions for 299 yards. If these numbers are any indication, Shady should be a baller for the Birds.

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