Shady Shines in the Spotlight

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

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

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.

Topics: Eagles Draft Grades, LeSean McCoy College Stats, LeSean McCoy Eagles, LeSean McCoy's Best College Games

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  • Jim

    This is very exciting, those are great numbers. As an Eagles fan, I’m waiting for the bottom to drop out and something not to pan out. I know it’s early but my Philadelphia skepticim shines through.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott Tunstall

    Jim – You wouldn’t be an Eagles fan if you didn’t think that!! The key thing is to enjoy the good times when the sky isn’t falling. Don’t worry, it won’t all be peaches and ice cream ;o)

  • 85

    I’m a Birds fan and a Pitt alum, so I’m beyond excited about this guy. And while those numbers look great, it’s worth noting that at no point during Shady’s two season at Pitt did the Panthers have anything resembling a passing attack. Shady was seeing 8-man fronts at all times, and thrived. He does run between the tackles and he’s capable of doing it well. The only thing he needs to work on as far as running the ball is knowing when to stop chopping his feet looking to break one long, and taking the 2 and 3 yard gains. For what it’s worth, he didn’t have a fantastic line last season and he did clearly improve from ’07 to ’08. This kid’s a player.

  • http://landryhat davedallasfan

    ocho-cinco maybe right. i have watched this guys’ high-lites…..wow good back he’ll be a great backup to westbrook. if and when westbrook goes down, this kid will be the starter from maybe then on, with westbrook being that situational player??? hey they’re gonna do the same thing in dallas with felix, choice, and barber? the kid maybe better suited to take the every down beating and enable westbrook to still get his touches in the slot? he’ll stay healthy for 16, thats for sure.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott Tunstall

    85 – Thanks for the knowledge and scouting report. The fact that he toted the rock 308 times last year says a lot about his durability. He weighed in at 211 during the minicamp, which I think is heavier than Westbrook. Looks like a smooth runner.

    Dave – Westbrook is still the present, but Shady looks to be the future. He’s only twenty years old, so he should be even stronger when he takes over the featured back role in a couple years.

  • http://landryhat davedallasfan

    yeah, and as a cowboy fan, that is scary. you got a very good back coming in with westbrook still the man, well, that was a good draft move…..very good. thats one of the things i’m excited about here in dallas to see us put that empashis on the running game. it is now the strength of our offense, where last year it was the pass. you see how far that got us? i think you guys are thinking more of the same. mcnabb and your air attack is still, and now with maclin, dangerous as ever, but with mccoy the run can be relied more also. still like that run game to keep the D fresh. i think it’ll be you guys and us for the title? the giants will be in there tough, but there air game just don’t have it without plaxico. wash. is a year or two away yet from contending. can’t wait.

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