LeSean McCoy was given that chance to start as a freshman, and to regain his former reputation as one of the best running backs in the nation. In 2007, LeSean not only played for the Pittsburgh Panthers, but broke freshman running back records set by Tony Dorsett by running for over 1300 yards and 14 touchdowns. In 2008, he scored 23 touchdowns and and the conclusion of his sophomore season, declared for the 2009 NFL draft.
The Philadelphia Eagles found themselves at a crossroads going into the draft in 2009. The team had made a significant number of changes on the roster, the most significant was the loss of Brian Dawkins to free agency. But the team had also lost the rights to Correll Buckhalter, a running back from the University of Nebraska who had complimented the running game with Brian Westbrook, but who also had left for free agency. In fact, the team had lost the services of six players who had made significant contributions to the team. They had addressed their need for offensive tackle, by trading for the services of Jason Peters from the Buffalo Bills. But their needs were many: wide receiver, running back, corner back, and tight end.
In the first round, the Eagles had made a selection for Jeremy Maclin, a wide receiver from the University of Missouri. In round two, with the 53rd pick, and after other teams had selected Knowshon Moreno, Donald Brown, and Beanie Wells, the Philadelphia Eagles selected running back LeSean McCoy from the University of Pittsburgh. Andy Reid thought LeSean was a first round talent, and was overjoyed to discover the running back he coveted in the draft to be sitting there in round two. Shady also noticed the names and teams of running back selections chosen before him, a point he continues to make in interviews or tweets to this day.
“I’m going to let everybody know, I was the best running back of my class. Beanie, he can’t touch me. Knowshon Moreno, he can’t touch me. And that Donald Brown, he definitely can’t touch me.” – LeSean McCoy