Jay Ajayi was born in London to Nigerian parents, and eventually moved to Texas, where he played High School football. He was considered a 3 Star Recruit out of high school, and chose Boise State. In 2014, he became the first player in NCAA history to rush for 1800 yards and gain 500 yards receiving in the same season. He decided to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft, and is considered one of the top RBs on the board in 2015.
A three star recruit out of high school, Ajayi was redshirted his true freshman season at Boise State. In October of 2011, he was arrested for shoplifting sweatpants, and sentenced to five days in jail. This caused coaches to lose a lot of faith in him, and he nearly got dismissed. He got just 82 carries during his redshirt freshman season, but averaged 6.7 yards per carry for a respectable 548 yards. In 2013, however, the team leaned on him to be a workhorse, and he ran for 1,425 yards and 18 TDs on 249 carries. During his junior season, the team put even more on his shoulders, and he got 347 carries. He turned those carries into 1,823 yards, fourth in Division I, and second in TDs to only Melvin Gordon with 28. He was named a 3rd Team All-American, and decided to forgo his senior season to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
In order to watch Ajayi, I went to Draft Breakdown, which has seven of his college games.
|DOB||June 15, 1993||Bench (225 lb)||19 reps|
|Weight||221 lbs||Broad Jump||121.0″|
|Arms||32″||20 Yard Shuttle||4.10 sec|
|Hands||10″||3 Cone Drill||7.10 sec|
|40 Yard Dash||4.57 sec||60 Yard Shuttle||11.10 sec|
|Boise State University (2011-2014)|
|2014||347 att, 1823 yards, 5.3 ypc, 28 TDs||50 rec, 535 yards, 10.7 ypc, 4 TDs|
|2013||249 att, 1425 yards, 5.7 ypc, 18 TDs||22 rec, 222 yards, 10.1 ypc, 1 TDs|
|2012||82 att, 548 yards, 6.7 ypc, 4 TDs||1 rec, 14 yards, 14 ypc, 0 TDs|
- Big back. Has the size to be a power back in the NFL.
- Has the power to run through tackles and drag defenders.
- Runs upright, which can limit his ability to convert strength to power because of poor leverage.
- Doesn’t have top end speed, but is fast enough.
- Very elusive, especially for his size.
- Vision is questionable. Gets stopped for little to no gain to often. Gets caught running East-West instead of North-South.
- Good acceleration, but doesn’t have special burst like other RBs in this class.
- Does a good job of getting to the edge of the defense and cutting upfield.
- Asset in the passing game. Caught a lot of passes and ran every route a RB runs.
- Good after the catch. Also good at adjusting to awkward catch angles and catching while taking hits.
- Best blocker I’ve seen so far in this class. Can square up and stone blitzers and also cut blocks well.
- Ball security is a big concern. Put the ball on the ground 7 times in his senior season.
Ajayi has the size and power to run through tackles and drag defenders for yards after initial contact. When he gets low he can run into a mess on the line of scrimmage and just run like a train through the defenders. In the NFL he’s going to face bigger, stronger defenders, but I don’t doubt that he’ll be able to carry defenders after him on runs.
With Ajayi’s running style, he doesn’t look all that elusive, but he is. He’s got a very big frame, but is actually pretty fleet on his feet when cutting across the face of defenders. He’s not going to be the most elusive player around but it’s a strong part of his game.
Hitting the edge
Ajayi did a good job of outrunning the defense to the edge and turning the corner upfield and then running along the sidelines. There were a number of runs where he was able to outrun the defense and make it to the endzone. He is also highly capable of taking a dive up the middle and kicking the run to the outside when it would get stuffed otherwise. However, as you’ll see later, this can also cause some very short runs or losses.