C.J. Prosise played both safety and wide receiver at Woodberry Forest School in Madison County, Virginia. Most recruiting ranking has him listed as a safety, but Prosise chose to go to Notre Dame to play as a wide receiver. However, despite solid production as a redshirt sophomore, he failed to really crack the WR depth chart at Notre Dame, and had his position switched to RB for his junior year.
He was slated to be the backup, but the starter, Tarean Folston, tore his ACL after just three carries in 2015. This pushed Prosise into the starting role, where he performed admirably. In just his second start, he nearly rushed for 200 yards and scored 3 TDs against Georgia Tech. After Notre Dame’s loss in the Fiesta Bowl, Prosise decided to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
|May 20, 1994
|Bench (225 lbs.)
|20 Yard Shuttle
|3 Cone Drill
|40 Yard Dash (10 yd. split)
|60 Yard Shuttle
|Notre Dame University (2013-2015)
|156 att, 1,032 yards, 6.6 ypc, 11 TDs
|26 rec, 308 yards, 11.8 ypc, 1 TDs
|10 att, 126 yards, 12.6 ypc, 1 TDs
|29 rec, 516 yards, 17.8 ypc, 2 TDs
|0 att, 0 yards, 0 ypc, 0 TDs
|7 rec, 72 yards, 10.3 ypc, 0 TDs
- Converted from WR to RB last season, inexperienced at the position
- Shows great burst to the outside and up the middle
- When running inside, tries to spin off contact instead of lowering pads into contact
- Despite consistently failing to lower pads, shows good drive and effort to power forward after contact
- Has flashes of elusiveness where he makes defenders miss but lacks consistency, sometimes he looks great and other times he gets taken down when he shouldn’t
- Fine top level speed
- Understands how to use blockers, good to see from someone inexperienced at the position
- Generally displays patience on runs inside but will occasionally get impatient and run into linemen
- Ball carrying technique sometimes lapsed
- As a former receiver, more advanced than the vast majority of RBs at route running
- Solid catch radius, but somewhat inconsistent hands (probably part of the reason for the position switch)
- Natural runner after the catch
- Moves forward towards line to block defenders, which is good
- Poor punch. Often gets knocked back towards QB, but does have the space to get knocked back
- Generally stays engaged with defender
- Never saw him attempt a cut block; no issues with his chip blocks
This article has multiple pages, examining different traits that Prosise displays, and discussing whether or not those traits bode well for his transition to the NFL game. The first three pages deal with his running traits, while the fourth page covers his work in the passing game and the last includes projections for Prosise in the NFL.
In order to watch Prosise, I went to Draft Breakdown, which has six of his college games.
When watching Prosise run, it’s important to remember that he’s new to the position. Many RB top prospects have been playing the position at a high level relative to their competition for 5-8 years, which allows them to develop nuance in their game.
With his lack of experience, it’s clear that Prosise doesn’t have the nuances of the position down. He has some strong natural traits, such as his speed and burst, and also displays natural second level vision in the open field.
However, there are also areas of the game where Prosise needs work, both from a mental and technical aspect. His decision making and vision at the line were very good for a player of his experience, and with more experience he should reach the level one should expect from NFL RBs. Additionally, he failed to show good pad level to finish runs. His ball security also needs work. Finally, Prosise lacks flexibility compared to other RB prospects, which hurts his short area quickness.
Prosise was not heavily tasked with running in between the tackles. A big component of “vision” is understanding when holes are going to open, and that shows most clearly on interior runs. Prosise didn’t have too many opportunities to shows these skills, but he did have some, and at least improved over the course of the season and did well cutting off of his linemen.
Many of Prosise’s runs were aimed at the edge of the defense, which allowed him to work in space. This uses second level vision, which Prosise showed very positive traits. However, he also didn’t let this mindset affect his decision making, and showed savvy to keep runs to the inside and not bounce runs that were doomed to fail.
The first play shows a lack of vision from Prosise in his second start. He runs right into his blocker. That’s a pretty big issue, but it doesn’t hurt him on the play because he breaks through some defenders to pick up a very nice gain.
The second play shows very nice second level vision to cut back across defenders and pick up a big chunk of extra yardage. On the third play, Prosise makes a solid decision to continue to the inside rather than bounce to the outside with a defender waiting. While the play doesn’t gain many yards, it is a smart run.
The fourth play contrasts the first play, and shows Prosise doing a good job of setting up the defender and cutting off of his blocker (as opposed to running into him). On the final play, he shows the ability to make the correct read based on the position of his blockers.
One really positive trait that Prosise shows on tape is stop/start acceleration that allows him to burst past defenders. His burst is in the upper echelon of this draft class.
The first play shows Prosise planting his foot in the ground, and exploding up field and getting past the defense. He then has the second level speed to run past everyone into the end zone. On the second play, Prosise shows good burst to the edge and also the ability to head fake inside to create room to allow him to turn the corner.
On the third play, Prosise shows fantastic and instant acceleration to the edge after a slight hesitation to set the move up. On the fourth play, he hurdles a guy and still bursts past defenders. On the final play, he flies by a defender to the edge.