I've gone through the tape of Saturday's game between Stanford and Notre Dame and it offered a first real chance to look at Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford). You can't help but be impressed with his production - he has 1736 rushing yards in 2009 and an incredible 26 TD's. It's Heisman quality and he deserves to be in contention for that award. I don't think he'll get it because I expect Colt McCoy will, although I wouldn't necessarily agree with that considering Texas' soft schedule and McCoy's struggles earlier in the year. But alas - he plays for an unbeaten team, he's high profile and he would've won it last year (deservedly) had it not been for one brilliant play by Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell.
I've seen some suggest on this blog and elsewhere that Gerhart could be a first or second round pick. I cannot agree with that. He's a very entertaining running back and the kind you want to root for - all power and endeavour fighting for every yard. He's a back that takes what the defense offers and is incredibly durable. I don't want to under play his athleticism because it's better than your average work horse. However, he is what he is - and teams don't draft his type of running back early. He's not got breakaway speed and he won't make anyone miss. Gerhart's not a great cut back runner and I didn't see any real evidence of value to the passing game. His pass protection was a little disappointing, I expected a ferocious blocker to match his running style, but it never really happened.
If he does declare for 2010 and goes to a team that already owns an established ground game, I think he could be a surprising success. He'll beat you up through the middle, he's by no means a slouch so he can take it outside and pick up yardage but he's not going to bounce wide and break off. Gerhart could be a great compliment to somebody like Ray Rice in Baltimore. In my opinion, he could go in that fourth round range and my expectations would be relatively low at the next level because he is one dimensional. However - that doesn't mean he isn't great to watch on a Saturday.