Notre Dame continues to pound the southeastern part of the country for running backs and this time their arrows are pointed at Georgia’s very own Nick Chubb. The 2014 prospect can do a little bit of everything and there aren’t too many of those things he doesn’t do well. Besides the Fighting Irish offer that came last month, Chubb has collected 14 other offers from big name schools such as Alabama, Florida, and Ohio State. Unfortunately for Irish fans he seems content with staying close to home and as recent as last week named Georgia, Tennessee, and Auburn as the top three schools he’d like to attend. However, with as crazy as the recruiting process can get one can never tell what’s going to happen in the end. His junior season he rushed for 2,700 yards and scored 38 touchdowns.
At 5-foot-10 and nearly 215 pounds Chubb has the perfect running back frame that allows him to play physical and at the same time use his low center of gravity to show off his athleticism. He’s a thick, powerful looking player who fills out his uniform nicely and without a doubt passes the eye test. I hate describe him as a “bowling ball” because there’s much more to him than just being a physical runner, but he has that look to him when he’s in pads.
The Cedartown High School star could grow to be 5-foot-11 or 6-foot, but I don’t feel it’s necessary for him to compete on the next level. At his current height he can still be just as effective running the ball than if he was a couple of inches taller. How much weight he gains over the next few years will be interesting to watch, but he has the frame to hold about 10 more pounds of muscle. He has good speed, but he’s going to want to keep what he has and not lose any of it because he gets too heavy. I’m sure that’s an aspect of his growth that his next school will keep a close eye on.
As I mentioned, Chubb has good, not elite, speed and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds. Believe me though, he has plenty in the tank and the fact that he’s not in the 4.4’s doesn’t hinder his ability on the field. Once he sees his chance in the open field and kicks into high gear he’s gone. I tend to lean toward him being one of those players whose game speed is faster than his track speed.
I really like this kid’s balance when he’s running with the ball. The only way you know a player has balance is how he reacts when he’s knocked off their own balance. There are several instances when he’s breaking a tackle or deflecting a defender off his legs and he manages to stay on his feet and continue running. Most players will lose their balance after getting hit and fall to the ground, but he has the agility and footwork to stay on his feet and extend the play.
Chubb has tremendous lower half strength and squats well over 500 pounds. He easily powers his way through arm tackles while his legs keep churning forward. There were also a few film clips where defenders who were trying to tackle him low were bouncing off his legs as he was running. He’ll lower the shoulder if he has to as well and his upper body strength allows him to deliver a blow to would-be tacklers.
Chubb has the versatility to do multiple things out of the backfield. He has the strength and overall toughness to run as a power back/fullback type, but is also fast and athletic enough to be an every down I back as well. He can pick up the tough yards inside the tackles and at the same time take a toss-sweep and pick his way to the outside while on his way to 60-yard touchdown run.
He has a no-nonsense attitude as a running back and if you’re looking for a player who dances around a lot this isn’t your guy. He hits the hole or seam with force and there’s no hesitation – it’s just downhill right now and get positive yards. I believe a big part of this is his vision and ability to read blocks while he’s going full speed. If you’re an offensive lineman this is the type of player you want to block for because you know he’ll go where he’s supposed to go and if it isn’t there he’ll create something on his own.
If I have a concern about Chubb it’s his ability to run the zone scheme. Not that I don’t think he can do it, but from what I saw on film his high school team doesn’t run it very often. He ran a lot of toss, counter, power, dive, and a little bit of option, which is what I would do too if I had a player who ran like he does. In the end, with the way he runs downhill and sees the field I don’t believe it will be a problem, but it will take some getting used to as it's a bit different than gap runs.
He has very good hands as a receiver and is effective in the screen game as well as running normal routes out of the backfield. He looks the ball into his hands and makes sure he catches it before taking off into the flat. As is the case with most running backs that have his type of talent, once he’s in the open field after a catch and has room to maneuver he can make great things happen for an offense.
I like Chubb and what he can offer to whichever team ends up lucky enough to sign him. I’m a bit surprised Scout only has him as a three-star recruit because I believe he has all the qualities you want from a running back. He’s fast, tough, agile, has good vision, hits the hole hard, and can catch. He may not be as elusive or shifty as some of the backs in his class, but he makes up for it with how powerful and strong he runs with the ball. He would be a good fit in Notre Dame’s offense as a gap play running back and with a little bit of guidance would eventually become a quality zone running back as well.
Size: 85 (perfect size for a the way he runs)
Strength: 90 (powerful runner who can break tackles)
Speed: 85 (may not be elite, but he has plenty to be successful)
Athletic Skills: 80 (great balance and footwork – stays on his feet really well)
Technique: 85 (handles the ball, stays within the play being run, hits the hole like a hammer)
Versatility: 85 (can run inside or outside and is a solid receiver)
Upside: 4.0 (his ability to do multiple things well will get him on the field sooner rather than later)
Overall Grade: 4.0
90-100 – Elite/Exceptional: Skill set is rare and gives prospect ability to dominate
80-89 – Very Good/Outstanding: Skill set is a significant strength
70-79 – Average: Skill set is solid, not a significant weakness
60-69 – Below Average: Skill set is not a strength for this player and could become a liability
50-59 – Very Poor: Prospect does not possess this trait and it is a definite liability
OVERALL/UPSIDE GRADE KEY
5 – Elite: Player is one of the best players at his position nationally, potentially dominant
4 – Very Good/Outstanding: Player is a potential standout and starter, could also play early
3 – Solid: Player is a potential contributor, could eventually start down the road
2 – Below Average: Player does not possess the talent to be a significant contributor
1 – Poor: Let’s be honest, Notre Dame is not going to bring in anyone with a one!