It is tough for many small school prospects to make a name for themselves in the NFL, especially at running back. Does Benny Lemay have what it takes to succeed?
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The 2020 NFL draft class is one of the best classes we have had in recent years, on the offensive side especially. There is a slew of talented running backs who have the skill set to be an every-down back in today’s NFL. Most, if not all, of the current running backs, were Power 5 conference players. For a position that requires you to be successful in so many aspects of the game, it is tough for the small school guys to get any love. Benny Lemay comes from the UNC Charlotte 49ers and is set for the NFL draft. Let’s see if he has what it takes for the NFL.
Benny College Bio
- 41 games, 596 rushing attempts, 3,232 rushing yards, 5.4 yards per carry, 22 TDs
- 54 receptions, 640 receiving yards, 11.9 yards per reception, 6 receiving TDs
As a freshman, LeMay appeared in six games and made one start. He only had 34 rushing attempts for 175 rushing yards and chipped in 5 receptions for 28 yards. LeMay truly became relevant during his sophomore season. He played in 11 games and made eight starts. LeMay had two 100 yard rushing games that season, one against Florida International where he posted 178 rushing yards, and another against North Carolina A&T where he posted 158 yards. He finished his sophomore year with 732 rushing yards and 88 receiving yards.
LeMay exploded on the scene in his junior year where he piled up 1,243 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. His receiving prowess showed up more as well, tacking on 282 receiving yards on only 21 receptions for an average of 13.4 yards per reception. He finished 2nd in C-USA in rushing and 20th in the FBS. LeMay also had the second-most rushing yards in a single season in Charlotte history en route to Second Team All Conference-USA.
LeMay’s senior season was more of the same: 1,082 rushing yards and 242 receiving yards. He led C-USA in all-purpose yards per game with 120.4. LeMay finished the season as First Team All Conference-USA and was on the Doak Walker Award watch list (the nation’s top running back).
Strengths of Benny Lemay
Benny LeMay has a very muscular frame with tree trunks for legs, which gives him the power to move piles with his legs. At 5’9” and 215 lbs, LeMay lowers his pad level to absorb contact and has exceptional contact balance. He runs with patience and his vision is solid as well. Watch these two clips, the first during the Senior Bowl where he finishes his run strong for the score, the second where he shows great patience then hits the hole for a second score:
The East extend their lead!@CharlotteFTBL RB Benny LeMay runs it for the score 💪
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 18, 2020
Benny LeMay for the lead 💪
The East go up late!
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 18, 2020
Considering his frame, LeMay has plus agility and lateral movement. He’s capable in the passing game as well, having averaged 262 receiving yards over the last two years of his college career. He really thrives as a blocker, where he is superb in pass protection but is also a great lead blocker in the run game.
Weaknesses of Benny Lemay
LeMay has many good tools as a runner but lacks speed and burst. When watching tape this jumps out the most—holes open up and he sees them, but just lacks the explosiveness through them. His top-end speed is also below average. Though LeMay is a very capable pass catcher, he catches a little too much with his body, but this is less of a negative and more something that he can improve upon.
40 Yard Dash: 4.75 seconds
Broad Jump: 112 inches
Bench Press: 24 reps
3 Cone Drill: DNP
Vertical: 28.5 inches
20 Yard Shuttle: DNP
LeMay has many of the tools that make a running back successful in the NFL. One big thing that will hold him back, however, is his speed. Though this is not necessarily a trait that means he will not be productive, GM’s love pure athleticism when going through prospects.
That said, LeMay does have great power and is good in the receiving game. Because of this, I think it would be smart of LeMay to make a conversion to fullback. His blocking prowess and hands would allow him to stay on the field and he could also mix in with the run game in a Kyle Juszcyck type of role.