It was a warm September Saturday night in 2017 and I'd watched football all day. I'd been to Montlake to watch my Dawgs thrash Fresno and had come home to watch the ABC Saturday night game. Now it was after 10pm but I didn't care, I wanted more football. So I lay in bed and flipped around to see what was still on and stumbled across Stanford getting all they could handle from San Diego State. It was the middle of the third quarter and I hunkered down for what became another hour and a half of football thanks to a power outage at Quallcomm.
As familiar as I was with Stanford's team, I was that unfamiliar with the Aztecs. Stanford had a monster of a DT in Harrison Phillips and a stud safety in Justin Reid, I knew how solid this defense was. San Diego State had zero in their QB so all they could do was hand the ball off...and hand the ball off they did. Over and over and over again. 5 yards, 8 yards, 6 yards, 10 yards. Seemingly every single play, to the same guy, and the Cardinal had no answer. "Who the %$@^ is this guy?" I asked to myself. From that day forward I was sold on Rashaad Penny.
Penny ended that day touching the ball 37 times from scrimmage for over 200 yards against a tough Pac 12 defense in a 20-17 San Diego St upset win.
Penny ended his Senior season as the nations leading rusher with 2248 yards on the ground and 23 touchdowns. He ran for 400 more yards on the season than his QB threw for!
So why wasn't he mentioned with the likes of Chubb, Michael, Guice. Simple. He wasnt an SEC running back. Heck, he wasn't even a BCS conference running back. Should that concern us?
Quick, who led the NFL in rushing last year? Good job, it was Kareem Hunt. Where did he go to school? Toledo. If you have game you have game.
I'm not professing guaranteed stardom for Penny with the Hawks but it's about time they invested in an offensive playmaker. The 3 best running backs in Seahawks history Curt Warner, Shaun Alexander and Marshawn Lynch have one thing in common. They were all first round picks. Teams invested high capital in those guys and it paid off, and I got a hunch this investment will pay off too.