RB Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis
HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL): Yazoo City, MS (Yazoo City)
247 RATING: .8280
POSITION RANK: 4
Rushing: 235 rushes, 1,550 yards (6.6 ypc), 14 touchdowns
Receiving: 57 catches, 662 yards (11.6 ypc), 3 touchdowns
Rushing: 231 rushes, 1,459 yards (6.3 ypc), 13 touchdowns
Receiving: 51 catches, 610 yards (12.0 ypc), 3 touchdowns
Kenneth Gainwell Breakdown
Gainwell is one of the most unique college football players we’ve seen in a long time. We’ve seen players that are factors in both the run and pass games, but not to the level that he plays. Though he’ll play for a new coaching staff in 2020, they’ll have no trouble finding ways to get him the football.
We start with the running. Gainwell’s speed isn’t elite, but he can break off big runs at any time. It helps having a balanced offense, but that shouldn’t diminish all of his abilities. His vision is his best trait as a runner, and it helps him break through to the second level, and the biggest reason he averaged 6.6 yards per carry. He is quick enough to get to the edge on a run outside, but shifty enough to make defenders miss in between the tackles. Power isn’t a big part of his game, but he knows that and uses his quickness to make up for it. Running inside and outside are part of his game, but it’s his hands that make him unique.
Many players can play a role in their offense’s passing game, but Gainwell is not your average receiving back. His versatility allows him to thrive as a runner and a receiver. He has the best hands of any running back in the country. His 203-yard, two touchdown game against Tulane showcased his ability to adjust to the ball in the air, and also win jump balls with ease. He runs routes, makes sharp cuts, and has the hands of a receiver, and that’s what separates him. Memphis already has a great set of receivers, but they also have another weapon out of the backfield. Switching from four to five receiver sets doesn’t require a substitution, and that is a weapon most teams won’t have in their offense.
Gainwell is underappreciated because he’s capable of dominating as a runner and receiver. Memphis already is loaded offensively, and he is the most dynamic player on the roster, and arguably within college football.