As the bowl season nears, teams will begin their preparation for their final game of the year. However, senior players that will not have the opportunity to showcase their skills in a bowl game will start looking towards the upcoming NFL Draft to make a roster. One of those players will be Toledo‘s David Fluellen, the star many have not heard of.
The Toledo Rockets (7-5) had a disappointing season which ended with a road loss to the Akron Zips, 31-29. Toledo had an opportunity to win the West division in the conference, but two straight losses ended their hopes and cost the team a trip to a December bowl game.
A bright spot for the Rockets’ offense this season was senior running back David Fluellen. Fluellen entered the season as one of the team’s most productive players and was hoping to build off of last year’s strong performance (1,498 yards, 13 touchdowns).
Toledo started slowly behind a young offensive line and struggled to find its identity early in the season. However, during a stretch in the middle of the season that saw the Rockets win five of six games, Fluellen carried the team on his back. During those six games, Fluellen rushed for 910 yards and 10 touchdowns.
However, in the win against Bowling Green, Fluellen left with an ankle injury. He managed to play sparingly the rest of the season gaining 54 rushing yards over four games. Fluellen would finish his 2013 campaign with 1,121 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
While Fluellen might not be mentioned amongst the other running backs from major conferences, he is a sleeper candidate for the NFL Draft. His ability to catch the football out of the backfield (80 career receptions) will make him appealing for teams looking to add running back depth to their roster. He has deceiving speed and great vision which allow him to make cuts on a dime. Fluellen possesses great blocking ability and is very good in pass protection.
While the Toledo Rockets will be home for the holidays, David Fluellen will rest up and heal with the hopes of bringing his game to the NFL on Sundays.