#2 Giovani Bernard University of North Carolina; The 3 Dimensions of Rushing the Football

Posted: February 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Bernard led the way for UNC the past two seasons now he aims to be a first round pick

Bernard led the way for UNC the past two seasons now he aims to be a first round pick

Giovani Bernard played at St Thomas Aquinas under legendary HS coach George Smith who probably has over 350 wins by now. With that being said he was a four star recruit (Rivals) in the class of 2010 behind the likes of Marcus Lattimore, Silas Redd, and Michael Dyer. He wasn’t even in the Rivals Top 100.

When I see highlights of Bernard there are three things that come into my mind almost simultaneously. First off he’s got a gear that I have only seen in guys like CJ Spiller, LaMichael James, and Reggie Bush. Second is his toughness and aggressive style to get yards after contact, for his size (5’10” 205lbs) he’s a bad man. Lastly he has such great hands it’s almost like he’s a WR out of the backfield say like Kevin Faulk was for the New England Patriots in the 2000’s, and how Ray Rice is for the Baltimore Ravens in their Super Bowl run.

He was redshirted as a freshman in 2010 after an ACL tear on the third day of fall practice. Either way he wouldn’t have played that much considering UNC had RB Johnny White who was a senior. But I feel that it was a benefit for Bernard to learn the offense and get stronger. White was a good back for North Carolina, he did get drafted so it worked out well both ways of the spectrum.

As a redshirt freshman Giovani Bernard took the ACC by storm. He ran for 1,253 yards on 239 carries and added 15TD. Bernard stayed consistent all season with over 10 carries in each and also averaged over 6yds a carry.

He had a few huge games in the 2011 season for UNC; I’ll point out two games. First against Georgia Tech in Atlanta where had 17 carries 152 yards with 2TDs, he also added on 5 receptions for 47 yards, the one play I notice is 3rd down and 15 conversion with a check-down that he caught and he converted it, kept them in the game in which they were defeated 35-28.

Another big performance that year and his most complete performance was the Wake Forest game. In that game he was more of a workhorse with 27 carries 154 yards 2TD, and 3 rec. for 21 yds. TD. He was a presence in the 1st half scoring a receiving TD for seven yards, and he scored on a four yard run in the 2nd quarter. In the 2nd half he scored his 2nd rushing TD from 4 yds. early in the 4th. Overall, he proved he could handle a heavy workload that day as he was a huge part of their game-plan. He also showed versatility which is a trait scouts drool over.

Bernard earned All-ACC honors for his great season. The only other Tar Heel RB to do that as a freshman was Amos Lawrence in 1977. He set freshman records for the school in rushing yards and TDs.

In 2012, as a sophomore it was a bit different with Butch Davis’s firing. With that came Larry

His GW return vs. NC State was just showing the world his inner Desean Jackson

His GW return vs. NC State was just showing the world his inner Desean Jackson

Fedora who brought in an up-tempo style. Bernard said no to Notre Dame, Florida, and Florida State because he felt more comfortable in a pro-style offense. But all Bernard did was replicate his yards total with less carries, he finished 2012 with 184 carries 1,228 rushing yards 12TD, and he caught 47 passes for 490 yds. and 5TD.  He also returned punts in 2012 and trust me he does more than his fair share in that department, in 16 returned punts he had 2TD including a GW 73 yd. return vs. in-state rival NC State. It was awful contain by the Wolfpack but Bernard still had to out run them.

I’d label him as a One Cut RB, a guy who may not possess all the psychical means but is a guy who will hit the hole with aggression and agility. He also could be a Receiving type RB because of his ability in the passing game. He’s a mixed breed of those two pedigrees. But other than the ACL tear in 2010, he’s only missed two games in two years and parts of other games. I don’t think he’ll be a Ki-Jana Carter or a Fred Taylor with injuries but I do think there is some concern there.

I didn’t notice any big weaknesses other than his 5’10” 205 lb. frame and some problems which may bother some teams, he may not have elite speed but that also to me is not a concern. His game is 3-Dimensional so I feel that he’ll find a way to contribute one way or another.

With that being said I compare him to both Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks. Ray Rice isn’t  the biggest guy but he does it all, and Marshawn Lynch is the most explosive back in the league after contact in my opinion.

Giovani Bernard is mocked to be an early 2nd round pick up to this weekend’s combine but I also feel like Lattimore that he is a 1st round talent, and like the Barkley/Smith battle I feel my #2 will be picked ahead of my #1. Bernard would be a great piece for Cincinnati with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and an even better option in Indianapolis where I feel he can be the #1 guy from day one and grow with Coby Fleener and Andrew Luck as they build a legit Super Bowl contender there.

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