A total of 20 FBS players were named semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, an annual honor given to the best player in college football. Of the 20 semifinalists, only one plays at the Group of Five level: UAB running back DeWayne McBride.
McBride is arguably the best player many casual fans don’t know. UAB’s running back has played in seven games this season, amassing 1,146 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in those games. He’s the nation’s leading rusher, and he averages an impressive seven yards per carry.
The junior’s lowest rushing output of the season is his 120-yard performance against Middle Tennessee. In that game, McBride carried the ball 12 times for those 120 yards, and three of his 12 rushing attempts ended in touchdowns. It’s one of his most efficient performances of the season. Essentially, he’s yet to have a bad game this fall.
He’s a star, and he’s worth watching this November.
UAB’s tough November
McBride and his 4-4 team face a challenging November schedule. This weekend, the Blazers face UTSA, the C-USA favorite. Next weekend, UAB faces a solid North Texas team. The weekend after that, UAB plays at No. 10 LSU. A road trip to Louisiana Tech wraps up the team’s regular season.
November is going to be difficult for UAB, which is battling for a bowl berth. The exciting schedule makes McBride a must-watch player over the final month of the season, though, as there’s ample reason to watch him every week for the rest of the year. North Texas and Louisiana Tech are arguably the two least exciting opponents left on UAB’s schedule, but those teams rank in the bottom three in C-USA in rushing yards allowed per game. McBride could have huge performances in those games.
There’s reason to believe McBride is poised for a special month.
His first opportunity of the month comes this weekend against UTSA, which is 6-2 overall and 4-0 in league play. College football betting odds list UTSA as only a 1.5-point favorite, suggesting UAB has a realistic shot of winning Saturday. UAB fell to UTSA 34-31 last season, but McBride ran for 144 yards and a touchdown. Can he match those numbers this weekend?
The matchup with LSU will certainly be a challenge, but it gives the running back a shot to showcase his skills against a top-tier team for NFL scouts. McBride has proven he can run wild against Conference USA defenses, but what will he look like trying to gain yards against an SEC front? He ran for 183 yards and a touchdown in last season’s bowl win over BYU.
A complete back
McBride has legitimate NFL potential because he possesses a variety of desirable skills. McBride runs well, showcasing impressive straight-line speed in the open field.
He’s not just a speed back, though, as McBride also regularly makes players miss with shiftiness. Oh, and he’s capable of running physically, checking in at 215 lbs and not shying away from lowering his shoulder. The blend of speed, agility, and power is something most running backs can’t match.
As a runner, McBride has everything NFL teams want. He only has four receptions in his collegiate career – an area where some teams might want to see more – but when McBride gets the ball in his hands, he’s one of the most enjoyable players to watch in college football.
McBride will eventually play on Sundays, and if you haven’t yet taken notice of the standout running back, it’s time to pay attention.