Since 2010 the Toledo Rockets have finished no worse than No. 38 in the nation in rushing in any season. Twice (2011, 2013) the Rockets had a Top 20 rushing attack, and they did it the old school way: with running backs. While some schools in the MAc have put up prolific rushing attacks aided by deceptive quarterbacks, the Rockets offense relies on running straight at you, and over you, with a stable of backs that any MAC team would be jealous to have.
That smash-mouth, old school rushing attack is what lead 2015 3 star (247Sports composite) running back Nevone McCrimmon to commit to Toledo on Wednesday.
"I play running back. I don't play receiver," McCrimmon told Hustle Belt. "If a team doesn't run the ball, it's not for me."
McCrimmon is most definitely a running back, and an intimidating one at that. Measuring in at 6 foot, 216 pounds he has impressive size and the skill set to be an absolute workhorse, while also maintaining good agility and solid speed. He ran a 4.43 second 40-yard-dash for the Toledo coaching staff according to The Baltimore Sun, and he explodes through holes with a ferocity and quickness rarely seen at this level.
The fact that Toledo managed to get a commitment from him is impressive in itself, considering the Baltimore, Maryland native also held offers from Boston College, Connecticut, and Wake Forest. But McCrimmon wasn't distracted by conference affiliations. He did his research and after seeing the type of rushing numbers the Rockets have consistently put up, knew that Toledo was the best fit for him.
"I've seen that the running back that they have now, (Kareem) Hunt, he played behind (David) Fluellen and he still had 800 yards as a freshman. Freshman do have a chance to play," he said.
In fact, of the seven running backs currently on roster, two are seniors and the rest are sophomores or younger, including the likely one-two punch of Hunt and Damion Jones-Moore. Despite so much youth, McCrimmon stands a fantastic chance of seeing some action as a true freshman because of his skill set. He's already bigger than any running back on the Rockets roster, and has a polished game and excellent field vision. He runs with purpose, and doesn't waste time dancing around. He sees a hole, and attacks and is strong enough to work his way through congestion, and quick enough to bust off a long run.
He's the perfect compliment to Hunt and Jones-Moore, and an excellent fit for Toledo's offensive style.
Of course, the fact that everything else just fit played a big role in his decision as well. Despite Toledo being seven hours and nine minutes apart by car, McCrimmon said it felt like home.
"I felt comfortable there. I felt like a part of the program right away. It just stood out to me that they were like family. It was all about family, and I fit in there," he said. "I felt like it was the closest place to home."
McCrimmon has big plans for the Rockets. He says that while on his visit he saw all the construction going on around the program, but was able to look past the scaffolding and machinery and see a vision of the future for the program.
"I would say that we're going to be pretty strong," McCrimmon said. "It's going to be very nice to play there. We're going to have nice things, surrounded by nice people, and the coaches, they were just so joyful."
Check out McCrimmon's highlights, courtesy of Hudl: