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Notre Dame Football: Tarean Folston’s 2017 Pro Day and Running Back Class Comparisons

We compare Folston to running backs who competed at the NFL Combine as well as to former Irish at his position.

NCAA Football: Nevada at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the complete results for all 12 former Notre Dame Fighting Irish players that participated in the university’s Pro Day Thursday.

The event was attended by 54 representatives of 27 NFL teams. Skip below the graphic for some comparisons for Tarean Folston, his fellow running back class and the former Irish tailbacks who participated in NFL Combines of years past.

UND.com

TAREAN FOLSTON

HEIGHT

  • At just over 5-foot-9, Folston would have been the 24th tallest running back at the NFL Combine. The Pittsburgh Panthers’ James Connor was the tallest at 6-foot-1 and change, while North Carolina A&T State’s Tarik Cohen was the shortest at just over 5-foot-6.
  • Folston measured one inch taller than Armando Allen did at the 2011 Combine. (Allen was an undrafted free agent.) Every other Irish back who attended an NFL Combine was taller than Folston, including his old coach, Autry Denson (5-foot-10). Tony Fisher was the tallest, at 6-foot-2.

WEIGHT

  • Folston is one of the lighter backs in the 2017 running back draft class. At 199 pounds, he would have been sixth lightest if he had been invited to the NFL Combine. It’s probably no surprise that the LSU TigersLeonard Fournette was the heaviest back at 240 pounds. The San Diego State AztecsDonnel Pumphrey — the all-time leader in rushing yards in NCAA Division I FBS history — was the lightest at 176 pounds.
  • Again, Allen is a comparable Irish back for Folston. Allen weighed 199 pounds at the Combine. Fisher was the heaviest at 226 pounds, while Denson was the lightest at 197 pounds.

HANDS

  • At 9 12 inches, Folston has middle-of-the-pack hand size. The North Carolina State Wolfpack’s Matt Dayes had the largest hands — 10 12 inches. Pumphrey has the smallest hands — 8 12 inches.
  • Of the six former Irish running backs that had their hand measurements released from the NFL Combine, Folston would have been on the bigger side. Jonas Gray had 10 inch hands and George Atkinson III would have been right behind Folston at 9 3/8ths inches. C.J. Prosise, now of the Seattle Seahawks, had the smallest hands — 8 12 inches.

ARMS

  • Again, Folston is a middle-of-the pack in this year’s running back class in a category. This time it’s arm length, which Folston measured at 30 3/8ths inches. The Oklahoma State Cowboys’ Christopher Carson had the longest arms, measuring 33 1/4ths inches. Pumphrey had the shortest arms — 29 inches. (If you’re scoring at home, Pumphrey is lightest, smallest handed, smallest arm length and one of the shortest backs.)
  • Armando Allen is again the cloest comparison to Tarean Folston. Allen had 30 14 inch arms. Prosise was blessed with 32 1/8 inch arms, while Theo Riddick had 30 inch arms.

BENCH PRESS

  • Twenty reps of 225 pounds of weight is pretty good for a running back. That would have put Folston at ninth best, had he been at the combine. The Oklahoma SoonersSamaje Perine was the outlier of the draft class, ripping off 30 reps. The next closest was the Florida State SeminolesFreddie Stevenson with 24. I’m not really even sure why Pumphrey tried this drill. He only managed five reps.
  • Folston put up the same amount of weight as his old coach, Denson, did at the 1999 Combine and Gray did at the 2012 edition. Allen had 23 reps, while Cierre Wood could only manage 16.

40-YARD DASH

  • Woof. A 40 time of 4.75 seconds is super slow in comparison to other running backs in this year’s draft class. That would have been tied for third worst with the Seminoles’ Stevenson. North Carolina State’s T.J. Logan was the speediest straight line runner at 4.37 seconds and the Virginia Tech HokiesSam Rogers was the slowest at 4.93 seconds.
  • Folston’s 40 time is worse than any of the 11 Irish running backs invited to the NFL Combine since 1999. Riddick was the closest to Folston’s time, but even he ran a 4.68. Ryan Grant was the fastest, darting to a 4.43 in the 2005 Combine. (Grant went undrafted, but subsequently had a couple of good years with the Green Bay Packers.)
  • A time of 4.75 seconds would be “red flag” territory, according to ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.

VERTICAL LEAP

  • Folston leapt 33 12 inches into the air, which would have been tied for 13th best had it come at the NFL Combine instead of at Pro Day. Kudos to the Tennessee VolunteersAlvin Kamara, who got to 39 12 inches at this year’s Combine. Dayes’ large hands were apparently zero help in this drill. He finished dead last, by jumping just 28 inches skyward.
  • Funny enough, Folston’s performance was one of the worst for Irish running backs who participated in the NFL Combine. Fisher jumped an astounding 41 12 inches, while Darius Walker was right behind him at 40 12 inches. Denson didn’t have ups — he registered just 31 inches in this discipline.

BROAD JUMP

  • This was another section that was unimpressive for Folston. At 112 inches, his jump would have finished fourth-to-last had it come at the NFL Combine. Only Stevenson, Dayes and the Michigan Wolverines’ De’Von Smith were worse. Kamara showed why some mock draft analysts have him going late in the first round with another impressive performance. His broad jump was 131 inches.
  • The nine Irish running backs who tried the broad jump at NFL Combine all fared much better than Folston did at his Pro Day. Denson was the closest comparison. He jumped 116 inches. Fisher was the standout, leaping 126 inches during the 2002 NFL Combine.
  • Regardless, 112 inches is within the 5-year average for running backs at the Combine. Red flag territory starts at anything 109 inches or less.

SHORT (20-YARD) SHUTTLE

  • There were 15 running backs who tried the short shuttle at the NFL Combine this year. Folston’s 4.31 second performance would have put him about in the middle of that group. The Kentucky Wildcats’ Stanley Williams completed the drill the fastest at 4.18 seconds, while Florida State Seminoles’ Dalvin Cook faltered and ended up in last place at 4.56 seconds.
  • Folston’s performance would not have been remarkable in the annals of Irish running back history. Fisher, Grant, Denson and Julius Jones were all faster, while Darius Walker and George Atkinson III were slower.

60-YARD SHUTTLE

  • Perhaps Folston should have skipped this one, as most of the running backs at the NFL Combine elected to do. Had he been there, Folston would have finished seventh out of eight backs at 11.88 seconds. Only Indiana HoosiersDevine Redding turned in a slower time. (This was the best event for Stanford CardinalsChristian McCaffrey, who finished the drill in 11.03 seconds.)
  • George Atkinson III was the only Irish running back to ever try the 60-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine (or at least as far back as records go). He completed it in 11.5 seconds.

3 CONE DRILL

  • This was a good performance for Folston. His time of 6.93 seconds would have been tied for fourth-best among running backs at the Combine, had he been invited. McCaffrey was tops in this event as well, with a time of 6.57 seconds. Stevenson was the slowest at 7.65 seconds.
  • Folston’s time would have bestest the six Irish running backs who have done this drill at the NFL Combine. Denson was the fastest at 6.97 seconds.

DRAFT PREDICTION

Most draft analysts who have mocked out a full seven rounds consider Folston to be passed over during the NFL Draft, which will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia. However, the writers at DraftTek believe Folston will be selected in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos (#238).

Folston’s best bet is to go undrafted and sign with the team that is looking for some practice squad depth at running back or special teams and hope he can make an impression as Ryan Grant did.