Meet Vanderbilt's Jerron Seymour, the SEC's most underrated touchdown machine
Finding the goal line is a specific niche for some running backs, blue-collar ballcarriers who take pride in getting the tough yards needed between the tackles inside the red zone.
Vanderbilt’s Jerron Seymour is one of the nation’s best at producing such touchdowns, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to offseason talk or flipping through one of the hundreds of glossy preseason publications.
Likely the SEC’s most underrated offensive threat coming into the 2014 season, Seymour’s a 5-foot-7, 200-pound unknown outside of Nashville whose 14 rushing scores tied a league-high last fall.
Only two SEC active running backs — Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon and Georgia’s Todd Gurley — have scored more career rushing touchdowns.
That’s elite company for the former one-star prospect from Hialeah, Fla. whose only other Division I offer came from Marshall.
A redshirt season in 2012 gave Seymour, a player with great vision and balance, more than enough time to learn the ropes from future pro Zac Stacy as he studied technique and what it took to be successful in college football’s most competitive conference.
“Missing a whole year of football action, it kind of was getting back to that comfort level and getting that swagger back on the field and things like that,” Seymour said before Vanderbilt’s bowl game last season. “It instilled confidence in myself, and then the coaches instilled confidence in me by being confident in putting me out there and (believing I was) able to make plays on offense, and knowing that I know what I’m doing out there on the field.”
Despite missing his team’s home finale against Wake Forest, Seymour rushed for 716 yards on 164 carries during his first-year as a starter and scored multiple touchdowns in three different games.
Seymour tied Stacy’s single-season school record for rushing touchdowns with a 2-yard burst late in the fourth quarter of the BBVA Compass Bowl against Houston to seal the Commodores’ second consecutive nine-win season.
For precautionary reasons, Vanderbilt’s best returning weapon on offense has missed the Commodores’ first week of fall practice. First-year coach Derek Mason says he’ll soon return to the lineup.
“Jerron will be out here soon enough,” Mason said after Sunday’s practice according to the Tennessean. “And I can’t wait to get him back. I think what you try to do, overall, is just make sure that he’s healthy. Hey listen, we’re not playing games today. I wish we were, but we’re not. I think he’s close.”
Considering the questions at quarterback, Seymour’s numbers could grow exponentially this season behind an offense line that returns four starters. Despite his size, he could take on the workhorse roll as the Commodores try and spin away from the common perception that a return to the SEC East cellar post-James Franklin is inevitable.