Scouting Combine Research: Fullbacks

The five-man group of fullbacks at the Scouting Combine is led by Alabama's versatile Jalston Fowler. We have their stats and personal stories that are part of a 36-man contingent in the backfield.

Michael Burton, FB, Rutgers (6-0, 230): Burton was the No. 1 fullback for the Scarlet Knights as a junior and senior. He caught at least one pass in 11 of 13 games as a senior with 15 catches for 150 yards in all, and was nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to the top senior in the nation who started his career as a walk-on. “There's really no eluding guys. At running back, you can run a guy over here, run a guy over there, or elude them. But when you're a fullback, it's straight downhill, smash-mouth football, head-banging, which I love,” said the fullback who rushed for 3,322 yards and 51 TDs in high school.

Jalston Fowler, FB, Alabama (6-0, 254): Fowler is by far the best fullback in this year’s class. He cleared the way for the dynamic backfield duo of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, who both approached 1,000-yard seasons. He’s got some John Kuhn in him as he has some ability with the ball in his hands, which the scouts saw at the Senior Bowl, where Fowler played fullback and running back. He carried 12 times for 69 yards as a senior and 20 times for 88 yards as a junior. In the 2012 opener vs. Michigan, the sophomore rushed for 67 yards. The next week, however, he tore his ACL and missed the season. During his freshman season, he carried 56 times for 385 yards. As a senior, he flashed decent hands with 14 catches for 129 yards and two scores. Five of his seven catches as a junior were for touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who contemplated quitting the sport. Instead, he’s heading for the NFL with master’s degree in hand.

Kenny Hilliard, FB/TB, LSU (5-11, 230): Hilliard closed a solid career with a senior season of 571 yards (5.1 average) and three scores. Never a full-time starter, he piled up 1,681 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns for his four seasons. He set the Louisiana high school record with 8,603 rushing yards during his career at Patterson High. If the last name is familiar, he is the nephew of former LSU and Saints star Dalton Hilliard. His value to the program could be seen in his teary-eyed position coach when Hilliard received his diploma in December. That’s quite a success story, considering he didn’t know how to read when he got to high school. He got up to speed by taking a class with third-graders. "Stay humble and make sure you have great people around you," Hilliard said. "I had teammates who talked to me every day and molded me into the person I am today."

Joey Iosefa, FB, Hawaii (5-11, 245): In just six games, he finished second on the team with 151 carries for 643 yards and a team-leading eight rushing touchdowns (plus 11 receptions for 76 yards). He missed four games with a foot injury and was suspended for three games as a senior for drunken driving. He also missed seven games as a junior because of an injured foot. In 32 games over four seasons, he rushed for 2,218 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Tyler Varga, FB/TB, Yale (5-10, 227): The native of Kitchener, Ontario, was a second-team FCS All-American running back as a senior and the Ivy League MVP. He rushed for 1,423 yards and an FCS-best 26 total touchdowns (22 rushing). Varga was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy — aka the Academic Heisman. Varga scored two touchdowns in the Senior Bowl, where he worked at running back and fullback. He has the physique of a bodybuilder — for good reason. Both of his parents were bodybuilders.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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