Each day during training camp, the Redskins Blog will be highlighting one rookie as they participate in their first professional camp and try to find their way onto the final roster. Today’s spotlight is on running back Jawan Jamison.
This time last year, the Redskins Blog met up with this little-known guy by the name of Alfred Morris.
Despite a prominent career for the Florida Atlantic University Owls, No. 46 was an afterthought in starting running back considerations. Sure, head coach Mike Shanahan had the proven track record of being a late round running back’s best friend, but his luck had to run out eventually, right?
Despite the fact that Morris’ is now the Redskins’ single-season rushing record holder, seventh round selection Jawan Jamison believes that he can follow in No. 46’s footsteps and could even give his 1,613 rushing yard season a run for its money—or at the very least be the best rookie/backup running back in the National Football League.
“My goal is to try to win Rookie of the Year and try to get as close as I can to that rushing title,” Jamision said of his individual goals in his first season. “I’m hoping that I can come in and back up Alfred and get closer to that goal.”
Life as a Mike Shanahan running back
During Mike Shanahan’s tenure as the Denver Broncos head coach, his zone-blocking scheme fostered 1,000 yard backs at will. While Terrell Davis (6th round pick) is often consider one of the best late round success stories in NFL history, he wasn’t the only late rounder to cross the century mark. Mike Anderson, Davis’ replacement, had two 1,000 yard seasons under him as well.
Jamison, who played on Saturdays last fall, had the opportunity to watch Morris thrive under Shanahan last season and thinks that, while No. 46 is the team’s starting tailback this season, he’s going to contribute by any means necessary—stretch runs, swing passes blocking etc..
“The reason they brought me in was to run the ball, catch the ball, and block,” Jamison said. “I’m hoping I can get that down.”
His decision to leave Rutgers early
Normally, a player leaves college early to pursue a career in the NFL based on talent, but for Jamison, his decision to enter the draft had an extra layer to it.
In the summer of 2011, shortly after the conclusion of his first year as an active player for Rutgers, Jamison’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Knowing that her son was determined to build on his first year’s accomplishments, she decided to keep the news of her health away from Jamison until the conclusion of the season.
Once she broke the news to him, he made a vow to that he would leave Rutgers early and earn an NFL contract to help her battle.
With an NFL contract now in hand, Jamison gave an update on her health.
“She’s doing really well,” Jamison said with a smile. “They removed all the breast cancer. Everything is on the up. She goes to treatment every week, but she is doing well.”
In the months leading up to the draft, some draft “experts” predicted that Jamison might go undrafted and would have to fight his way to an NFL contract in a similar method to London Fletcher (ie: CFA to starter), but Shanahan being the running backs expert that he is, knew that Jamison was too good of a talent to pass up on in the seventh round.
I asked Jawan how his mother reacted to his selection and, in a slight twist, she was the barrier of great news.
“She actually called me,” Jamison said. “She was ecstatic. She was happy because my sister goes to Howard, and I have family friends in Manassas about 30 minutes away. It was a blessing to me.”
Five W’s and One H:
Who is the biggest jokester on the team?
Where do you get your inspiration from to play running back?
“I model myself after two running backs: Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. When I get in the open field I try not to let anyone touch me, and when I come into contact I try to be the hardest thing to bring down.”
What is a Labor Studies major?
“It’s me wanting to own my own business. It’s trying to get the best out of my own workers. I am trying to go into a sports facility training or restaurant business with McDonald’s.”
When was the first touchdown you ever scored?
“Pop Warner, my first game, my first carry. Right out of the gates.”
How you would describe running backs coach Bobby Turner?
“Awesome. One of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He makes sure that we finish. That was one of the big thing with me coming in. Finishing.”
Tags: jawan jamison, Rookie Spotlight, Training Camp 2013
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