Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Knowshon Moreno
Knowshon Moreno (RB)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 217
College: Georgia
Conference: SEC
Hometown: Belford, NJ
High School: Middletown South
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Denver Broncos
Round: 1
Pick (Overall): 12 (12)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: The Broncos eschew their defensive woes to pick the electrifying runner from Georgia. Moreno is a versatile back with outstanding quickness and elusiveness, and he gives the Broncos another weapon in the passing game with his exceptional hands and underrated route-running. With Josh McDaniels' preference for spread formations, Moreno could emerge as a playmaker in his first season.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

One can only wonder how many Georgia and Southeastern Conference records Moreno might have broken if he decided to stay in school for four full seasons. In just two campaigns with the Bulldogs, he ranks sixth on the school career record list for rushing attempts (498), rushing yardage (2,734) and rushing touchdowns (30), as he also ranked seventh in conference annals by averaging 105.15 yards per game on the ground, the second-best career average by a Bulldog.


Even though he started just six times in 2007, Moreno's 1,334 yards rushing rank sixth on the school's single-season record list and was the second-highest total by a Georgia freshman. His 1,400 yards rushing in 2008 rank fifth on the Bulldogs annual record chart and rank behind Herschel Walker as the second-best season total by a sophomore. Known as the team's workhorse, he averaged 19.15 rushing attempts per game, the second-most career total in school annals.


Moreno joined Herschel Walker (1980-82) as the only players in school history to produce back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. The fifth Bulldog to reach 2,000 yards rushing, he has also proven to be a capable receiving target. In 26 games, he pulled down 53 passes for 645 yards (12.2 avg) and two scores, finishing his career with 3,409 all-purpose yards, an average of 131.12 yards per game.


At Middletown South High School, Moreno earned EA Sports and Prep Star All-American honors. He was rated the 10th-best running back in the country and the third-best overall prospect in the state of New Jersey by Rivals.com, a recruiting service that also listed him as a member of their Rivals Top 100 List. He led the team to three state titles.


Moreno concluded his career with 782 points scored on a total of 128 touchdowns, setting the state prep records. As a senior, he rushed for 1,808 yards on 185 carries and scored 43 times in 10 games. His 6,268 career rushing yards is second all-time in New Jersey.


Moreno enrolled at Georgia in 2006, spending the season performing on the scout team. With the offense struggling in 2007 fall camp, the fans and media started buzzing about the redshirt freshman who was simply dazzling in scrimmages. He worked his way up the depth chart and many were calling for the staff to insert him into the lineup to begin the season.


Georgia's running game has been predicated on diversity, as no running back knew who was going to get the ball when. There was supposed to be a change of pace, an element of surprise to it all. But the truth of the matter was the pace never reached breakneck speed. Georgia's running game plodded instead of plowed. Then, along came Moreno.


Before the 2007 season opener, Georgia coach Mark Richt said, "Knowshon Moreno, I know when you get to watch the kid practice every day and see what he does, it gets you excited. He is a very vibrant guy. He could be a gymnast. You can't hide his enthusiasm for life. He will light up his team with his energy level. He will jump over a guy standing on his feet and score. He has got speed, power and agility. People have to respect his power. If (the defense) sends a guy full-speed to try and get him, Knowshon will make them miss."


Moreno waited patently for his opportunity, coming off the bench behind Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin for the first six games of the 2007 campaign. Brown would get injured and instead of turning to Lumpkin, Moreno was inserted into the starting lineup vs. Vanderbilt. After racing for 157 yards on 28 carries vs. the Commodores, all other Bulldog runners lined up behind the redshirt freshman on the depth chart.


He would go on to gain 1,334 yards with 14 touchdowns on 248 carries (5.3 avg). That yardage total was the second-best by a Bulldog first-year player and third among Southeastern Conference freshman in a campaign. He also made 20 catches for 253 yards (12.6 avg) and averaged 122.08 all-purpose yards per game.


Leg cramps in the season opener and a deep elbow bruise vs. Alabama could not slow down the Moreno Express in 2008. The All-American overcame those bumps and bruises to carry the ball 250 times for 1,400 yards (5.6 avg), the fifth-best season total (second among sophomores) in school annals. More involved in the passing game, he snatched 33 passes for 392 yards (11.9 avg) and a pair of scores, piling up 108 points. His average of 107.69 yards per game rushing led the Southeastern Conference, and his 16 scoring runs tied for fourth-best on the school single-season record chart.


High School

Attended Middletown (N.J.) South High School, playing football for head coach Steve Antonucci...Earned EA Sports and Prep Star All-American honors...Rated the 10th-best running back in the country and the third-best overall prospect in the state of New Jersey by Rivals.com, a recruiting service that also listed him as a member of their Rivals Top 100 List...Led the team to three state titles, as he concluded his career with 782 points scored on a total of 128 touchdowns, setting the state prep records...As a senior, he rushed for 1,808 yards on 185 carries and scored 43 times in 10 games...His 6,268 career rushing yards is second all-time in New Jersey.


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Analysis

Positives: Tight-skinned athlete with good overall musculature. Good quickness to the hole. Reads the defense and anticipates where the hole, including cutback lanes, will appear. Exceptional lateral quickness and elusiveness in tight quarters. Very rarely tackled by the first defender. Good acceleration past the initial wave of defense and into the secondary. Good spin and stiff arm, and has phenomenal leaping ability to jump over tacklers. Attacks the line of scrimmage and is a tougher interior runner than given credit for. Can drop his shoulders and has good leg drive. Runs through a lot of tackles due to his competitive drive and toughness. Keeps his legs churning and will spin away from tackles. Soft hands for the reception. Natural receiver who poses intriguing possibilities to be split out wide. Good quickness and effort as a route-runner; isn't just a threat on dump-offs in the flat or screens. Provides a pop in pass protection. Extreme competitor who can put the team on his shoulders. Wants the ball with the game on the line.


Negatives: Questionable top-end speed. Lacks the prototype size and bulk some teams are looking for in a bell-cow runner.


Compares To: JOSEPH ADDAI, Indianapolis -- Like Addai, Moreno might lack blazing speed but he is a physical inside runner whose field vision, redirection agility and leg drive allows him to break tackles and get positive yardage up the gut. He is not much of a dancer in the backfield and shows good route running skills and hands to be an every-down back. Like Addai and Buffalo's Marshawn Lynch, his best asset is his ability to handle a variety of running back roles, rather than be limited as a specialist.


Injury Report

2008: Left the Georgia Southern game (8/30) with leg cramps...Suffered a deep elbow bruise vs. Alabama (9/27).


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