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Speed will be key for Wisconsin's James White at combine

AP Photo/G.M. Andrews
Running back James White rushed for 1,444 yards in 2013 despite sharing the load with Melvin Gordon.

Wisconsin running back James White had a strong week at the Reese's Senior Bowl, and next up is the scouting combine later this month.

Wisconsin running back coach Thomas Hammock thinks White has a solid pro future. "I think his skill-set will transition well to the next level," White told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Hammock was Denver rookie Montee Ball's position coach at Wisconsin. Ball rushed for 559 yards and four TDs for the Broncos this season.

"James is more of a make-you-miss type of back," Hammock said. "Montee was more power, physical, downhill because he's a little bit bigger. [Ball is 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds; White is 5-9 and 206.] But James can help you in the passing game, as well. He can catch it. He can run routes. He has a good understanding of football. Very, very smart football player."

Hammock said he thinks White's all-around game projects well for the NFL but did note that White lacks breakaway speed. White's 40-yard dash time at the combine will be heavily scrutinized.

"He doesn't have elite speed," Hammock said of White. "But there's a lot of backs who haven't been the fastest runners. He just has to be given a good opportunity in a good situation to show what he can do."

White rushed for 1,444 yards this season while sharing time with Melvin Gordon and also had 39 receptions.

"Sometimes, the speed can be blown out of proportion," Hammock said. "He has excellent vision. He has an excellent feel for the game. I think the more opportunities he gets, the better he'll have a chance to perform."

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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