With an impressive showing against Missouri, in which he set a school record for yards rushing in a game with 307, Roy Helu Jr. put himself on the radar of every NFL scout in the country. Not that the 6-0, 220 lbs, running back from Nebraska has had a lackluster collegiate career, after all Helu has been in the Cornhusker’s lineup since his freshman year at Lincoln.
Recruited out of San Ramon Valley High School in California, Helu had a stellar prep career, one which saw him rush for over 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns during his final two seasons at the school. The effort caught the attention of most school’s out west and produced offers from BYU, California and Oregon among others.
Deciding on Nebraska, Helu appeared in 7 games as a true freshman before making a major impact on the Cornhusker’s offense the following season. As a sophomore, Helu picked up his first +100 yard performance (16 carries for 157 yards) in a November loss to Oklahoma, before closing out the season with two more games in which he would break the century mark. By year’s end Helu had amassed 803 yards on just 125 carries, setting up expectations for an outstanding junior year.
Not to disappoint, Helu would turn in a junior campaign in which he would rush for 1, 147 yards on 220 carries, while scoring 10 touchdowns. The season was highlighted by a 156 yard, 3 touchdown, performance against Kansas. By season’s end the accolades piled up for Helu who was voted Nebraska’s 2009 Offensive MVP, while making the All-Big 12 Second-Team.
Coming into his senior season expectations were even higher than before, but despite three early season games in which he rushed for over 100 yards, Helu was in the midst of a modest season before the game against Missouri. Behind touchdown runs of 66, 73 and 53 yards, Helu would break Calvin Jones’ team record of 294 yards (set back in 1991), earning his place among the school’s best all-time runners.
How high he will goes in the 2011 NFL Draft remains to be seen, but based on his size and speed (4.5 in the 40), Helu should be one of the top 10 running backs available next year. The shoulder injury that plagued him last year seems to be behind him, and Helu has shown the added dimension of being a good pass catcher out of the backfield. If he has a good showing at the NFL Combine, look for Roy to sneak into the first day of the Draft.
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