Justin will be 22 years old on Draft Day 2018. A two-time Gatorade Player of the Year and Dupage Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year, he is the all-time leading rusher in Glenbard North High School (Carol Stream, IL) history and once had a 42 carry, 405 yard and 5 touchdown outing in a win over Naperville Central. He also lettered in track and served as the captain of the basketball team before enrolling at NU in 2014. Earned a starting position as a freshman and has put together three straight 1000-yard rushing seasons, Justin is only 108 yards away from Damien Anderson’s school record 4485 and should end up as a top five rusher in Big Ten history. An economics major, he is scheduled to graduate after the winter quarter in Evanston.
Justin is a four-year starter and has been remarkably productive as a ball carrier and receiver for the Wildcats. Trying to post his fourth consecutive 1000-yard season as a senior, he led the Big Ten in rushing last year with 1524 yards. He has a lean frame with long arms and some development in his lower half and has added about 20lbs. of muscle since his arrival as a freshman. Justin is an “eyes, feet, hands” running back, meaning that he has excellent instincts, outstanding foot agility and can catch the football. The Wildcats’ offense runs through #21 as he has averaged 285 carries for three seasons, while grabbing 87 passes during his career. As a runner, he is a shifty athlete with an ability to find the soft spot and slide off tacklers on the inside. He is nifty on the perimeter, but does not have explosive, big-time speed to the edges or down the field. As a receiver, he has capable hands from the backfield, but can also detach and work from the slot as an option route runner. He will chip protect on his way out of the backfield, but needs to improve his 1-on-1 blitz pickup for the next level. Justin has a tremendous feel for the game, can change speeds and then accelerate in a short area, but he just does not have that 5th gear to take it to the house. Overall, he is a quality football player that can fit a number of roles as part of an NFL team’s backfield by committee. Although he does not currently play on special teams for NU, the coaches there indicate that this first-class individual is in all those meetings and will be a willing participant as a pro.
WHAT NFL SCOUTS WANT TO SEE IN 2017: For Justin to continue his high rate of production as a runner and receiver, while also improving as a blocker, specifically in pass protection.
2016- Illinois State, Iowa, Illinois
2017- Nevada, Duke
Live Practice Exposure: Thursday, September 14