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T.j. Duckett

RB | (0-0, 254) | Michigan State | COLLEGE STATS
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Unanimous high school All-American. Parade High School Player of the Year and was among the top five names on almost every national recruiter's list. Played linebacker and quarterback in high school and was a great power-running quarterback and the best linebacker in the nation. Also put the high school shot (which is lighter) 64 feet, 7 inches and ran on the school's sprint-relay team, clocking under 11.0 in the 100 meters. Was recruited as a linebacker first and running back second, and he wanted to play defense. Began 1998 as the team's backup middle linebacker and short-yardage runner. Ended the year on offense, where he rushed for 159 yards and four scores against a Penn State defense that featured Courtney Brown and LaVar Arrington. Despite only seeing limited offensive action early in the year and not starting a game, Duckett still carried 118 times for 606 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught two passes for 32 yards. Rushed for 810 yards in Michigan State's first five games in 2000 before groin, shoulder, hip and ankle injuries hampered his play and caused him to miss almost one entire game and parts of many others. Still finished the year with 240-1,353-7 and caught 8-39 yards. Carried 236-1,236-10 and caught 12-88-1 in '01.

Positives: Terrific athlete with tremendous size, speed and strength. Has a massive lower body and great leg drive and strength. Can break tackles and really punish defenders when he wants to. Has very good speed for a big back. At times shows he can be sudden and hit the hole quickly. He can bounce outside and has some make-you-miss ability. Duckett has improved his hands and pass-catching skills. He can dominate good teams, as he showed against Michigan and Fresno State. Potentially, he can get much better with experience at running back.

Negatives: Only player in his group who was not injured and did not run at the Combine. Had a very hot-and-cold season in '01 and, at one point, the coaches pulled him from the game. Is slow to get going and runs too much like Ron Dayne at times, taking too long to hit and attack the hole. Does not always work to finish his runs. Limited experience at running back shows up at times, when it comes to making run decisions and using his blockers. Is still far from an accomplished pass catcher and is not a good or overly eager blocker. Seems to lose focus and gets sloppy with the ball at times.

Summary: Can be almost as good as he wants to be with more experience - if he will really pay the price. But after last season, that is a big "if".

* Player biographies are provided by Pro Football Weekly.