Former Memphis All-Purpose RB Kenneth Gainwell opted out of the 2020 season. But it’s his production in 2019 that has some NFL teams at least curious as he looks toward the Draft and the potential of a new job in pro football.
A Mississippi Prep Star
Kenneth was a 3-year starter at quarterback for his Yazoo City (MS) High School Team. He accounted for 2973 total yards and 42 total TDs: 1834 yards rushing, 32 TDs; 1139 yards passing, 10 TDs.
As a result, Gainwell took home many accolades during his senior season:
- MHSAA Class 3A “Mr. Football”
- Class 3A Player of the Year
- USA Today All USA-Mississippi 2nd Team
- 1st Team All-State
For his high school career, his numbers were outstanding:
- 8412 total yards
- 4903 all-purpose yards
- 24 100-yard rushing games
- 75 rushing TDs
- 32 passing TDs
- 1 KO Return for TD
- 108 career TDs
Gainwell held scholarship offers from Memphis, Arkansas State, Idaho, Louisiana-Lafayette, Ole Miss, and Tulane.
With current L.A. Rams running back Darrell Henderson on the Memphis roster ahead of him, Gainwell took a redshirt in 2018 after playing in the first four games of that season.
Gainwell was a redshirt freshman in 2019, and what a productive season it was. He would help lead the Tigers to a 12-2 record and a berth in the Cotton Bowl.
Kenneth’s offensive numbers were impressive:
- 1459 yards rushing
- 13 TDs
- 6.32 ypc
- Averaged 104 yards per game
- 610 receiving yards
- 3 receiving TDs
- 2069 all-purpose yards
- Averaged 7.3 yards per play
- 7 games of 100+yards rushing
- 1 game over 200 yards (209 vs Tulsa)
- 2 games with 2 rushing TDs
- 1 game of 3 rushing TDs (vs Tulsa)
- 6 consecutive games of 100+ yards rushing
Gainwell accounted for 307 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns vs Tulane.
The 2069 all-purpose yards led all FBS freshmen.
As a result, Gainwell was named the 2019 FWAA Freshman of the Year. He was also named 1st Team FWAA Freshman All-American. And, he was selected to the 1st team All-AAC.
All-Purpose RB Kenneth Gainwell at the Next Level
The NFL grades Gainwell at 6.13- a good backup player that could become a starter. It has been said that because of the spread offense he played in at Memphis, Gainwell’s NFL team options are limited. To be successful, he would have to go to a team with a scheme that puts their playmakers in space to make plays.
His strengths are as follows: sudden change of direction. Good field vision so he can alter his running. And, he squares up his body to bounce off of angle tackles.
Gainwell’s weaknesses are that he only has one year of starting experience. He is a one-speed only player with just an average “burst.” And, he hesitates at times on the cutback lanes.
I think with his catching ability out of the backfield, which is a coveted skill in today’s NFL, Gainwell could hear his name called on Day 2.
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