Rookie Spotlight: LJ Scott, Michigan State University
Height: 6’ 01” (unofficial)
Weight: 225 lbs (unofficial)
40 yard dash: 4.60 (projected)
NFL Comparison: Royce Freeman, Kalen Ballage, Charles Sims, Le’Veon Bell
– powerful short burst
– good first cut
– prototypical build
– lacks lateral agility
– not elusive after first cut
Scouting Notes: LJ Scott has drawn some comparisons to Le’Veon Bell based almost entirely, from what I can surmise, that they’re both big backs who played at Michigan State. They do both have good first cuts, but that’s honestly where the comparisons end. Scott isn’t elusive at the second level, but he is a grinder who can force an extra couple of yards out of the play. And while Bell is extremely patient waiting for his blocks, Scott will occasionally run into or outpace his blocker. I think it’s a little unfair to try to measure the guy against one of the best backs in the NFL, so I’ll move away from that altogether. Scott is an adequate pass catcher who could use a little more effort as a pass blocker – It’s arguable that he depends too much on his size to curtail defenders. Scott’s feet seem heavy at times, especially when moving laterally. As a downfield runner though, Scott is your man. He churns his feet and runs with his pads low; two of the main things you want from a 2-down back. Scott’s injury history is also disconcerting, as he missed much of his 2018 season to several different ailments.
Fantasy Outlook: Scott’s prototypical build and major program pedigree will keep him in the mix as a top 10 back in a draft that lacks exceptional RB talent. He’s not a special player, but it doesn’t always take a special player to attain NFL success. Success takes consistency, and honestly, Scott isn’t the most consistent player either. He is good at a couple of things, and if all he’s asked to do is tote the rock inside, then he stands a chance of being productive in fantasy as a 2-down back who is reliant on TDs. Maybe if he sheds a few pounds, like Bell did, he’ll quicken his step and lateral agility though – he does have pretty good shake out of the gate.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll have a much better idea of where Scott is likely to stack up after seeing him through the draft process, and like all rookie profiles, this one will continue to be updated through the winter and spring with intel as we acquire it. When applicable/available, these profiles will be supplemented with transcriptions of scouting combine interviews with the players following the event.
From the MSU Athletic Department (Scott only played 4 regular season games in 2018 due to an ankle injury, but returned for the Spartans’ bowl game)
2017 SEASON (JUNIOR): Named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media . . . led the Spartans in rushing for the third straight season with 898 yards on a career-high 201 carries (76.6 ypg) . . . also had a career-high 20 catches for 146 yards and one score . . . led team in all-purpose yards (1,044; 87.0 ypg), ranking 11th in the B1G in all-purpose yards per game and 12th in total all-purpose yards . . . led team with eight rushes of 20+ yards . . . recorded third 100-yard rushing game of 2017 in the Holiday Bowl, gaining 110 yards on 18 carries (6.1 avg.) against No. 18 Washington State, including a 28-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that gave MSU a 42-17 lead . . . also had two receptions for 26 yards to lead MSU in all-purpose yards with 136 . . . had 19 carries for 57 yards, adding one catch for 13 yards at Rutgers . . . posted second 100-yard rushing outing of season with 147 yards on career-high 29 carries against Maryland, recording the most rushing yards by a Spartan against Maryland (previous: 138 by Jeremy Langford in 2014), and was the third-most single-game total in career . . . rushed eight times for 30 yards and had two catches for 16 yards at No. 11 Ohio State . . . tallied 43 yards on 14 carries with a 3-yard TD in win over No. 7 Penn State, adding four catches for 9 yards . . . rushed for 16 yards on eight carries to go with two catches for 11 yards at Northwestern . . . had game-high 87 yards on 22 carries with game-sealing 18-yard TD against Indiana, adding two catches for 15 yards . . . named to the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week after recording career highs in both carries (25) and rushing yards (194) at Minnesota while also tying a career high with two rushing TDs (24 yards in second quarter; 6 yards in fourth quarter) . . . posted the most rushing yards by a Spartan since the last time MSU played at Minnesota in 2012, when Le’Veon Bell had 266 yards rushing on 35 carries . . . earned Spartan Offensive Player of the Week honors vs. Minnesota . . . did not play against Michigan due to an injury . . . tallied 28 yards on 14 carries (2.0 ypc), adding one catch for 2 yards, against Iowa . . . had 11 carries for 61 yards (5.5 ypc) with a long of 14 yards vs. Notre Dame, adding a 4-yard catch . . . registered game-high 86 yards on 18 carries (4.8 ypc) against Western Michigan, including a season-long 44-yard scamper on a fourth-and-1 from the MSU 45-yard line early in the fourth quarter, and later scored on a 2-yard plunge to give MSU a 14-0 lead . . . added three catches for 25 yards including a 15-yard score, finishing game with 111 all-purpose yards . . . logged 15 carries for 39 yards (2.6 ypc) in season opener against Bowling Green.