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2023 Rookie Profile: MarShawn Lloyd

MarShawn Lloyd is an interesting running back prospect in a thin class. He has a chance to separate himself in the process and be RB1. @AndrewH_ breaks it all down in his rookie profile.

MarShawn Lloyd entered 2023 as one of the more interesting running backs in the 2024 class. He made an impact and looked impressive at USC before hitting the transfer portal and heading out west. From there, he didn’t miss a beat and helped USC have one of the best offenses in college football.

Lloyd has faced setbacks in his career as well as thriving situations. He tore his ACL in his second college practice, and from there, he didn’t let that injury define him. He showed he could work back from the physical setbacks and not let the mental part hinder him.

MarShawn Lloyd will need some good NFL Combine testing to set his place in this class. It is a very thin class as things stand, so with the right numbers, a team could fall in love. For now, Lloyd and his film have a lot to be excited about, but also one major hole that needs attention.

Player Profile 

  • School: USC
  • Year: Redshirt Junior (Fourth Year Player)
  • Position: Running Back
  • Hometown (High School): Wilmington, DE (DeMatha Catholic HS)
  • Height: 5-9
  • Weight: 215
Rushing & Receiving Table
Rushing Receiving Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
2020South CarolinaSECFRRB000
*2021South CarolinaSECFRRB12642283.6134414.70672724.11
*2022South CarolinaSECSO91115735.29181769.821297495.811
*2023USCPac-12JRRB111168207.191323217.8012910528.29
CareerOverall29116215.6193445213.3232520736.421
South Carolina1758014.6102122010.5219610215.212
USC1168207.191323217.8012910528.29
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 1/8/2024.

College Career 

MarShawn Lloyd has overcome a lot in his young football career. As a freshman, he tore his ACL in just his second practice with South Carolina and missed the 2020 season. From there, he had to earn a role in the Gamecocks rushing attack, and boy did he. In two years at South Carolina, he gathered 1,021 total yards of offense and scored 12 touchdowns.

He entered 2023 as a potential top running back prospect. He would ultimately decide his best place for development wasn’t the USC of the east coast but rather the west coast. He played alongside Caleb Williams and helped USC become a more complete offense before declaring for the NFL draft. Lloyd’s next stop will be making a trip back down to SEC country as he attends the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Best Traits 

Ball Security

Lloyd protects the ball well when both as a running back and as a receiving back. He never lets it go to one hand to allow for drops or punchouts, whether it be through contact or being in the open field. This will get him a longer leash in the NFL. So often, we see coaches get a quick trigger finger when it comes to pulling a rookie for anything, especially running backs.

Contact Balance

He demonstrates excellent contact balance with his size and uses it to break through the line to hit the second level. Several of his runs at USC required this trait to develop more, and it has helped with his NFL projection. At USC, he faced NFL defenders at every stop on his college tour.

He didn’t produce crazy numbers, but he did achieve over half his yards after contact. Of his 816 yards on the ground, 457 of them after contact was made. The NFL is all about smooth-moving, agile running backs, but Lloyd is a refreshing blend of both the finesse approach and physical.

Elusiveness

Lloyd carries good size and flexibility for the running back position. He uses it to break open runs when he is faced with a defender in space or if he is running a route. His footwork will keep improving, so this could be a dominant trait in the NFL.

In college, he had an impressive 47 missed tackles forced on defenders in 2023. The year prior, he had 39, so the data backs up the idea of him being able to make defenders miss when closing on him. Again, doing that in any conference is impressive, but getting those numbers against Pac-12 and SEC defenders deserves recognition.

Trait Needing Development

Long Speed

Several runs when I was watching MarShawn Lloyd left me wanting more. The reason for that came from his lack of long speed to break off big plays when the defense gave them to him. He had runs of 10+ yards on just 18% of his carries in his college career. To even further the point, his longest run in his college career is 56 yards. While that is impressive, he will be asked to have the gas tank to rip those off at any moment in the NFL. Conditioning and scheming could open up his motor, but for now, it remains his biggest question mark.

Player Summary

MarShawn Lloyd is a fun running back prospect in a 2024 class desperate for good prospects. Lloyd impressed at South Carolina before heading to USC to be in their fun offense. While he didn’t produce any crazy numbers, he showed he could handle a diverse workload. He expanded his route running and showed he had cleaner footwork and hips than many could have thought. He could be a lead back for a team, but he will likely have to earn that.

He will be a rotation piece unless he lands in a messy backfield and earns a job in training camp. If he isn’t a starter or producing immediately, just hold on; he should be able to break through any glass ceilings. Some landing places that could be good for him would be the Ravens, Bengals, Vikings, or Cardinals. All of those places rely on the run game to be the straw that stirs the drink offensively with a rotation of backs. Lloyd could be the lead guy for any of these outside Arizona but could earn it over time.

Projected Draft Capital: Late Day Two, Early Day Three Pick

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