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Baylor Football

JaMycal Hasty set for new heights out of the backfield

June 26, 2017

107: That’s the most receiving yards a Baylor running back has had since its first bowl appearance over the last seven years. For as versatile an offense the Bears have become, the backfield as been rather one dimensional.

JaMycal Hasty looks to be a part of that change with Temple’s offense moving south with Matt Rhule.

It’s been well-documented how well Art Briles’ offenses disguised a balance attack between passing and rushing, but rarely did the two converge. Lache Seastrunk put that program-high 107 yards together his sophomore year, 68 of which came on his only career receiving touchdown.

At Temple, Rhule backfield continually churned out running backs with 200 yards or more. In fact, it was one of the constants of the team even before it became a notable program.

Two-time team leading rusher Jahad Thomas actually got his start as the all-purpose back. In 2014, he had 384 yards on the ground compared to 364 receiving yards (scoring his first career TD as well.)

As Thomas took on a larger role, his receiving numbers took a dive but resurfaced in 2016, posting 418 yards and six scores receiving out of the backfield. Terence Williams looks to be that lead rusher like Thomas but hasn’t shown much potential as a receiver; that’s where Hasty comes in as the No. 7 all-purpose back Jeff Lebby brought in with the 2015 class.

Of course, Hasty only had 26 yards receiving on three receptions last year. It’s a bit premature to call that potential. But remember, Hasty was a bonafide athlete at Longview High School. As a junior, he put together 234 yards and three TDs on 11 receptions working out of the flats.

If he gets the opportunity that was withheld from him (and the Baylor RBs of yesteryear), he’ll likely be an x-factor when Williams takes breathers.

Working to Hasty’s advantage is that he’s only been on campus two years since he was a prime all-around recruit. It’s not that other players can’t catch- anyone that’s played football for more than half their life knows how to catch. But Hasty looks to be the most familiar because of his relative youth.

He also has the advantage of being that prototypical receiving back akin to Darren Sproles at Kansas State or Texas Tech’s DeAndre Washington- speedy, versatile backs under 6-foot. Even Thomas has a similar stature.

At 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds, Hasty is almost an identical clone to Thomas who stands just an inch taller. Hasty also came to Baylor at 185 pounds but has packed on some helpful weight to make him a more difficult tackle at contact.

Though, with adding weight, there’s also a bit of concern that speed is sacrificed. If that’s the case that his muscle sacrifices the top-end speed that made him a top prospect, he may be a step behind his counterparts in the Big 12 like TCU running back Kyle Hicks or speed burning receiver KaVontae Turpin.

But even still, Hasty lasered at a 4.47 40-yard dash the summer before his senior season at The Opening while battling a back injury that caused him to miss the majority of his final high school seson.

That type of speed added to the intrigue and comparison to the likes of Turpin who only operates out of the backfield on occasion is Hasty’s potential as a kick returner.

He’s not set to be the Bears’ return man but when duty called eight times last year, he averaged a modest 20 yards on kick returns, an area of improvement from his 16-yard average in high school. It’s a sign his field vision has improved since arriving on campus.

This might not be Hasty’s year and it may not be until 2019 when Williams' final two seasons are complete, but then again, it just might feel like it’s Hasty’s moment.
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