Notre Dame’s NFL draft prospects

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Nov 22, 2014; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Tarean Folston (25) runs with the football as Louisville Cardinals cornerback Terrell Floyd (19) defends in the first quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Tarean Folston

In order to be a featured running back in the NFL, you have to be able to catch the ball and protect the passer. Head coach Brian Kelly taught Tarean Folston that lesson by sitting him until he improved his pass protection. Once he did, he was rewarded with at least 20 rushing attempts in four of Notre Dame’s final seven games to set up this year.

Kelly told CSNChicago, “He’s going to be called on this year to carry a larger load for us as a featured back. But what we like about him is we know what we have there, and he is an established, national caliber running back, and that is a strength for any football team going into the season. We know what he can do coming out of the backfield and catch the football. He’s excellent now — he struggled at times, but later in the year he showed himself to be very strong in our protection.”

In his two years at Notre Dame, Folston has grinded his way to 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns with a 5.2-yard average. Before Saturday night, the junior was projected into the third round and look to be rising a good start to the game. But he ended up injuring his knee so everything is up in the air until we know how bad.

Next: Nick Martin