Player Spotlight: Boise State RB George Holani

Brigham Young v Boise State
Brigham Young v Boise State / Loren Orr/GettyImages

Position: Running Back

Age (Draft Day): 23

Height/Weight: 5'10", 208 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.39 seconds


George Holani burst onto the scene as a true freshman for Boise State in 2019. He racked up 1,014 rushing yards and added another 206 yards receiving, showing his potential as a three-down back. Holani's success continued in 2020, albeit in a shortened season due to COVID-19. However, 2021 proved to be a bit of a setback. While he remained a reliable enough receiver, his rushing production dipped slightly. Some analysts attributed this to Boise State's offensive scheme adjustments, while others pointed to lingering effects from the shortened 2020 season. Regardless, Holani bounced back in 2022, averaging 17 total touches for 93 total yards per game.


Good Vision and Elusiveness: Holani displays good field vision and the ability to find running lanes. He can make defenders miss in the hole with shifty movements and shows a knack for setting up blocks to create cutback opportunities.

Athleticism: Holani boasts impressive athleticism for his size. His 4.39 40-yard dash time is amongst the fastest for running backs in this draft class, and his 39-inch vertical jump further proves his explosiveness. While his breakaway speed on the field isn't always elite, his agility and ability to change direction quickly make him a threat in short areas.

Strong Inside Runner: At 208 pounds, Holani runs with good power and contact balance. He's effective running between the tackles and can pick up tough yards in short-yardage situations. His center of gravity allows him to get low and drive through defenders for extra yards.

Solid Goal-Line Runner: Holani has a good understanding of leverage and can break tackles at the goal line. His combination of size, power, and vision makes him a reliable option in close proximity to the end zone.


Doesn't Always Play to his Testing Numbers: Despite his fast 40 time, Holani doesn't always translate that speed to the field in terms of breakaway ability. He lacks a clear second gear when he gets into the open field, which limits his ability to take the top off of defenses. This raises questions about how effective he will be on outside zone runs and screens in the NFL.

Limited Receiving: While not a liability as a receiver, Holani isn't a polished route runner and his production in the passing game is modest. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, but he isn't someone who will consistently create mismatches in the passing game. Teams looking for a pass-catching back should look elsewhere in the draft.

Age: By the end of the 2024 season, Holani will be 24 years old. This might give some teams pause, especially considering his injury history (see below). Running backs typically have a shorter shelf life in the NFL, and some teams may be hesitant to invest a high draft pick on a player who is a bit older coming out of college.

Injury History: It's worth noting that Holani has battled through some injuries throughout his college career. While none were season-ending, they raise some concerns about his durability at the next level.

NFL Comparison: Tyjae Spears

Tyjae Spears
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

A similar player to Holani is Tyjae Spears from Tulane. Both backs are physical runners with good vision and the ability to break tackles. They both possess impressive measurables and were productive players in college. However, both struggle to translate their elite athleticism into consistent breakaway speed. Teams looking for a back with a similar skillset to Holani might look towards Spears, who is likely to be drafted a bit earlier due to his age (he’ll be 22 at the draft).

NFL Draft Outlook: Day 3 Pick

George Holani is a talented running back with a good blend of power, athleticism, and vision. However, his limitations as a receiver, lack of a consistent second gear, and age might push him down to Day 3 of the draft. A team looking for a physical, inside-the-tackles runner with upside could find value in Holani in the later rounds. He could develop into a solid short-yardage back and a rotational piece on special teams, but his path to becoming a starting NFL running back will likely be challenging.