Mekhi Sargent might have started off last season a little slow (considering he was learning an entirely new offense, it was expected), but like any true gamer, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. And Iowa’s future leading rusher finished absolutely on fire with a nose for the endzone and the type of vision that makes opposing defenses shudder:
Iowa's Mekhi Sargent is moving at 13.6 MPH when he hits the first Nebraska defender and, after initial contact, he continues to drive the pile for 7.62 seconds. @_msargent1 #movethesticks #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/rYkFgXkQey— Logic Sports (@LogicSports3) November 23, 2018
Should we do one more Nebraska highlight?
Let’s do one more Nebraska highlight!
Mekhi Sargent — Junior
Key West, FL (Key West)
5’9”, 212 lbs
2019 Projection: RB
Look, we know the running game was an issue last season and I know that it’s a ginormous question mark going into this season. But if I have to read one more time that Iowa rushed for 3.9 yards per carry or that Iowa didn’t have a running back break 800 yards on the ground, or that the first 100-yard rushing performance came against Illinois or that Iowa was 95th in yards per game, or that we basically averaged a centimeter on every third down rushing attempt, I’m going to lose it.
So let’s all make a pact right now to move forward and start looking at the positives in the run game going into next season... lets start with the Last Chance U star, Mekhi Sargent:
Remember the TD pass to Easley after Stanley shook off the LB? It was set up by the ISM return and this slippery run by Mekhi Sargent: pic.twitter.com/m4Lu7Fhi2e— 24 ♂️ (@ScottKoops) October 25, 2018
Slippery, s’cuse me, please me.
I’m going to come right out and say that I fully believe that Sargent is going to finish the 2019 season with over 1,300-all purpose yards. Despite the Toren Young explosion during Kids Day, I think it’s the junior out of Key West Florida that is going to become the consistent difference maker. It’s really not all that crazy. He showed flash after flash after 173-yard flash throughout a season in which he wasn’t really all that familiar with what Iowa’s concepts are. Even still, he finished with 23 rushes that went for more than 10 yards, compiled 521 yards after contact and forced 37 missed tackles.
This might shake Gookin to his core, but he’s got the talent, vision, balance and ability to be the Hawkeyes version of David Montgomery.
I’m not saying he is David Montgomery... so don’t get this confused. But, let’s also not confuse the fact that Sargent has the talent to become a version of David Montgomery. He’s shifty and breaks tackles. He runs hard. He can catch the ball out of the backfield.
It’s all there:
Plus, he’s shown time and time again that he’s not afraid to lay the wood to protect his quarterback:
That’s an Iowa running back right there baby...
... and a Doak Walker finalist.
Giving a guy with his level of talent an entire year in this system should only help him become even more dynamic going into the 2019 season. I mentioned it yesterday with Michael Ojemudia, but if Iowa has Big Ten Championship aspirations (which they 100% do), they need the running game to get back to what we all expect it to be. We need it to be consistent and troublesome which will allow Nate Stanley to go berserk.
For that to happen, that means Mekhi Sargent takes a big step and becomes a national name.