I loved reading the scouting reports you guys had so I definitely wanted to come by and tell you guys what I know in return.
(btw, Rashaad Reynolds to the Jags WTF!?!)
Grice was the engine of our entire offense. Two years ago, we signed a different guy that was the highest rated AZ running backing and a top guy overall in the state, a big signing for the program. He was supposed to be the star freshman yadad yada yada and he was a very good player but after a few games Grice completely took over as the workhorse to the point where last year he forced the other guy to slot receiver. That guy will be our starting RB this year and we're happy because he's good but Grice was so good he forced him to a different position for a year.
First off, Todd Graham is a hard ass and highly values character, no tolerance for people that do drugs or get in trouble with the law. The ASU offense prides itself on discipline, ball-security and speed. We ran a spread option and ran the zone-read almost every play. This year we introduced the back-shoulder throw because of a receiver we brought in. Grice doesn't have amazing speed or big size/power but he was always fast compared to the other players on the field and had enough power to be an everydown RB. He plays faster than his 40 time, might have not been completely healed from an injury he had.
As a runner Grice has good vision and patience. He's just incredibly efficient. He doesn't try to hit the home run every play like a lot of RBs he just gets whatever there is to get he got a lot of yards doing that, that's why he was our engine. He has good hand-eye coordination, sees angles, good judge of his speed and others' speed which helped him run inside. Size/power concerns shouldn't be a worry because he was amazing in the red-zone and on the goal-line where he'd use his vision/patience to hit the right holes and maximize every play. Grice is a touchdown machine. He led the country in TDs for a long time this season until we started using him as a decoy and teams would crash onto Grice instead of stopping the pass or our QB runs, then other RBs caught up. He's also a guy that's decisive, he can make guys miss but that's not his main game, he doesn't pussyfoot around. Finally, this can't be emphasized enough HE ONLY LOST A FUMBLE ONCE IN TWO YEARS. Ball security comes first in our offense and he exemplified that.
Our o-line was the reason we lost the games we did, of course he would have been better with a better OL. When our QB read the zone-read wrong he would routinely give Grice a lot of runs that he could do nothing with. Those runs really hurt his YPR.
Grice is definitely an elite pass catcher. Great hands. He played slot receiver often. We threw a lot of back-shoulder throws this year and Grice has the length and hands to catch those consistently, which is something a little different for a RB. He was a special pass catcher but he was also our workhorse, running inside and out.
Grice has exceptional skills in the open field. He's really amazing at setting up blocks down the field. In space, he'd turn 4 yard gains into 10 yard gains, 8 yard gains into 15 yards, etc... he just made chunk plays into big chunk plays because he knows how to set up his teammates for blocks. As I said he has good hand-eye coordination and is great at judging speed and distance so he was excellent at shedding tackles in open space because you may be able to touch him but he'd be just far enough away that you couldn't bring him down. He was long so you think you'd have his arm or leg but the rest of him would be going the other way.
He was a very hardworking, selfless, hand the ball to the ref, lead by example kind of person. He was quiet with the media but he was the leader in the RB room, strong character and the intelligence to be able to teach others. He had a hard story: difficult childhood, had to go the JuCo route, had to earn the starting job, his brother was murdered after the season in 2012 a week before ASU's bowl game. Grice had a monster game and was MVP.
He's definitely a guy we wanted back and we're going to miss him.
Special nose for the endzone (goal line and redzone)
Excellent pass catcher (some knowledge of routes)
Exceptional ball security
Runs inside and out
Able to use length and angles to shed tackles
Good judge of speed/distance
Willing pass blocker
Clean off the field
Good locker room guy
He has a lean body. He should have room to add muscle. Would be great to add power if he doesn't lose speed. He didn't do a ton of pass blocking in our offense but he showed willingness when he was asked. He's a guy that would be willing to do anything to help the team. He was a good kick-returner but not a great one. We had horrible special teams and fired our ST coach so he could improve possibly.
I think I could just put up a long comment for Darby. RB has so many different levels (looking back at how much I wrote) it apparently needed a fan post. Darby is amazing though. Emotional leader, incredible character, SS or FS, fantastic ball skills. I do think he'll earn a spot somewhere if not a starting job. Could be this years' UDFA gem.
P.S. If one of the editors could clean up the formatting that would be great. I can also try to answer any questions if you have any.