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Chargers 90-in-90: RB Derrick Gore

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From prep school, to JUCO, and then to Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe, Gore constantly defied the odds.

Los Angeles Chargers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Derrick Gore has taken a very unique to the NFL. Somehow, through the plethora of pitstops along the way, he stayed dedicated and found his way to an NFL roster.

Gore prepped at Nottingham High School in his hometown of Syracuse, New York. He didn’t initially accept any big-time offers out of school but decided to go the prep school route and attend Milford Academy during the 2013 season. In his lone year at Milford, he rushed for just 257 yards and three touchdowns. He then transferred to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas where an injury took his only season of JUCO ball away from him.

Prior to the 2015 season, Gore accepted an invited walk-on opportunity at the University of Alabama where he spent the next two seasons in a reserve role and special teams contributor. After rushing for 108 yards and a single touchdown on 24 carries across two campaigns, Gore finally transferred to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette for his final two years of eligibility.

While at ULM, Gore was the leading rusher for the Warhawks in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He scored six touchdowns both years while rushing for 585 and 662 yards, respectively. In ‘18, he had a career best receiving line of 13 catches for 174 yards and a touchdown.

As a rookie in 2019, Gore spent the preseason with the Chargers and saw the majority of his playing time in the final exhibition game against the 49ers. In that game, he rushed for a team-high 64 yards on 12 carries while also scoring the game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard scamper.

Basic Info

Height: 5’10
Weight: 212
College: Louisiana-Monroe/Alabama
Experience: 1
Years with team: 1

Contract Status

“Derrick Gore signed a 1 year, $610,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $610,000. In 2020, Gore will earn a base salary of $610,000, while carrying a cap hit of $610,000.” - Spotrac.com

The Good

There’s obviously very limited film on Gore as a Chargers but he performed well-enough that you can make some decent assertions on what he can do as a ball-carrier. I went back and watched that preseason exhibition against the 49ers and if there’s one area that Gore excels in, it’s his short-area footwork that allows him to set-up blocks and take advantage of small creases between the tackles. He had multiple runs that looked like they were not going anywhere and he somehow churned 8-10 yards out of it. He saw cutback lanes that most would miss and took advantage. He also kept falling forward at the end of runs which is always a good thing as a ball-carrier.

The Bad

It’s hard to point out the bad with Gore when his limited sample size was overall pretty good for the most part. Yeah he had some runs against the Niners go for anywhere between -1 to two yards, but they were mostly due to the defense clogging up lanes and overpowering the offensive linemen.

If there is a knock against Gore, it’s he lack of long-term success throughout this career in college. He bounced around and when he wound-up at ULM, he never rushed for more than 700 yards. Now that could easily be due to the offense they ran, but he also never got the chance to be a bell-cow and that’s obviously affected his career path into the NFL.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?

The Chargers will certainly carry at least three running backs during the regular season and that trio will be Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, and Joshua Kelley. They’ll likely carry a running back on the practice squad and that could easily be Gore, but UDFA Darius Bradwell might be that guy, as well, barring they give him a chance at running back instead of making him transition to fullback.

In the end, this coaching staff seems to see something in Gore. They brought him back for a reason and that makes me believe he’s got a better shot to stick around than most would assume.