University of Houston
Many would argue that the fourth preseason game is unnecessary and usually only features those players who won’t make the cut. Sometimes, though, a player makes a name for himself in that “meaningless” game. For the Chargers, that player is running back Kenneth Farrow.
The Chargers struggled last year in the running game. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon had a disappointing year. Danny Woodhead did very well as a receiving option out of the backfield, but is not an every-down back. Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, the fans watched in disbelief as Branden Oliver suffered a terrible Achilles injury. He is now out for the season after he was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
In an attempt to fill Oliver’s position, the Chargers claimed Gus Johnson off of waivers from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. This move was made before Farrow was able to continue to show what he could do after missing the second and third preseason games.
Farrow was an undrafted free agent from the University of Houston. At 5-foot-9 and 219 pounds, the 23-year-old had a good college career, churning out 2,975 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns. He was also the captain of the Cougars for his last three years of college.
In the first exhibition game, Farrow had a decent game. He rushed for 60 yards on 16 attempts, adding two receptions for 25 yards, including a 17-yard catch. This was a positive as the Chargers tend to us their running backs in passing situations.
Farrow surprised Bolt fans after a less-than-stellar performance by the ground game in the first half of the last preseason game. In seven attempts, he had 63 yards and one touchdown. The play which had the most excitement was his 44-yard run in the third quarter. He was tackled within the five-yard line. Then, on first-and-goal, he ran it in for a touchdown.
Farrow was playing against the third-string Niners’ defense, but he made some great moves en route to a solid performance. He showed confidence and made good decisions for a rookie. Farrow was able to beat out the aforementioned Gus Johnson to make the roster as the third running back.
As much as I will miss seeing Oliver in action, I am excited to see what the rookie has to offer. He is a little bigger than Oliver, so hopefully he can bulldoze through defenses and get those much-needed yards in the rushing attack.
With the addition of former Giant back Andre Williams, the Chargers should have a formidable running game as long as the offensive line can stay healthy and do its job.
It is difficult to know what Farrow’s role will be in 2016, but he will be called upon to contribute until Williams gets up to speed.
It would be great to look back on this article and realize that the Bolts indeed did find their next undrafted free-agent gem; this time at the running back position.
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When Branden Oliver left Sunday’s game with an obvious Achilles injury, Bolts fans, as well as the team, were faced with the question of who would fill in for the third-year back.
Monday, that query was answered when it was announced by chargers.com that the team had claimed running back Gus Johnson off of the waiver wire from the Atlanta Falcons.
Johnson is a 5-foot-10, 215-pound running back (Stephen F. Austin) who went undrafted in 2015. He was initially signed by the Dallas Cowboys and spent time on their practice squad until he was released and subsequently picked up by the Falcons. In two preseason games with Atlanta, Johnson collected 60 yards on 14 rushing attempts (five for first downs) with zero touchdowns.
The Chargers currently have Kenneth Farrow (5-foot-9, 219 lbs) as the only depth behind ball carriers Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead as the team just stated via chargers.com that Dreamius Smith was waived on Tuesday.
Farrow’s preseason numbers are 16 rushes for 60 yards with five of his runs ending as first downs. Though the former University of Houston (2016) back did not see any on-field participation against the Vikings on Sunday, it could be that his stature, being so similar to Oliver’s (5-foot-7, 208 lbs), may have swayed the coaches into Farrow still being on the roster.
It looks like Thursday’s preseason game against the 49ers will determine who ends up taking the No. 3 spot in the starting running back rotation.
In the meantime, welcome Gus Johnson to the San Diego Chargers.
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Today, Boltblitz continues to spotlight more of the names on the 90-man roster unfamiliar to the casual San Diego Chargers fan. Kenneth Farrow is a 5’10”, 219-pound running back out of the University of Houston. He was signed after the 2016 NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent and we’ll see him on the field competing for a roster spot when camp opens in two short weeks.
Farrow only missed one game in his four seasons at Houston. Each passing season his star continued to rise. Each of his first three seasons his carries, attempts, yards, yards per game and touchdowns increased. There was a slight dip in his totals during his senior season but that can also be attributed to the fact he played in one less game. In his career at Houston, Farrow averaged five yards or more per carry each season and had a run of 40-yards or more each season.
All tolled, Farrow logged 560 carries for 2,980 yards and 34 touchdowns. He was also a good hand catching the ball out of the backfield as he hauled in 74 passes for 560 yards and three touchdowns. Farrow showed he is a locker room and field leader as in each of his last three seasons he was voted a team captain.
At the UH Pro Day, Farrow posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.59 seconds, a vertical jump of 38-inches and a broad jump of 10 feet, 2 inches. He also showed impressive strength by doing 23 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press. His vertical and cone drill times would have ranked third among running backs at the NFL Combine.
Take a look at this impressive highlight reel from his junior year in which he ran for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The San Diego Chargers could use the backfield depth with Melvin Gordon coming off microfracture surgery in January. Farrow looks to be an excellent blend of size and speed with above-average field vision and the ability to make tacklers miss as well as break tackles. At Houston, Farrow showed he is an every down back.
If something happens to Gordon or the knee is slow to get back to 100%, Danny Woodhead is not an every down running back. Branden Oliver would be the next man up to assume that role. With one impressive training camp and preseason Farrow could install himself into that mix. There is a spot to be claimed. Farrow should have ample opportunity to take advantage.
Follow Kenneth on Twitter: @F_A_R_R_O_W_
Good luck Mr. Farrow.
The Greg One