This past season for the Cincinnati Bearcats was awfully special, and running back Gerrid Doaks was a big reason why.
Doaks saved his best season at Cincinnati for last, rushing for 673 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020. He also proved that he can be a difference-maker in the passing game, as he had 14 receptions for 202 yards and two additional scores.
The first thing NFL scouts will notice from Doaks' film is that he's extremely physical. Most defensive players that are willing to tackle Doaks end up paying the price.
Another element to Doaks' game that is very impressive is his pass blocking. That's an underrated attribute to have, especially at the next level when linebackers and safeties are often used in blitz packages.
Last but certainly not least, Doaks showed that he can be an explosive receiver when given the opportunity. Some people may argue that he was underutilized by the Bearcats at times.
We sat down with Gerrid Doaks this week to discuss his expectations for his pro day, his goals for his rookie season, what it was like playing for Luke Fickell, and much more.
Let's get this interview started.
The Spun: What are you hoping to show at your pro day?
Gerrid Doaks: Just that I’m faster than what they say I am. I think that’s the biggest concern right now. They feel like I’m one of the slower backs, but I’m pretty sure I’ll put up one of the faster times you’ll see this draft process.
The Spun: What would you say your film has shown thus far?
GD: For one, my pass blocking was something that stands out. Also, I run really hard - I’m a downhill runner, so I don’t shy away from contact.
The Spun: Which running backs do you watch on film?
GD: I’ve always watched runners like Adrian Peterson and Derrick Henry, bigger backs. I also watch running backs like Alvin Kamara, who get involved in the pass game a lot.
The Spun: I want to go back to your Cincinnati career for a second. There’s a clip of you just trucking a UCF linebacker. What’s your mindset when the ball’s in your hands?
GD: I absolutely remember that. My mindset is that the fastest way to the end zone is a straight line. If you get in my way, I might as well punish you [laughing].
The Spun: Do you have a favorite moment or memory at Cincinnati?
GD: Even though we had a great season in 2020, I’d say my favorite moment was from the 2019 season against Tulsa. Coming off an injury the year before, I scored three touchdowns in that game.
The Spun: You guys had a great 2020 season, yet the CFP committee kept you guys out of the playoffs. What was your initial reaction to that news?
GD: Of course, we wanted to make the College Football Playoff. But we took it week-by-week and we knew it’d be tough making it since there were teams like Clemson and Ohio State in the mix. And with us being Cincinnati, we knew we’d be overshadowed.
The Spun: What was it like playing for Luke Fickell?
GD: It was great. He came in and quickly established what he wanted the program to be. All the seniors and leaders on the team quickly took that in, and next thing you know it was just second nature for us.
The Spun: What about your former teammate Desmond Ridder. What is it like playing alongside a dual-threat quarterback like him?
GD: It’s a big advantage because you got an athletic quarterback like Desmond, and then you got me in the backfield, so the defense never knows who’s going to get the ball with the way we run that offense. He opened up a lot of holes for me, and I opened up a lot of opportunities for me.
The Spun: We know what you can do as a runner, but I really like what we’ve seen from you as a receiver. How would you assess your receiving skills?
GD: I’m very confident in my hands. As a running back this past season, I didn’t really get the chance to run many routes. When I did though, I made the most of it. I’m definitely confident in my receiving skills though.
The Spun: Which NFL player do you want to go up against?
GD: To be honest, I don’t have anyone specific. However, there is one guy from my hometown, Jeremy Chinn from the Carolina Panthers. It’d be nice playing against him.
The Spun: Do you have any goals right now for your rookie year?
GD: Take every opportunity one step at a time. I really want to make a 53-man roster and help out a team any way I can, whether it’s at running back or on special teams.
The Spun: What is something you want to work on, and on the flip side, what’s your best attribute?
GD: I’d say getting into the route concept. I know I can catch the ball for sure, but making my routes cleaner is something I can improve on. The best part of my game is reading blocks. It’s natural to me since I’ve been playing running back for so long.
The Spun: What is an NFL team getting in Gerrid Doaks?
GD: You’re getting a hard-working player who’s not a self-centered guy. I’m just ready to play football, make the team better, and win championships.
Doaks is currently projected to go on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. He'll get the chance to boost his stock at his pro day later this week.
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