By Evan Batten
Name: Marshawn Lynch – RB – #24
Weight: 215 lbs.
Hometown: Oakland, California
College: University of California
Experience: Seven years
In high school, Lynch was ranked as the 2nd finest halfback on the majority of college recruiting boards. First was none other than “Mr. All Day” himself, Adrian Peterson.
Both versatile backs achieved glory and recognition in college.
AP was a unanimous All-American and the runner up for the Heisman Trophy during his freshman year for the Oklahoma Sooners. Despite battling numerous injuries, Peterson managed to break numerous records throughout his career while it took Lynch up until the 2006 season to perfect his craft. He finished first in the NCAA with 1684 total yards from scrimmage, first in touchdowns from scrimmage with 15, and second amongst running backs with an average of 6.1 yards gained per carry. This was enough to persuade him to declare for the NFL Draft.
During the 2007 NFL Draft, only two running backs were taken in the first round.
Adrian Peterson was selected first out of the two at seventh overall by the Minnesota Vikings whereas Lynch was headed east to compete for the Buffalo Bills who appointed him as their running back of the future just five picks later.
Lynch was the first Bills running back since Greg Bell in 1984 to surpass 1000 yards during his debut season. He had a few more gratifying seasons with them before he found trouble with the law and subsequently was handed a suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
While he was on the bench, Bills running back Fred Jackson took over the rushing game during the 2009 season, surpassing 1000 yards. That set an alarm off for the Bills, who sought out a trade for their former first round pick who was no longer needed due to Jackson’s emergence. The Seahawks answered, anticipating a much-needed revival to a team, which was in desperate help on the field.
Marshawn Lynch answered every single prayer from ‘Hawks fans while quieting all of his doubters on one night, Jan 8th, 2011.
Finishing the season 7-9, the Seahawks somehow ended up making the playoffs with the worst record in NFL history. Not only were they the lowest seed that year, but also their first game was against reigning Super Bowl Champions and former Coach of the Year, Sean Payton and his New Orleans Saints.
The Seahawks and Saints ignited the scoreboard with fourteen scoring plays, illuminating every lime green jersey in the stands.
During the fourth quarter, with under five minutes and at their own 33-yard line, Lynch had his number called. He ran the ball, shook not one, not two, but seven defenders as he swerved and swirled. Lynch jolted and churned his way down the field during a 67-yard gallop.
The 12th man was so noisy and booming, that the ground was literally rocking. In fact, a nearby seismometer registered activity over 100 yards!
The Seahawks had beaten the Saints in one of the biggest NFL Playoff upsets the league has ever seen. One that would still be written and read about over nine years later as if it occurred yesterday.
The Seahawks eventually lost in the playoffs that year, however Lynch was doing pretty well for himself the following seasons in Seattle. Enough to push the front office brass in Seattle to offer him a four-year extension worth $31 million.
While Lynch was the spotlight in Seattle, AP was still captivating the limelight across the nation. Since entering the league in 2007, AP has gained over 8500 rushing yards and 75 touchdowns. Lynch has only gained a little more than 6000 yards and 45 touchdowns. AP has won numerous All-Pro honors, an MVP award, and someone somewhere is rumored to have an orange peanut ready for him.
Lynch has constantly been in the shadow of AP, will he ever shine bright enough on his own to stick out?
Looking forward to the upcoming season, it is Super Bowl or bust in Seattle. After finishing last season 11-5 and making the playoffs due to an incredible run led by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and shut down All-Pro defenders, free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman, the Seahawks appear to be one of the toughest teams in the league.
Of course they’ll have to beat division rival the San Francisco 49ers and other conference powerhouses including the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers.
One thing is for certain though, Lynch has an opportunity to be the first to win a championship ring out of a rivalry that was started in high school, surpassed the NFL Draft, and seems to be heading towards one of the greatest in the NFL.
For more NFL player features, visit 32 Players 32 Days.
Evan Batten is a sports nut who knows how to follow a player back to their roots. With a successful sports blog and bylines all over the place, he continues to follow his passion of sports writing. Follow him on Twitter @EBattenSports His work can be found on Examiner.com.