Former University of Maryland running back Anthony McFarland played just 23 games with the Terps, but what he put on tape during that short span was enough to convince one former star running back that he has the tools to be very successful in the NFL.
Reggie Bush, whose name is included in any shortlist for the best running back in college football history, was asked on Monday about the 2020 running back class during an appearance on Fox Football Now. Bush specifically praised McFarland, who the Pittsburgh Steelers used a fourth-round pick on in April's draft, and thinks the former Terp can be better than a recent Steelers star.
"I think he has the ability to be just as good as Le'Veon Bell, if not better," Bush said.
That's high praise for McFarland, considering Bell is one of the best running backs in Steelers history. During his six seasons with Pittsburgh, Bell made three Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. Only three other Steelers -- Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker -- have more rushing yards in franchise history.
One thing that stood out to Bush considerably when watching the former Terps star's film was McFarland's big-play ability.
"The kid can flat-out fly," Bush said. "He's explosive. He is a game-breaking type of player."
In an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast prior to the draft, McFarland explained that he, too, feels like he's a home run threat every time he touches the ball.
"No matter where I'm at in the field, I always believe every play is the big play," he said. "And that's the thing about I feel like me playing running back because I feel like literally, every single play is a big play and it can happen anytime."
The best example of this is from McFarland's 2018 outing against Ohio State, without a doubt the best game of his collegiate career. McFarland finished with a career-high 298 rushing yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns, one an 81-yard scamper and the other from 75-yards out.
In Pittsburgh, McFarland is expected to be a complement to James Conner, who has been the team's starter since 2018. Bush believes that the run-style the Steelers use will certainly benefit the rookie in 2020.
"The Pittsburgh Steelers love to run the football. But it's the way they love to run the football, they use those tackles and tight ends and they pull," Bush said. "What that does is for running backs is, if they just get a crease...Anthony McFarland, if he just gets a crease, he's gone."
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