Name: Mario Pender
Eligibility: (RS) Freshman
Weight: 190 lbs
Position: Running Back
Twitter Handle: @MarioPender
2012 Season Stats: N/A
Prognostication: Projecting how Mario Pender is going to fit in this year’s offense is complicated. Last spring — before a sports hernia injury helped make him a redshirt — Pender excelled in practices as he went to school early. The injury, however, was going to sideline him for much of the season so the coaching staff decided to save his eligibility and throw the redshirt towards his direction. With some experienced running backs coming back it’s hard to think Pender is going to be anything more than a rotational back from the get-go. Because of his blazing speed, however, he can make a nice niche for himself if he starts to break games open with long runs.
Strengths: If speed were a drug (which it is, but not the kind we are talking about) Pender would be one of the country’s high-end dealers. Coming out of high school it was his biggest attribute according to several recruiting websites. He is also, reportedly, pretty solid running between the tackles despite weighing under 200-pounds. Experience, correct insertion in the lineup and staying healthy are all going to be keys to Pender having a successful season. He should, though, at the very least be an entertaining player to watch whenever he steps a foot on the field.
Weaknesses: Mario Pender is fast, although, his size won’t lend himself to taking a ton of blows. A slew of other places do credit him with having the ability to run between the tackles — which may very well be true. There is a reason people tend to think smaller running backs have a harder time being solid for the long-haul, though. It is because they historically end up being injured in one way or another. It’s not really fair to peg Pender as an injury risk because of similar sized players before him, although, it is at least worth noting.
Fairly random, but awesome, Mario Pender factoid: Pender was once recorded as running the 100 meters in 10.61 seconds. Which means he is really, really fast.
Joseph is the editor of ChopChat. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow him on the mean streets of Twitter @JosephNardone