A Different Type of Miami Deejay

**Taken From My Writing on State Of The U**

He’s now known as a starting running-back for Miami, but it’s only been a year since Deejay Dallas made the switch from receiver. Regardless of the flexibility and drive Dallas has to switch positions and remain on top, he prefers to be called an athlete before claiming a position title.

The 5’10, 220-pound sophomore seems comfortable now in his position, joining junior Travis Homer to make an electric backfield tag-team for the Hurricanes. However, it wasn’t always a simple or easy transition, “At first it was a hassle,” Dallas said in an interview last month, “Because I didn’t like the feeling of not knowing.” When Mark Walton experienced a season-ending injury in the 2017 Florida State game (24-20 for Miami), someone needed to step up, and Richt decided that was Dallas.

Regardless of Dallas’ initial views on the changes, he’s become one of college football’s best runners, with an average carry of 7.0 yards. Pro Football Focus, marked Dallas’ “Elusive” Rating (his success past the point of blockers) at 197.2, second in Power 5 conference running backs, only Mississippi State’s Kylan Hill ranked higher at 200.2.

Dallas had 31 yards respectively against FSU. However, he really shined during the UNC game, where he ran for a career high 114 yards (over half of his total yards from all of last season), and only 11 carries. He’s made giant strides since his freshman year when he only touched the ball once against FSU for an 18- yard kick-off return. Dallas ranks 25th among the mere 27 running backs in the ACC who have at least 25% of their teams carries, he’s also the highest ranked offensive player on the Hurricanes according to PFF.

Homer still leads the team in rushing with 434 yards this season (versus Dallas’ 369). With Ahmmon Richards’ career-ending injury leaving a serious gap in Miami’s game, Miami had to shuffle their play deck and lean a bit more on the running backs than before. Despite the Hurricane’s narrow win over FSU on Saturday, the rushing yards were vital in the UNC game and will be important on future matchups this season.

And to think Dallas’ hotbox of rush talent was starting at receiver just a year ago.

Although Richt’s decision to split up the playing time between Homer and Dallas is set, it doesn’t mean there’s a harsh or purely competitive relationship between the two, “It’s really just a vet and a semi-vet trying to become a vet,” Dallas said about his fellow running back, “That’s how we complement each other; he leads me and I just lead the other guys.” Richt first recruited Georgia-native Dallas to play at UGA before leaving for Miami, and was able to have Dallas follow him to Miami because of his coaching for the game “I feel like Richt is one of the best coaches in college football right now” Dallas said in a WQAM interview.

With the excitement of the FSU nail-biter under our belts and a game against Virginia this week, Hurricanes fans should be excited about the future rushing game of this team. Dallas is a player who’s devoted to do anything for the betterment of the team, “We have the best fans in the land, with the best stadium in the land” Dallas said.

 

Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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