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32 DAYS TO 2017 KICKOFF: Justin Silmon

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In which BracketCat counts down the 32nd day until the 2017 kickoff with a profile of running back Justin Silmon.

#32 Justin Silmon
Faster than a speeding bullet: The lightning to Alex Barnes’ thunder, Justin Silmon (32) had a breakout season of his own last year as both of them teamed up to displace Charles Jones.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

#32 Justin Silmon

Redshirt Junior | 5-10 | 195 lbs. | Tulsa, Oklahoma
Justin Silmon
Justin Silmon
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Running Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Co-Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Justin Ja’Rel Silmon (b. Aug. 4, 1995) is a tough, physical runner who redshirted in 2014 and has produced during his first two seasons on the field. He will complete with fellow 2016 breakout performer Alex Barnes for starting duties in the backfield as a junior.

A former walk-on who earned a scholarship after the 2015 season and now joins Barnes on the 2017 Doak Walker Award watch list, Silmon tallied nine carries for 65 yards for the Purple team in the 2015 spring game, which led all rushers. Along with Winston Dimel, he was one of two freshman highlighted after by Bill Snyder for their efforts.

Silmon played in all 13 games in 2015, finishing third on the team with 355 yards on 78 carries and two touchdowns. His 355 rushing yards were the second most in school history among freshmen and featured a 119-yard game against Louisiana Tech, the fourth most in a game in school history by a freshman.

Silmon’s effort against the Bulldogs was the first 100-yard game by a K-State running back since the 2013 regular-season finale. He also had 50-yard games against South Dakota (51) and at Oklahoma State (50), and collected rushing touchdowns at UTSA and Oklahoma State.

Last season, Silmon saw action in 12 games, including his first career start at West Virginia. He rushed for 464 yards and three touchdowns on 86 carries for the year.

Silmon ended the regular season on a high note with 133 yards and two touchdowns at TCU, both career highs. He also teamed with Jesse Ertz (170 yards) to produce the Wildcats’ first double 100-yard game since 2012, while it was tied for the third-most combined yards in a double 100-yard game in school history.

Silmon also combined with Ertz and wide receiver Byron Pringle (126 yards) to give the Wildcats their first game with two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver since 2003 (versus California). He carried 10 times for 77 yards — including a career-long rush of 36 yards — against Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl and rushed for another touchdown against Iowa State.

Silmon prepped under head coach Kirk Friedrich at prestigious Union High School in Tulsa, where he helped the Redskins to obtain a 12-2 record and a state runner-up finish in 2013, also earning all-district honors.

He also had a great junior year when he rushed 156 times for 1,149 yards and 15 touchdowns, and hauled in 13 receptions for 229 yards and another two scores. Injuries apparently were kept Silmon off most Division I teams’ radars, so we stole him as a walk-on.