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32 DAYS TO 2018 KICKOFF: Justin Silmon

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In which BracketCat counts down the 32nd day until the 2018 kickoff with a profile of running back Justin Silmon.

#32 Justin Silmon
Justin Silmon (32) had fewer of these highlight runs last season, possibly due to a lingering injury, but he still provides the lightning to Alex Barnes’ hurdling thunder. When both are at top speed ... look out!
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

#32 Justin Silmon

Redshirt Senior | 5-10 | 200 lbs. | Tulsa, Oklahoma
Justin Silmon
Justin Silmon
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Running Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Second-String
  • Status: On Scholarship

Justin Ja’Rel Silmon (b. Aug. 4, 1995) is a tough, physical runner who has produced during his first three seasons on the field. He became just the 30th player in school history with 1,000 career rushing yards when he topped the mark as a junior.

Silmon, who enters his senior campaign tied for sixth in K-State history in career rushing yards per carry (5.04), redshirted in 2014, earned a scholarship after the 2015 season and joined co-star Alex Barnes on the 2017 Doak Walker Award preseason watch list.

The first sign that he might have an impact came when 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 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.

Silmon saw action in 12 games in 2016, 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.

Last season, Silmon took a step back, partly due to a presumed injury and partly due to the continued growth of Barnes. But he still saw action in each of the final 11 games of the year, rushing for 225 yards on 43 carries while catching two passes for nine yards.

Silmon recorded a season-high 45 yards at Texas Tech, a game that featured a career-long 42-yard rush. He was rather limited in the 2018 spring game, with two carries for 4 yards.

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.