Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery has burst onto the scene as a rookie and is already regarded as a potential top rusher in the NFC.
Montgomery’s emergence is no surprise given the success he had in college. He spent three seasons with Iowa State and was the Cyclones leading rusher for two straight seasons.
As a junior, Montgomery finished 22nd in the nation with 1,216 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. His performance was strong enough to earn him All-Big 12 honors for a second consecutive season.
Just how good was Montgomery in college?
As a true freshman in Ames, Montgomery appeared in all 12 of Iowa State’s games in 2016, starting the last four. He had a pair of 100-yard performances late in the year against West Virginia (141) and Kansas (169) as his development exceeded expectations.
Not bad for a three-star recruit.
Iowa State was his first-choice school, but he also got offers from Ball State, Buffalo, and Miami (Oh.) but settled on his only power-five offer. Part of that was due to Montgomery being a quarterback in high school, yet he excelled as a rusher. On the ground, he had 6,666 yards and 91 touchdowns.
That rushing prowess transferred over to the college game where he became a strong running back. But it wasn’t until his sophomore season when he started gaining notoriety.
Montgomery was a guaranteed 100-yard per game rusher by his junior season, one of just 24 players in FBS to average that clip and only one of three in the Big 12.
But what was most impressive about Montgomery and perhaps the thing that most translates to the professional game was Montgomery’s ability to break tackles. As a sophomore, part of his incredible performance was his ability to do just that.
As a sophomore, he set an NCAA record with 104 forced missed tackles to break Dalvin Cook’s previous record of 89. That sophomore season, he was more involved in the receiving game than in any of his seasons at Iowa State.
Montgomery had 36 catches for 289 yards. His best receiving game as a sophomore came in an upset over Oklahoma when he caught seven passes for 89 yards. He set a career-high in single-game rushing as well that season, compiling 164 yards against Texas Tech.
Cyclones’ Offense Runs on Montgomery
Montgomery accounted for nearly 75 percent of Iowa State’s rushing during his junior year. The Cyclones as a team finished 111th in the FBS with just 1,691 yards for the season. Montgomery had 1,216 of that.
As a sophomore, that contribution was even larger. He accounted for 1,147 of Iowa State’s 1,470 total rushing yards. As a primary back in a power-five conference, Montgomery never shied away from a heavier workload. His mentality and physical running style make him a perfect fit for the NFL.
His 33 rushes against Drake last season were the 19th-most in a game all season. Montgomery’s ability to handle this workload has shown throughout his college career.
Now, he heads to the NFL looking to bring that same brand of heavy running and breaking tackles to the Chicago Bears’ offense.