You would think that in the world of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and whatever the new social network craze is, that surprises in the fantasy football world would be few and far between. Instant information all the time. It is now harder than ever to find that “gem”, that “diamond in the rough” because we live in an “all information, all the time” world and secrets are almost impossible to keep. Well I have a secret. A man with two first names. A man I have appropriately nicknamed MJDJR (figure it out). A name that only recently had some heard for the first time. Well get ready to hear it again.
Zac Stacy! Who? Get this name in your brain. He’s no secret here at DFW, but for most, that name is not yet synonymous with “top prospect”. Make no mistake about it, this young man is a top prospect and deserves your attention. You will not find him on many rookie RB rankings near the top, but you will find him slowly creeping his way up most boards. As it happens I am in love with Zac Stacy and while we all want to be “smarter than the rest”, I have learned over the years that when my gut says “YES!”, I listen. Stacy is currently sitting at the #2 spot on my rookie RB rankings and while there is still a chance he moves down a bit, I can comfortably say, that I feel very confident in that ranking. So “why” are you supposed to trust my instincts you ask and ignore the masses? No need. You can make your own decision, but allow me to at least make the argument. (PS: the masses will come around )
Stacy went to High School in Centreville, Alabama. Bibb High School to be exact. He was a four year starter there and in his senior campaign rushed for over 2400 yards (11.1yds/carry) and 35 TDs. He is a two-time West Alabama Player of the Year and ended his prep career with 5,863 rushing yards and 76 total TDs.  Apparently in Alabama, that is just enough to have you barely recruited. Only a few teams showed real interest, Vanderbilt, UAB, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and Ole Miss. Of those schools only Vandy, and UAB offered him a scholarship. Vanderbilt it was!!
Zac made his first start at Vanderbilt in his true freshman year of 2009 after the starting RB at the time, Jared Hawkins, was sidelined with a foot injury. Stacy managed 135 yards that game (a Freshman record) alternating time with co-freshman RB Warren Norman.
Zac’s sophomore season was very productive but ended suddenly when he suffered a head injury that forced him to miss the last 3 games of the season. He still finished the season as the team’s second leading rusher and had some quality starts versus LSU, Georgia, and Florida.
By Stacy’s junior year (2011) he was off and running, earning Vandy’s Most Valuable Offensive Player award with a stat line that read: 1193 yards (team record), 14 TDs (team record) with a 6 yard/carry average. Stacy’s Junior year was very impressive and deserved it’s own highlight reel. Now, I know highlight reels are just that… highlights, but just do yourself a favor and sit back and enjoy this. We will get more critical in a little bit.
Now, if I don’t have your attention at this point, I am not sure there will be much else I can do, but I encourage you to continue, and for you non-highlight people, we will get to the “non-highlight” cut up in a few minutes, but if you saw what I saw, you saw a guy that “pops” on the field. He is a no-nonsense runner and while he appears small on the field at 5’8″ 216 lbs, he is built to dole out the punishment rather than take it. Stacy has a very strong lower body and arguably the best running “instincts” of any RB prospect in the draft. He won’t break away from anyone at the next level, but the way he attacks the line of scrimmage should give him some good head starts. Stacy has an awesome work ethic and it translates on the field as it is clear he runs with a purpose. He is also extremely effective inside (see next video) and outside the tackles. He catches the ball well, has been used effectively in the screen game, and picks up the blitz well above average. He takes what the defensive gives him, can cut on a dime, and can sneak through the smallest of holes.
If this seems like a lot of positives, it is. Stacy is incredibly well rounded, versatile, and electric. He is not without some faults, but first let’s take the time to watch him versus some SEC defenses and see if his highlights stack up.
2012 VS Georgia, Tenn, and Wake Forest
Stacy will take a good hit once in a while and, like any back his size, this makes him susceptible to that nagging injury or two. Stacy has never had any major injuries though, and this should only be considered a minor concern. He had a few fumbling issues (Arkansas 11′) but again, this would only be considered a minor concern to scouts. His number one concern is his lack of breakaway speed. Stacy posted a 4.55 forty time at the combine and while that is plenty of speed for a back with his quickness and elusiveness, it is likely that he will get run down on long runs that could prevent the play from resulting in a touchdown.
My current NFL comparison is Doug Martin. Both backs came from pass-oriented offenses and posted good, but modest statistics. The physical comparisons are just fantastic:
- Martin- 5′ 9″, 220 lbs, 4.55 forty time, 28 bench press reps, and a 36″ vertical
- Stacy- 5′ 8″, 216 lbs, 4.55 forty time, 27 bench press reps, and a 33″ vertical
Both backs are extremely well-rounded, are above average in pass protection, can catch the ball, and are elusive in the open field. While Martin might have been just a hair more polished overall, Stacy exhibits more quickness and pure instincts for the game.
Stacy, for some unknown reason, is severely under the radar this year and I feel it is my responsibility to alert you to this young man. By the time the draft is here, you will know who Zac Stacy is and I predict that you will see his name slowly but steadily climbing up the rankings. Like all rookies, landing spots will play a key role in the success of a player, but whatever team takes Stacy in April will be drafting him with the intention of using him early and often. There are few backs that are as well-rounded as Stacy and even fewer that have his natural instincts and explosion. Depending on your league and how savvy other owners are, Stacy could be an absolute steal for you in the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th round of your rookie draft. I doubt I will be as fortunate as some. Many may consider it a reach, but if Stacy lands somewhere like Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Arizona, GB, or Detroit (to name a few), I would have zero problem taking him as the first back off the board. Bold? Crazy? We shall see.