Measurements: Five foot nine, 200 pounds
Hometown: Miami, Florida
High School: Miami Central High School
From his days playing for the Central Rockets, Joseph Yearby was one of the most sought after running backs at the high school level. Yearby choose to attend the University of Miami over Alabama, Florida State and West Virginia. Starting his collegiate career as an early enrollee, Yearby looked to run early and as often as the Hurricanes would give him the ball.
As a freshman, Yearby hit the ground and the running lanes hard. While he’s good at getting to the edge of the defense, turning the corner upfield for a big gain, he also possesses a good pair of hands that defenses have to respect when he comes out of the backfield on routes. His first touchdown as a Miami Hurricane came through the air against Duke. His first time running into the end zone would follow weeks later, when he ran for 104 rushing yards on 22 carries. Yearby would tally 509 rushing yards with a 5.92 yards per carry average, adding eight receptions for 118 yards in 2014. Not too shabby for a rookie who split carries with Miami's all-time leading rusher, Duke Johnson.
After Duke Johnson declared for the NFL Draft as an early entrant, it appeared that Yearby would jump into the starting role at tailback. Yearby met and surpassed expectations in his sophomore season. In three of the first four games of the 2015 season, Yearby either rushed for a touchdown or surpassed the century mark. He is the third back since 2011 to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a season, the others being Duke Johnson (2014) and Lamar Miller (2011). That season, he had 205 attempts for 1,002 yards, with a yards per carry average of 4.89. His 23 receptions ranked fourth on the team that season, and his 11.78 yards per catch average placed him sixth.
Yearby did his best in an offense that leaned more to the pass than to the run during that 2015 season, and he was able to put together a respectable season.
Entering the 2016 season, there was belief that Miami would place a greater emphasis on running the ball, with Yearby being the lead back or, at worse, a co-starter with Mark Walton. It was Walton, however, who took the ball and ran away from not only defenders but also the rest of the RBs on the roster. Each season is unique, so comparing Yearby’s sophomore year to his 2016 junior season is a difficult task.
Looking at his numbers alone, it would appear that Yearby was the number two back behind Walton, with his 102 carries for 608 rushing yards, seven TDs, and 5.96 yards per carry average. Gus Edwards would be the third back in terms of carries, with 59 rushing attempts. However, Walton got the workhorse label, and Gus Edwards saw his reps increase in the latter half of the season at the expense of Yearby.
In an Instagram post before the conclusion of the regular season, Yearby announced that the upcoming home game would be his last before taking the post down. He was a man of his word, officially declaring at the beginning of 2017 his intention to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
A portion of the Miami fanbase and draft evaluating community were puzzled why Yearby would declare for the draft after the 2016 season. Here are some possible reasons: the lifespan of running backs are always hard to assess, he may want to earn more for his young family, and he’s drummed up some interest from teams at the pro level according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Yearby looked to make his mark at UM’s Pro Day. Those on hand recorded the back’s 40-yard dash time as 4.70–4.74. Anyone who watches his film can see that Yearby runs much faster than that time indicates. Yearby performed well in the rest of the on-field workout.
Best Game Film
Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida Atlantic Owls, September 11, 2015
- Decided to attend Miami over USC, Florida State, Florida, and Alabama
- Has two young children
- Split carries with fellow prospect Dalvin Cook at Miami Central
- Named to All-ACC third team in 2015
In a draft that some are touting as having one of the best running back classes in a decade or longer, Joseph Yearby is set up to be a bargain for whoever selects him. There are many instances of players who get drafted late and use that as motivation throughout their careers. A team will definitely be getting a highly motivated runner when Yearby comes through the building.