Get a scouting report on Helu AFTER the combine in 2011. The dude busted out an electronic 4.42 at 219#. I'm not saying Helu is a future pro bowler, but IMO his physical tools are much better than Burkhead's.
I just don't Mike Rozier when I watch Burkhead. In his time, Rozier was cross between Marcus Allen and Tony Dorsett. Yeah he busted in the pros, but as a pro prospect he looked like a future HOFer.
so you're basing this on a memory of Rozier which almost 30 years old of his final and Heisman season ( I don't think Rex has reached his full potential yet), probably not a diehard Husker fan and a highlight clip less than 3 minutes long? I am sure one more year and Rex could have just as an impressive highlight. Watching some more games, I agree, he isn't totally like Rozier, but I never said that, just similarities. Watching some more old Nebraska games, some of Rex's moves remind me of Lawrence Phillips, some of the cuts, but his physical style breaking tackles reminds me of Rozier. Diehard Nebraska fans have compared him to both. Some have compared him to Roger Craig as well but I don't know about that, he did lose his starting job to Rozier. Other fans that weren't around back then compare him to Robert Smith from the Vikings, I don't know, I don't remember him too well.
I wouldn't call Rozier a complete bust, he made the pro bowl twice in the NFL. He had success in the USFL before going to the NFL and the USFL had talent. Phillips was a bust because of his mentality and lack of dedication/off the field issues.
As far as arguably the best that year? Steve Young, Bo Jackson, William Perry, Reggie White, Vaughn Johnson, Bo was a sophomore but still made the All-American team and had a 250 yard game against a tough team in Alabama. Some people tend to rate players of the past a little higher than they actually were as if no one can compete with them from the present.
as far as the other posters, just a hard worker, I guess high motor too, not an athletic bone in his body, just heart that makes him such a good back while every team knows he is getting the ball, maybe he has some sneaky/deceptive speed, meanwhile Marcus Lattimore is explosive with no big homeruns, his 2 runs over 40 yards he was caught, one by a safety with a bad angle. Yes defenses key on him but he actually had a quaterback that can throw, where Burkhead could probably be just as good of a thrower as Martinez, at least for some of the inconsistent games.
And they haven't played in a primarily option offense (personally I don't think its a big deal either way), they have gone to more of an i formation power attack with Burkhead, probably 50/50 last year , maybe even less option being that I don't think Martinez ever figured out when to pitch and when to keep. They plan on doing even less option next year. If Martinez was still a threat to take it to the house then maybe more option, but something changed with him.
as far as Helu, who cares what he ran at the combine? its not what he runs on the field, he isn't a homerun threat. You think scouting reports of game footage should change after someone runs twice at the combine? Not unless the player runs way slower than expected. Helu had a long of 28 on 151 rushes, one play over 40 yards on 200+ touches last year. Homerun speed is overrated anyway, unless you find someone like Chris Johnson. Take for instance, the speedy Darren Sproles, his longest rush last year was 36 yards, and longest reception was 39. Jim Brown held the most 30+ yard td runs for the longest time with 6, its been broken twice, the last time was Chris Johnson with 7, DeAngelo Williams also had 7 once. Not many when you consider backs cay the ball 300+ times, well used to, not as much now with rbbc.
Anyway, I don't think his physical tools are better than Burkhead's when you look at them on the field. You can drool over a 219 pound guy running a 4.4 but at the end of the day that doesn't mean he has better physical tools. There is more to it than running in a straight line twice.