Will Baltimore’s Terrance West answer his NFL critics?

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Terrance West was drafted in the third round— the 94th overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2014. The Dawg Pound was excited to get a big physical running back to fit their ground and pound offense.

Not only did West put up dynamic numbers and break school records at Towson, he was also a big physical back standing at 5 feet 10 inches and weighing in at 225 pounds. The dynamic running back is a native of Baltimore who grew up in a single parent home on the west side of town.

West has overcome many struggles in life, even after graduating from Northwestern as a two-time All-Baltimore City selection, who amassed 4,700 total yards, and was an honorable mention All-Metro selection. West went on to attend a prep school in Virginia but the distance between him and his family was too much so he left after a year.

The following year he looked for schools that would accept him as a transfer student while sitting out due to NCAA rules. Due to low SAT scores, he was unable to attend Clemson, a school he wanted to play for. He was also recruited by the University of Maryland but after a change in coaching staff their interest in him faded. When we was about to play for Morgan State University a paperwork error made him miss another chance at playing on the collegiate level. Finally after losing many opportunities, he was put in contact with Rob Ambrose, the coach of Towson University who was interested in him and the rest is history.

West came to Cleveland after a star-studded career at Towson University. In just three years he amassed 4,854 yards, averaging 132.1 yards per game and 6.1 yards per attempt with a whopping 84 rushing touchdowns. West also caught 36 balls for 385 yards and two touchdowns.

Cleveland was looking for any way to reenergize the fans who have been waiting on a post season appearance since its last appearance, a 2002 wildcard loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. With much anticipation to start his rookie year in Cleveland alongside fellow rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, West hoped the two would bring a dual offense attack, which the Browns clearly lacked in previous years.

In his first NFL game against the Steelers, West showed what every fan wanted to see, he rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries and the Browns nearly upset the Steelers in week one of the 2014 NFL season. The Browns fans thought this would be the beginning of an exciting year and up to about midseason they were right in the thick of things tied for the AFC North division.

After the exciting performance in game one, West never had another 100-yard performance. The only other dynamic performances were in Week 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals and Week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens where he rushed for 94 yards and one touchdown in both games.

The Browns lost five of their next eight games continuing their streak of missing the postseason. However, West finished the season as the leading rusher accumulating 673 yards rushing on 171 carries with four touchdowns. He had some highs and many lows such as weeks 7, 8 and 11 when he carried the ball a combined 17 times and only produced 31 yards. Even so, his rookie season wasn’t too bad but there were questions surrounding his maturity level. He was benched during the Jacksonville game and in another game he didn’t even see the field!

Brown’s coach Mike Pettine spoke to the media about West saying, “He’s real good when he has the ball, but just in some of the other areas of the game, he needs to improve. It also comes back, when we have the type of depth and competition, it comes down to practice. We’ll be men of our words when we say ‘whoever practices best will be up for the game.”

West wasn’t the only rookie running back on the team. Isaiah Crowell (undrafted) when given the opportunity showed the Browns he too could be a dynamic back. He finished the season second best on the team in yards (603) and doubling West’s four touchdowns with eight of his own.

Even after the productivity of both rookie running backs, the Browns again selected a running back with the third round pick in the 2015 NFL draft. A sign that the Browns are still searching for continuity at the position.

I’m looking forward to a productive year from West, a local product who knows what it means to work hard. Keep an eye open for him. He is coming with no sophomore slump in sight.