Our scouting report series on Virginia Tech's 2020 recruiting class continues with three-star RB Jalen Hampton. Below are the players that we have already covered in this series of scouting reports.
Jalen Hampton, like Jordan Brunson, was an early summer commit for the Hokies after Virginia Tech was one of the first Power 5 schools to get involved in his recruitment. After that, Hampton was rock solid in his commitment with the Hokies continuing to be excited about his potential though injuries that limited him around his junior season and the spring after it, may have held some schools back.
Hampton had a big senior season rushing for 1,214 yards and 11 touchdowns in only 8.5 games. The most impressive fact may have been his impressive 7.2 yards per carry. Overall, his impressive senior production earned him All-Met First Team honors from the Washington Post this past season, beating out players like near five-star RB Marshawn Lloyd for the honor.
This was the third-straight season with Hampton running for over 1,000 yards, an impressive feat that shows the type of player he can be. Hampton is also a dangerous kick returner who averaged over 40 yards per return this past season.
What's clear is that Hampton is quite the productive playmaker both on offense and special teams so let's take a look at the tape.
The first thing that stands out is the fact that Hampton is a great contrast to the Hokies' other high school RB signee, Jordan Brunson. Hampton profiles as more of a speed back, but is more than comfortable running between the tackles and shows the potential to be a primary back, not just a change-of-pace speed option.
Hampton reports on his Hudl that he's ran a 4.46 40 yard dash, and he shows that speed at times from having very good explosiveness to the long-range speed on kickoff returns to keep away opposing defensive players.
What stands out more though is the agility and ability to change direction with ease that Hampton brings to the table. There are times where Hampton is able to slight yet significant changes in direction without seeming to break his stride much at all in the process. There aren't a lot of players who have the ability to change direction at speed at any level in the manner that Hampton is able to do so.
Hampton also brings plenty of ability to the table and knows how to make guys miss in one-on-one matchups in space. Given how much the Hokies like to try to create those one-on-one matchups in space with screens, jet sweeps, and outside the tackle runs; Hampton should fit well in the Hokies' offense in that regard.
Jalen Hampton isn't the strongest back and will never be a power runner, but he does have comfort running between the tackles and shows a decent amount of patience waiting for holes for a guy his age. Hampton also has good size that should help him be fairly durable at 5'11'' and 195 pounds with the frame to add some more weight without sacrificing the speed and agility that are key parts of his game.
As a receiver, Hampton doesn't seem to have much experience, but his ability to make plays in space should make him a threat on screen plays. Hampton also offers some potential on special teams as a kick returner who has experience back there and the speed to break big plays. Given how the Hokies have liked to use running backs on kick returns, don't be surprised to see Hampton figure in at that spot early on in his career.
Overall, Jalen Hampton may be a speed back, but he is the most complete back of the non-Power 5 transfer running backs for Virginia Tech. Hampton looks the part of a potential highly successful feature back that could take that responsibility in a few years from Keshawn King.
Jalen Hampton may be rated as only a mid three-star tailback, but the Hokies have found a gem as long as his past injuries are truly a thing of the past.