The NFL season is drawing ever closer to the end of the regular season and with that, it’s time to fire up the annual Diamond in the Rough series. The first prospect we will examine this year is running back Alex Lakes from Mercer University. Lakes is a 5-foot-11, 221-pound violent runner. Lakes has made quite the name for himself in college, becoming Mercer’s career rushing touchdowns earlier this month against Western Carolina. As a Sophomore, Lakes completed over 30 hours of community service through Streets to Success, an after school mentoring program for children in Macon.
“I mean it’s kind of what I expected going to a small school,” said Lakes. “I didn’t really expect to be a high prospect as you expect some of the guys at the other schools. You can see in the league now there are plenty of guys who go undrafted or late round and just take a different route than the top drafted guys and they still have successful careers. I don’t think a sleeper is a bad thing you just kinda have to have a chip on your shoulder and prove people wrong. I have a few friends who went undrafted, smaller school guys who were undersized and didn’t have all the measurables and they’re making a name for themselves. I kind of try and follow that same path and if I’m given the opportunity to just make the best of it and do everything I can to play as long as I can.”
While Lakes has piled up 32 touchdowns, 2,604 yards and a 4.93 yards per carry average in the rushing attack while at Mercer, he hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase his receiving capabilities. Lakes knows the importance of a running back’s role in the passing game and seems confident he can handle it.
“I definitely think I could be successful [in the passing game],” said Lakes. “I have good hands as a running back I feel like I can make things happen with the ball in my hand. I can get yards, break tackles and get first downs. The thing I’d probably have to work on is route running because I didn’t have a full route tree here at Mercer. It was just a lot of spots and swing routes and things of that nature. My coach says I have reliable hands. I don’t think I’ve ever dropped a pass in a game or anything like that. I think I’d be able to handle it at the next level.”
The 23-year old running back knows he still has a lot of doubters to prove wrong and is ready and willing to put in the work. Not only is he working hard in the weight room but also in the classroom.
“I’m just going to keep working out and working hard,” said Lakes. “I’m on track to graduate in May with my Masters in Higher Education so I’m going to be working on that as well. I’ll be preparing for my pro day and trying to do my best at that and just see where the chips fall. I’m just going to work my hardest for this pro day and work hard in school.”
Lakes has attacked every level of competition he has faced with a sense of urgency. Soon he will have his opportunity to show the NFL just who Alex Lakes is.