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Pitt RB Israel Abanikanda Invited to the 2023 NFL Combine



Pitt running back Izzy Abanikanda.

The NFL Combine is perhaps the premier event of the offseason for draft hopefuls to make a mark.

It’s a week-long spectacle at Lucas Oil Stadium, where the top NFL Draft prospects run drills, have their measurables recorded and test themselves physically for NFL personnel, and Israel Abanikanda will be in attendance this year.

Abanikanda announced on his Instagram that he has been invited to the 2023 NFL Combine, which will take over the first week of March.

It’s an excellent chance for Abanikanda to showcase his measurables (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) and his explosive athleticism. He was one of the most explosive breakaway threats in college football last season, so his 40-yard dash time will be anticipated.

Abanikanda finished fourth in all-purpose yards (1,805 yards) and second in all-purpose yards per game (164 yards) in college football last season, and he led the nation in total touchdowns (21).

He rushed for 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2022, averaging six yards per attempt, and he added 146 receiving yards and 228 kickoff return yards. It’s not unfair to say he kept Pitt’s offense afloat during a sometimes lackluster overall showing in 2022.

In his Pitt career, Abanikanda rushed for 2,177 yards and 28 touchdowns on 390 carries, racked up 354 yards and three touchdowns on 38 receptions and returned 19 kickoffs for 434 yards and a touchdown.

Abanikanda’s junior season ranks as the eighth-best single-season effort in Pitt history, and his 320 yards and six touchdowns against Virginia Tech broke and tied, respectively, single-game records.

His 28 career touchdowns also rank eighth in team history, while he’s just one of four Pitt players to rush for at least 20 touchdowns in a single season.

In a recent Top 15 NFL Draft ranking released by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, he listed Abanikanda as his ninth-ranked running back in the class. With a strong showing at the combine, Abanikanda — one of the youngest running backs in the draft — could see his draft stock shoot up.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
1 year ago

9th are you kidding me. he’s way better than both the Illinois back & the Michigan back. More sports politics.

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
1 year ago

He will shine in the combine with his break away speed. He is better than both by a significant margin. You are correct.

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