Pure numbers are not the most effective way to figure out where UAB junior DeWayne McBride fits among the nation’s leading rushers.

Officially, in rushing yards gained, he is tied for 21st in the country. McBride has 400 yards rushing. The national leader, Illinois’ Chase Brown, has 604 yards. The Conference USA leader, Hoover High graduate Larry McCammon of FAU, has 433 yards.

Look a little closer, though, and you see that most of the players ahead of him have played in four or, in McCammon’s case, five games. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound McBride has played in two of UAB’s three games thus far. He missed the opener because he was sick and carried the football 48 times in the two games before UAB’s bye week.

So, we’ll move to yards per game to see where he fits in. McBride is averaging a hefty 200 yards per game, yet he’s not listed in the national rankings. The reason is because he has not played in 75% of his team’s games, which is the qualifier for that category. So, the national leader is Chase Brown, who is averaging 151 yards through four games. McCammon is the C-USA leader in that category at 86.60 yards per games while UAB’s Jermaine Brown Jr. is second at 82.33 yards per game.

Next, we will check out the yards per carry (ypc), where McBride is the NCAA active career leader at 7.4 yards. This season, McBride averaged 8.33 yards per carry on his 48 carries.  Once again, he’s not eligible to be included in the national stats but two players — Penn State’s Nicholas Singleton (8.95 ypc on 42 carries) and East Carolina’s Keaton Mitchell (8.39 ypc on 46 carries) – are ahead of him. Both have played in four games.

Ayo Adeyi of North Texas, who averages 6.67 ypc, is first in C-USA, and Jermaine Brown (6.50 ypc) is second. McBride would be considerably ahead of both.

His five rushing touchdowns are tied for 19th in the country and third in Conference USA. Again, every player ahead of him has played in at least four games.

If McBride plays this upcoming Saturday at Rice, he will be eligible to be included in all the stat categories.

Truthfully, individual rankings, whether they be national or conference, aren’t needed to acknowledge that it’s been a special start to the season for McBride. He hasn’t been perfect — there were the two lost fumbles at Liberty — but he has been dominant. In two games, he has seven carries of 20 yards or more, four carries that resulted in 10 to 19 yards and nine touches that gained between five and nine yards. His touchdown runs came from 9, 1, 31, 27 and 4 yards.

Now, this doesn’t come as a surprise. These types of numbers were almost expected after his first two seasons, when he carried the ball 209 times for 1,555 yards with 16 touchdowns. It’s definitely not surprising after watching him run for 183 yards and two touchdowns in the Independence Bowl win over 13th ranked BYU.

One thing he hasn’t done this season is break a long touchdown run where he outraces the secondary. In his first two seasons, his touchdown runs included sprints of 75, 71 and 64 yards. He also had a 67-yard run against UTEP that didn’t result in a touchdown.

Overall, McBride is better than ever, which UAB head coach Bryant Vincent saw coming.

“This offseason, he just took the next step,” Vincent said. “How he trained, how he ate, his diet, his sleep, his practice habits. He did not come out one single time in spring or fall camp and have an average day. He came out and had great days. He was focused every day, and I can’t say that about him the previous two years. His maturity and growth has continued, and he’s just becoming a professional. How he eats, how he lifts, how he’s in the training room, how he studies film. He’s becoming a complete football player.”

Some have suggested that a grassroots Heisman Trophy campaign should be started soon for McBride. For now, he’s on watch lists for the Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award. If he keeps putting up similar numbers, which won’t be easy, then the attention will come. Vincent said that type of thing won’t be his motivation.

“[McBride] is a very unselfish teammate, a very unselfish player,” Vincent said. “It’s more about his teammates and his love for his team than it is him. He shows it every day. You have some players who are talented, as talented as him, but they don’t have the mindset, and they don’t have the selflessness that he has. It shows, and it spreads through the team.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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