Miami running back DeeJay Dallas (13) runs for a touchdown during the first half of a game against Virginia on Oct. 11, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Miami running back DeeJay Dallas (13) runs for a touchdown during the first half of a game against Virginia on Oct. 11, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Get to know: Seahawks 4th-round pick DeeJay Dallas

The running back from Miami says he loves protecting the quarterback.

  • Bob Condotta The Seattle Times
  • Saturday, May 2, 2020 7:20pm
  • SportsSeahawks

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

The Seattle Seahawks were widely expected to take a running back at some point in the 2020 draft and they did just that with the 144th overall pick.

It just may not have been a player many had heard of — Miami’s DeeJay Dallas.

Dallas had a career high of 691 yards rushing last year at Miami and 1,525 overall in his career, fewer than some of the top backs available in the draft had last season.

But the draft is about projecting what a player can do at the next level and the Seahawks undoubtedly see a player in Dallas who has some abilities it can hone to compete for a depth spot at the position this year and down the road.

Dallas ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine, but has been said to play faster than his listed times.

Fantasypros.com wrote this about Dallas: “DeeJay Dallas came into the Combine with the expectation that he wasn’t going to blow people away with his athleticism. However, Dallas is a good RB prospect with his ability to run between the tackles and his receiving ability. As an added bonus, he’s one of the best RBs in pass protection in this class. Dallas could be a late round gem that works his way onto the field quickly due to his proficiency in blocking.”

Let’s get to know more about Dallas:

Name: DeeJay Dallas

College: Miami

Height: 5-9

Weight: 215

The Skinny: Dallas was a consensus top-300 recruit coming out of Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga., where he played receiver and defensive back before settling in at quarterback as a senior.

He threw for 911 yards as a senior and ran for 1,201 and had offers from the likes of Georgia and Alabama before picking Miami to play for coach Mark Richt, who had been at Georgia previously

An early enrollee, he initially worked as a receiver for Miami before being moved to running back, where he stayed the next three seasons.

Dallas rushed for 217 yards as a freshman in 2017 then became a bigger part of the offense the next two years with 617 and 619 yards his final two years, averaging 5.8 yards per carry for his career.

And while he didn’t put up huge receiving numbers — 28 receptions for 317 yards in three seasons at Miami — his receiving past shows that can be a big part of his game going forward.

He also had a nose for the end zone scoring 19 touchdowns on 293 touches in his college career.

Dallas battled a fumbling issue briefly issue during the 2018 season and briefly saw a sports psychologist.

Dallas told Seattle reporters in a conference call that the fumbles came around the same time he learned he was about to be a father — he has a son, DeeJay Dallas Jr., who is 10 months old.

“I honestly just talked to him and everything just got better, just getting that big issue off of my mind was really the issue,” Dallas said.

He came back last season and did not have a fumble in 129 touches.

Dallas is also known for his blocking and pass protection and said “my favorite part of third down situations is protecting the quarterback and kind of enforcing your will on the other guy across from you.”

The Seahawks will like hearing that.

Dallas also has a history as a kickoff and punt returner, particularly in the 2018 season when he had a long kickoff return of 53 yards and a long punt return of 65 yards, and he seems likely to get a heavy dose of special teams work with the Seahawks.

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