By Samuel Njoku
Bernard Pierce, RB, #30
Hometown: Ardmore, PA
When Ricky Williams retired from the NFL, the Ravens were left with a big hole. Ray Rice is one of the best running backs in the league, but he is not an every down back. If the Ravens were going to continue to succeed at running the football, they would need to bring in a player that can compliment Rice’s style of play. The Ravens would draft Bernard Pierce to fill the shoes of one of the greatest running backs in all of football. The opportunity to do so is one that few would have expected from the 6 foot tall running back.
Bernard Pierce grew up in Pennsylvania and attended school at Glen Mills High School. An Eagles fan growing up, the young running back played exceptional football racking up 1,578 yards and 26 touchdowns in his senior year alone. Those stats were more than enough to get him into Temple University where he would astonish coaches with his playmaking ability.
As a Temple Owl, Pierce would his career with 3,570 rushing yards. He was selected as the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-Mac honoree in his junior year. For a short time, there was speculation that he could be a nominee for the Heisman trophy. To this day, Pierce still holds multiple school records with 53 rushing touchdowns, 54 total touchdowns, and 324 points scored. Simply put, Bernard Pierce was born to play football. And because of his collegiate success, Pierce opted to forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft.
The Baltimore Ravens knew Bernard Pierce was too good to pass up when they selected him in the third round. The scouts in Baltimore got a good look at what he was capable of when he single handedly defeated the Maryland Terrapins with a career high 5 rushing touchdowns. With the high tempo offense a focal point in Baltimore, Pierce didn’t see the endzone much at all. That is until November 4th against the Cleveland Browns. His first professional touchdown gave Baltimore a 14-0 lead in a game that Coach John Harbaugh called a must-win game. Pierce, of course, was happy to finally reach the endzone.
“It felt good and it was a long time coming,” said Bernard Pierce. “I just need to keep building on top of what I’ve already been doing and hopefully the carries continue to come.”
He’s absolutely right. The carries will continue to come for Pierce as the rookie running back seems to improve every week. Pierce has noticed the improvement as well.
“In practice, my tempo has been crazy and I go as fast as possible,” Pierce stated. “I wanted to try to make sure I had everything down pat.”
With the cold weather becoming a factor as well as a passing attack that seems to struggle on the road, Pierce may hear his number called a few more times this season. Rice has always been the center piece of this offense. But when he needs a break, it is encouraging for coaches and fans to know that Pierce can get the job done.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.