LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – New Mexico State running back Jason Huntley is the newest member of the Detroit Lions. The Lions used their fifth round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, pick No. 172 overall, to select Huntley. He becomes just the third running back out of New Mexico State to be drafted.
Huntley is among the fastest backs in the Class of 2020 and his versatility is almost certainly what the Lions fell in love with. The Texas native made a name for himself in 2018, leading the FBS with three kick returns for touchdowns.
“I was happy, I was speechless,” Huntley said. “All my hard work just paid off, and I’m just happy to be a Detroit Lion. That’s the biggest thing, I’m just happy to be able to get with my teammates and just make the best of it.”
The next-level Aggie is an all-purpose back. He can run and catch the ball out of the backfield, but you can also split him out wide as a receiver. In his senior year at New Mexico State, Huntley rushed for 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns, but he also hauled in 40 receptions for another two scores. In fact, Huntley recorded 39 receptions or more in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. He is the only draft-eligible running back with 1,000-career receiving yards.
Huntely finished his Aggies career with 4,837 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns, five of those scores coming in the return game.
“We’re all so proud of Jason,” NM State head coach Doug Martin said. “He’s a great example for all players that if you’re unselfish and really wanted to be coached, great things can happen for you. He’ll have a great career.”
Despite his production, Huntley was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February. At 5-foot-9 – 190 pounds, he is undersized for an NFL running back, but what he lacks in size he makes up for with elite speed. Huntley recorded a 4.4 – 40 at New Mexico State’s Pro Day in March.
Huntley thinks he can help the Lions immediately with his multi-faceted game.
“I think I fit great honestly,” Huntley said. “I think I fit the scheme, I talked to the coach and they’ll find ways to get me on the field. However I can help the team, I’m willing to do it.”
All Huntley wanted going into the draft was an opportunity to prove himself, he will get that shot in Detroit.