George Atkinson III has spent the last two seasons on and off the Oakland Raiders practice squad after leaving Notre Dame following his junior season. The former Notre Dame running back is doing his best this pre-season to work his way on the Raiders active roster in 2016 following a five carry, 97 yard, two touchdown performance this weekend.
One of those touchdowns – an impressive 53 yarder – can be seen in the video above. Much like we did in college, Atkinson was untouchable once he got in the clear. He wasn’t done with one long touchdown run though. Later he added the 35 yarder below.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 13, 2016
Atkinson’s straight line speed has never been questioned. When he played for Notre Dame he was a nightmare for opposing defenses when he got in the clear – see 2012 Navy, 2012 Miami, 2013 Oklahoma, and 2013 Navy. For his career, Atkinson averaged an impressive 6.16 yards per carry. His weakness in college, however, was he was very much an all or nothing runner.
Over the past two seasons, Atkinson has been on the Raiders active roster from time to time but has not yet notched his first career carry. In 2014 he did returned 7 kickoffs for 134 yards in five games. Last year, however, Atkinson didn’t have any official statistics.
While his performance this weekend was impressive, he still has a long way to go to be on the 53 man roster in September and he is well aware. He told ESPN:
“You want to have confidence,” Atkinson told reporters after rushing for 97 yards and two breathtaking touchdowns on five carries. “But you also need to work on things that didn’t go right and to continue to get better and, I’m still trying to make the team.”
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he said. “This one’s in the bag; we’re done with this game. We’re going to get some corrections made and go into Green Bay.”
Atkinson will have three more live auditions to impress the Raiders coaching staff and front office. The Raiders next pre-season game is Thursday night @ 8:00 against the Green Bay Packers.
Here’s wishing Atkinson luck this August and having another former Golden Domer on active roster this September.