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Steele played two seasons at traditional JUCO power Northwest Mississippi Community College before heading to Memphis to bolster the Tigers' running attack. Coaches liked what they saw immediately, awarding him with the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year award after his 2007 redshirt season.
That award portended the production the Tennessee native was to have over the next two years. Steele was named the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year and second-team all-conference in 2008, gaining 1,223 yards and scoring seven times. He then averaged a whopping 6.3 yards on his 198 carries in 10 games in 2009, garnering first-team all-conference accolades by running for 1,239 yards and 15 scores despite missing two games and was limited in a third due to an injured left knee.
The show Steele put on late in the season against Tulsa (232 yards, four TDs) and during Texas vs. the Nation practices as a slashing, explosive back convinced scouts he could be worth a shot late in the draft.
Inside: Flows through trash, sinking his hips to cut. Used in an east-west running system, but cuts and accelerates between the tackles when given the room to do so. Good vision to set up defenders and bounce outside if he sees an opening. Won't run through NFL linebackers to pick up the tough yard, but will spin off bodies and fall forward when grabbed from behind.
Outside: Good straight-line speed; will explode through an opening and take the ball to the end zone. Hard to catch down the sideline without a perfect angle. A bit upright and long-limbed, but runs with nice balance. Patient when following pulling guard; lets block develop and decides the hole through which to burst.
Breaking tackles: Not a power back, but runs hard enough to run through arm tackles at the line and keeps his legs moving after initial contact. Will get tripped up running through trash. Needs to protect the ball, fumbled three times in 2009 and redshirted in 2007 in part to work on ball security.
Blocking: Good pass protector who plays with a wide base, seeks out contact and extends arms to latch on and sustain against bigger defensive ends and linebackers. Will also lower the shoulder to stop oncoming blitzers, but that won't work in the NFL.
Receiving: Not used a lot in the passing game, but appears capable of catching screen passes and also be effective over the middle. Secures the catch before heading upfield, using his vision and shifty hips to find the available space.
Intangibles: Team captain. Has earned teammates' and coaches' respect by his work in the classroom, weight room and on the field.
Played in 10 of 12 games with nine starts at running back...Awarded the team's Offensive Player of the Year award and was selected by his teammates as one of three permanent captains...Finished the season ranked first on the team in rushing yards (1,239), carries (198), average per carry (6.3), rushing touchdowns (15), points scored (96) and all purpose yards (1,1362)...Ranked second on the team in total offense (1,239)...Finished career ranked third in school history with 2,462 career rushing yards...Tied DeAngelo Williams for the fastest Memphis back to 2,000 yards rushing with both accomplishing the feat in their first 21 games...Is the only two-year player on the Memphis top 10 career rushing leader chart...His 5.9 career rushing yard average ranked second in school history behind DeAngelo William's 6.2 average from 2002-05...Ranks fourth in career rushing touchdowns with 22 and in total touchdowns scored with 23...Ranks second all-time at Memphis with 12 career 100-yard rushing games...His 1,239 yards rushing in 2009 ranks fourth on the school season record chart...His six 100-yard games in 2009 ranks tied for fourth in school history in a single season...His 12 rushing touchdowns in 2009 ranks as the fifth highest in school history...His 13 total touchdowns on the year (12 rush, 1 rec.) ranks tied for fourth in school history and his 96 points ranks seventh...Ended his career tied for third with four-consecutive 100-yard rushing games...Had three career 200-yard rushing games (two in 2009), which ranks second in school history...Averaged 123.9 yards rushing per game and 136.2 all purpose yards...Scored rushing touchdowns in 12 of his last 16 games and scored 21 TDs in the span.
Averaged 156.9 rushing yards in his last seven games with 12 touchdowns during the stretch...Led the team with 15 20-yard plus plays (14 rush, 1 rec.)...67 of his rush attempts went for first downs or touchdowns...Also had 18 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown...Rushed for a team high 90 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in the season opener against Ole Miss...Second time he has scored two TDs in a game with the other being against Southern Miss last season...Rushed 12 yards for a touchdown with 6:10 remaining in the first quarter against Middle Tennessee...Had 29 yards rushing on five attempts before leaving the game in the second quarter with an injury...Did not play against UT Martin and Marshall due to the injury...Returned against UCF and had 22 yards rushing on eight attempts...Also caught three receptions for 21 yards with a career long catch of 20 yards...Had a career high 240 yards rushing on 39 carries against UTEP...The 240 rushing yards ranks fourth all-time in school history and his 39 carries ranks in a tie for second...Named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week for his performance...Averaged 6.2 yards per carry and had his third career multi-touchdown game and second of the season...Scored three touchdowns against the Miners (2 rush, 1 receiving) that ties him for sixth all-time in school history for most TDs in a game...Caught his first career receiving touchdown on a two-yard pass from Will Hudgens...His 250 all-purpose yards in the game (240 rush, 10 rec) ranks 11th in school history.
Converted five of the Tigers' 10 third down conversions and 13 of his runs resulted in a first down or a touchdown...Had his second-straight 100-yard rushing game with 136 yards on 24 carries against Southern Miss...Rushed for a season long 32 yards in the game...Had a career best four receptions for 30 yards and totaled 166 all-purpose yards...Rushed for 79 yards on 15 carries against East Carolina...Averaged 6.9 yards per carry against Tennessee and totaled 144 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns...11 of his 21 runs were for first down or a touchdown...Ran for over 100 yards for the second-straight game and fourth time in the last five contests with 107 yards rushing on 20 attempts against UAB...Also scored two touchdowns for the second-straight game and totaled 135 all-purpose yards...Had his third-straight multiple touchdown game and 100-yard rushing game with 160 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries against Houston...Also had two receptions for seven yards...Logged his fourth-straight 100-yard rushing game and sixth in the last seven games with 232 yards on 19 carries against Tulsa...Also had his four-straight multiple touchdown game with a career best four rushing TDs, which ties a school record for most rushing scores in a game...Had career long touchdown runs of 59 and 77 yards...Tulsa entered the final game of the season allowing just five rushing touchdowns in its previous 11 games...His 12.2 rushing average in the game ranks as the third highest in school history...The 232 rushing yards ranks as the seventh highest in school history and the 257 all-purpose yards ranks eighth...Scored three of his touchdowns in the second half...Also had two receptions for 25 yards.
Named 2008 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year...Was a 2008 All-Conference USA Second Team selection...Named the Offensive Player of the Year at the team's post-season banquet...Played in all 13 games with 12 starts at running back...Did not start against Marshall as Memphis went with four receivers to start the game...Is only the fourth different Tiger to reach the 1,000 yard rushing mark in a season...His 1,223 yards rushing on the season ranks fourth all-time at Memphis behind only DeAngelo Williams...Scored six rushing touchdowns in the last six games...Finished the season ranked 33rd nationally in rushing yards per game (94.1) and 68th in all-purpose yards (112.3)...Ranked fourth in C-USA in rushing and 9th in all-purpose yards...Led the team in rushing (1,223), rush attempts (218), rushing touchdowns (7) and scoring by a non-kicker with 42 points...Totaled six 100-yard rushing games in 2008, which ranks tied for fourth at Memphis in both career and in a single season...His 218 rush attempts on the season ranks sixth in Tiger history...Averaged 105.8 yards rushing in the last 10 games, with all six 100-yard performances occurring in the stretch...Logged three consecutive 100-yard games versus Nicholls State, Arkansas State and UAB...Tallied a career-high 203 yards versus ASU...Scored in five of the last six games of the season...Made 20 or more carries in four games...Was in on two highly-successful "hook-and-ladder" plays during the season...Both plays resulted in gains of more than 40 yards...Registered eight carries of 20 or more yards...Ole Miss: Started in his first appearance with Memphis and led the team with 83 rushing yards on 15 attempts...Had 45 yards on five carries in the fourth quarter on a 66-yard touchdown drive...Five of his 15 carries resulted in a first down...Rice: Had 12 rushes for 44 yards and a long of 11.
Made his first reception for Memphis on a 19-yard catch...Marshall: Rushed 38 yards on seven carries and had one reception for 11 yards...Nicholls State: Rushed for 109 yards on 20 carries...Averaged 5.4 yards per carry...Arkansas State: Rushed for 203 yards on 22 carries for his second consecutive game over 100 yards...Is the first Memphis back to rush for over 200 yards since DeAngelo Williams in 2005...Had a career best 46-yard carry in the third quarter, which was the longest run from scrimmage since DeAngelo Williams in 2005...Marked the first time since 2005 that a Tiger back has rushed for back-to-back 100-yard games...Rushed for his first touchdown as a Tiger on a two-yard run with 2:12 remaining in the fourth quarter...Averaged 9.2 yards per carry...Seven of his 22 rush attempts were for 10 yards or more....Also had a 37-yard rush in the fourth quarter that led to a Memphis field goal....Ten of his 22 rushes resulted in Memphis first downs...Rushed for 16 yards for a first down on a 3rd-and-10 in the Tigers' opening touchdown drive...Ran for 133 yards in the second half on 12 carries...UAB: Ran for over 100 yards for the third-straight game...Finished with 101 yards rushing on 14 carries...Had long runs of 27 and 28 yards...Louisville: Led the team with 80 yards rushing on 16 attempts...Also matched a season high with a 19-yard reception...Had five first downs in the game...Rushed for 16 yards twice...East Carolina: Ran for 43 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries...Also totaled a career-high 27 yards receiving on four catches with a long of 16 yards...Took a direct snap and scored on a four-yard run in the first quarter for his second career rushing touchdown.
Returned a kickoff for 18 yards in the fourth quarter...Southern Miss: Rushed for a career high two touchdowns with 178 yards on 29 attempts...Both touchdowns came in the fourth quarter to help secure the Tigers' six-point lead, including an eventual game-winning touchdown carry for 22 yards with 1:24 left in the game...Amassed 237 all-purpose yards in the contest, which ranks tied for 12th all-time at Memphis and is the most since the DeAngelo Williams era ended in 2005...Also amassed 59 yards receiving on a hook-and-ladder in the first quarter that led to a Memphis touchdown and a 14-0 lead for the Tigers to start the game...Averaged 6.1 yards per carry en route to his second highest rush total of his career...Amassed 126 of his rushing yards in the second half with 80 yards on 12 carries coming in the fourth quarter and most taken on direct snaps...Named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week following the USM game...SMU: Rushed for 123 yards on 19 attempts with a touchdown...Put the first points on the board with a two-yard TD in the first quarter...His four-yard gain to begin the second half gave him over 1,000 yards on the season...Teamed with Brandon Ross for the first 100-yard rushing duo at Memphis since 2005.
Ran for a game-high 35 yards on the first Memphis offensive play in the game in a Tiger scoring drive...Also returned a kickoff 32 yards in the first quarter...Left the game early in the second half with a hamstring injury...UCF: Had 38 yards rushing on 15 attempts and scored a touchdown for the fourth-straight game...Took the direct snap and rushed two yards for a touchdown in the third quarter...Tulane: Led the team with 135 rushing yards on 23 attempts with a touchdown...Averaged 5.9 yards per carry...Nine of his 22 carries were for first downs or a touchdown...Scored for the fifth-straight game in the first quarter on a nine-yard run...Had a game-high 20-yard run in the third quarter...USF: Gained 48 yards on 12 carries in the bowl game...Four of his carries resulted in first-down yardage...Had a long run of 13 yards...Caught one pass for a six-yard gain...Also credited with 43 receiving yards on the hook-and-ladder in the third quarter to get Memphis into USF territory.
Speedy back who redshirted.
2009: Missed two games and was limited in a third by a left knee injury.
Played two seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College for Coach Randy Pippin...Started all nine of the games he played in 2006...Totaled 551 yards and five touchdowns on 75 carries as a sophomore and was ranked 11th in Region 23 in rushing...Was p
Lettered for Coach Greg Gregory at Centennial High...Named first-team All-State and All-Region as a junior and senior...Set the CHS record for rushing yards in a season with 1,610...Registered 17 touchdowns as a senior...Had his best game against Dickson
Curtis Devon Steele is the son of Carl D. Steele...Born March 24, 1987, in Franklin, Tenn.
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