Marietta’s Kimani Vidal hopes to turn some heads at the NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS — Troy running back Kimani Vidal was ready for some off-the-cuff questions at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Probably like a lion,” Vidal said when asked what animal would he be.

King of the Jungle.

Coming out of Marietta High, Vidal had some college options.

He elected to attend Troy and play in the Sun Belt Conference, and he produced on the field enough to earn an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine.

Vidal, who’s 5-foot-8 and 215 pounds, was the Sun Belt’s offensive player of the year in 2023. He was named a third-team All-American and set a Troy record with 1,661 rushing yards last season.

“It’s been great,” said Vidal, who played youth football for the Atlanta Vikings. “This past year has really just gone so fast when you look back it. I haven’t really got a chance to really like look back at what I’ve done at Troy. Things like that. But you know, it’s just been great overall.”

Vidal was recruited by Western Kentucky, South Carolina and Syracuse.

“I really just wanted to pick a school where football … was very important to the school,” Vidal said. “I really felt like Troy is a football school. That’s really why I went with Troy.”

Vidal, who had a season of eligibility left, held up under a heavy workload for the Trojans.

“I think I showed that I was able to withstand it,” Vidal said. “I went through 14 games without getting hurt, without missing any time. I did the same last year, too. So, that’s 28 games straight with no missed games. I’m really just blessed with opportunity to be able to showcase that.”

Vidal is one of 35 players with connections to Georgia invited to the scouting combine. Georgia Bulldogs running backs Daijun Edwards (Colquitt County) and Kendall Milton are the other two running backs with Georgia ties.

“Georgia football is the best,” Vidal said. “Even with that, I played a national schedule at Marietta. So, I was able to play some of those other schools. There’s nothing like Georgia football.”

Vidal wants to show NFL teams that he can play all three downs.

“I would say that I am a three-down back,” Vidal said. “I’m able to run between the tackles well, pass-block and catch out of the backfield.”

Vidal doesn’t struggle with confidence.

“I’d probably say I think I’m the best three-down back there is in this draft,” Vidal said. “Then I can also say that going through 28 games with the load I had, I don’t think many running backs have done that with no injuries.”

Vidal compares his style of play to former NFL running backs Ray Rice (5-9) and Maurice Jones-Drew (5-7) , who also were under 6 feet.

“I would say like a one-cut, being able to hit the hole and make guys miss in tight spaces and then make big plays,” Vidal said in describing his running style.

He’s had an informal interview with Tampa Bay and met with the Falcons at the Senior Bowl and the combine.

“It would mean a lot to me, being back home,” Vidal said of about the Falcons. “I would love to play back at home.”

Vidal doesn’t want teams to think the Sun Belt doesn’t present good competition.

“I think the Sun Belt is one of the best conferences there is,” Vidal said. “You know, it’s almost like a blood bath every Saturday. It’s competitive. It’s physical. And it’s fast. I think it’s one of the best.”

He went on about the Sun Belt.

“It’s very physical, and I would really say like a lot of a lot of guys like understand the game,” Vidal said. “You know, it’s not a whole lot of big-name guys. But it’s a lot of guys that can play football really well.”

Before the combine, Vidal had some things he wanted to work on.

“I would really say, really just trying to learn more about defenses and kind of understanding what they’re trying to take away or anything like that,” Vidal said. “Then also like just picking up little things in film.”

Vidal was looking forward to his workout.

“I will really say just showing them I’m smooth in and out of the cuts in the position drills,” Vidal said. “Then also that even in the 40 … I can’t wait to kind of prove some of you guys wrong.”

He’s hoping to run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.

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