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Jets Sign 5th-Round Draft Choice Israel Abanikanda

Pitt Star & Brooklynite Tied for 1st in FBS in Total and Rush TDs, Placed 2nd in All-Purpose Yards/Game in '22

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The Jets have signed rookie running back Israel Abanikanda, their fifth-round selection (143rd overall) out of Pittsburgh in the NFL Draft.

Abanikanda (5-10, 216) put up impressive scrimmage numbers and rankings in his three seasons at Pitt. For his career he played in 30 games, rushing for 390 attempts, 2,177 yards (5.6 yards/carry) and 28 touchdowns and catching 38 passes for 354 yards (9.3 yards/catch) and three more TDs.

Last season was a monster year for the Brooklyn, NY, product: 239 rushes for 1,431 yards and 20 TDs, 12 catches for 146 yards and one TD. Among his FBS rankings, his 164.09 all-purpose yards/game was second, he led the division with 11.6 points/game (128 points, 11 games), and he tied for the FBS lead with both 20 rush TDs and 21 total TDs.

"It's actually a dream come true," Abanikanda told reporters after he was drafted. "I always wanted to stay close to home and stay close to family. And just for that happening, it's an unreal experience." And he added famously later in the interview about his goal-line vision: "When I see green, I know I'm going to score."

Abanikanda didn't participate in the Combine drills but he lit it up at Pitt's pro day in late March with an unofficial 4.41-second time in the 40, although some stopwatches had him at sub-4.4 speed, and a 41-0 vertical jump that would have led all RBs at the Combine.

"Izzy is a home run threat with size, speed and production," general manager Joe Douglas said. "

And now, adding a signed Abanikanda to a running back depth chart that includes Michael Carter, Breece Hall and Zonovan Knight, head coach Robert Saleh said, "There's a lot of gas in that room."

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