Ash Thompson Breaks Down Every Player On The 90 Man Roster.
Matt Asiata won Utah football and basketball state championships in his high school years. He was a standout running back for the Hunter High Wolverines of West Valley City, Utah. Asiata was a touchdown machine and ranked as the nation’s 79th running back prospect on rivals.com.
He was offered scholarships to both Utah and UNLV after a two year stint at Snow College to become academically eligible. He chose Utah and missed the 2007 season with a broken leg he sustained in the first game. In 2008 the Utes were the only undefeated team in the country and defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Asiata was their leading rusher. He broke his leg again in 2009, and after a fairly successful Junior year decided to go pro.
Matt Asiata’s Pro Career
Asiata signed with the Vikings after the draft but was unable to make the team. After losing his practice squad spot he briefly went to the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League on a tryout. He ended up sitting out the 2011 season. Vikings RB coach James Saxon convinced the team to give Asiata another chance in 2012. He stood out on special teams and became their third running back. Asiata got only four touches as a rookie but returned three kicks and recorded five tackles.
Offensively the high water mark for Asiata’s career so far is the 2014 season. You may recall that as the season that Adrian Peterson was suspended after whipping his son’s genitals until they bled. Matt Asiata remembers it as the year he had 882 yards from scrimmage. Most importantly for Lions fans however, he recorded nine rushing touchdowns as the Thunder to Jerrick McKinnon’s Lightning.
Asiata has been a capable back with limited use. He has not been great, or even good when pushed in to a starting role, but when he is used as a heavier back that can slip out of the backfield for an occasional screen pass, Asiata has been serviceable. He is strictly a short yardage back for the Lions barring a string of injuries, but that is a bigger role than last season’s fourth running back, Dwayne Washington, served for the team.
Asiata may be just a camp body for the Lions, but he has had the sort of career that a rookie like Tion Green aspires to. He would be on three special teams groups for the Lions which greatly increases his opportunity to make the team.