The two top running backs in Abilene Christian University history are now both members of the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League, although one wears a headset and the other, a helmet and shoulder pads.
The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens announced today the signing of Bernard Scott (’08), who was released earlier this season by the Cincinnati Bengals after recovering from an injury. He will be tutored by Wilbert Montgomery (’77) who is in his sixth year as running backs coach for Baltimore, and 27th season as either an NFL player or coach.
Scott is ACU’s No. 1 career rusher (4,321 yards) and ranks No. 2 in touchdowns scored (73). Montgomery is No. 2 in rushing (3,047 yards) but No. 1 in TDs (76).
From 2007 to 2008, Scott was one of college football’s most formidable running backs. He led ACU to consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs, was named 2008 Harlon Hill Trophy winner (Division II’s version of the Heisman Trophy), and was drafted in 2009 in the sixth round by the Bengals. Injuries have slowed his progress the past two seasons, and he started 2013 on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list while healing from a torn ACL.
When Montgomery left Abilene as a sixth-round draft choice of the Eagles in 1977, he had passed Jackson State University’s Walter Payton as college football’s all-time scoring leader. Wilbert originally signed with Jackson State, where Payton was a budding star, but Montgomery reversed course and enrolled at ACU, where he helped lead the Wildcats to a NAIA Division I national championship his freshman year. In 1998, the two were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame together, having carved their own legacies at different universities.
Montgomery has 17 years experience as an assistant for the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions and the Ravens following a record-setting career in which earned all-pro status with the Philadelphia Eagles. Still the Eagles’ career rushing leader in six categories, Montgomery has also become known for developing top offensive backfield talent, having coached the Ravens’ Ray Rice, Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee to outstanding seasons in recent years. As a coach for the Rams, he developed elite runners Marshall Faulk and Stephen Jackson.
The Montgomery NFL lineage runs deep: three of his brothers played in the league, including former ACU trustee Cle Montgomery (’78), who contributed to the Oakland Raiders’ Super Bowl XVIII win in 1984.
Scott’s family tree includes New York Jets wide receiver Clyde Gates (’11), St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson (’12), and defensive end Aston Whiteside, who has been on rosters for the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.