Roy Ziegler Helu Jr. (born December 7, 1988) is a former American football running back. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He played college football at Nebraska.

Roy Helu Jr.
refer to caption
Helu with the Washington Redskins in 2014
No. 26, 29
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1988-12-07) December 7, 1988 (age 31)
Danville, California
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Danville (CA) San Ramon Valley
NFL Draft:2011 / Round: 4 / Pick: 105
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • Second-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2010; Coaches, KC Star, Dallas Morning News, in 2009)
  • Third-Team All-Big 12 (Phil Steele in 2010)
  • Honorable-Mention All-Big 12 (AP, 2009 and 2010; Coaches in 2009)
  • Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List (1 of 60)
  • Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 (2010)
  • School Record Single-Game Rushing Yards (307 vs. Missouri, Oct. 30)
  • Nebraska Offensive MVP (2009 and 2010)
  • 2010 Team Captain
  • Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll (2010)
  • Washington Redskins Record for most receptions in a game (2011)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (2011)
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts:272
Rushing yards:1,171
Rushing touchdowns:7
Receiving yards:1,227
Receiving touchdowns:4
Player stats at

Helu set the Redskins' franchise record of most receptions in single game with 14 catches in a game against the San Francisco 49ers in 2011.[1]

High school careerEdit

As a high school football player at San Ramon Valley High School, Helu was a successful running back and return specialist, who also played some free safety.

In his junior year at San Ramon Valley, Helu ran for 1,526 yards rushing and scored 19 touchdowns on 186 carries, and averaged 8.6 yards per carry. He also had 30 receptions for 500 yards receiving and four touchdowns, which earned him All-East Bay League honors.

During Helu's senior year, he helped San Ramon Valley to a 10–2 record in 2006. He finished his senior year with 1,085 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. He had 300 yards receiving on 20 receptions and 1 touchdown, and also recorded one interception as a free safety. He earned first-team all-league honors his senior year as a running back.[2]

College careerEdit

Helu in 2010

Despite fighting injuries, Helu rushed for over 1,000 yards each of his last two years at Nebraska. By the time he graduated in 2011, he was 4th on the Huskers all-time rushing list, and broke Nebraska's single-game rushing record by rushing for 307 yards and scoring three touchdowns vs. Missouri on October 30, 2010. He is known for his one-cut running style and hurdling ability.

College statisticsEdit

Year Team Att Yards Average TDs Receptions Yards Average TDs
2007 Nebraska 45 209 4.6 0 5 40 8.0 0
2008 Nebraska 125 803 6.4 7 25 266 10.6 0
2009 Nebraska 220 1,147 5.2 10 19 149 7.8 0
2010 Nebraska 188 1,245 6.6 11 5 46 9.2 0
College Totals 578 3,404 5.9 28 54 501 9.3 0

Professional careerEdit

2011 NFL CombineEdit

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 0 in
(1.83 m)
219 lb
(99 kg)
31 38 in
(0.80 m)
10 14 in
(0.26 m)
4.40 s 1.51 s 2.52 s 4.01 s 6.67 s 36.5 in
(0.93 m)
9 ft 11 in
(3.02 m)
11 reps
All values from NFL Combine[3][4]

Washington RedskinsEdit

2011 seasonEdit

Helu was selected 105th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.[5] He would later be joined by Nebraska teammates, DeJon Gomes and Niles Paul, who were drafted after him. On November 6, 2011 in his first career start, Helu broke the Redskins all-time record for receptions in a game with 14 catches, in a loss against the San Francisco 49ers.[6] The following two weeks, in losses to Miami and Dallas, Helu had a combined 14 rushes and 5 receptions as Coach Mike Shanahan split running back duties between Helu and Ryan Torain. Coach Shanahan said, “I like Helu, he’s doing some great things. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him too early. He’s not ready for that. But he’s gaining experience, and I like what I see.”[7]

On November 27, 2011, Helu rushed for a Redskins rookie-record 108 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks' top-ten ranked run defense.[8] While running for a touchdown, he hurdled Seahawks cornerback, Roy Lewis. He was then named the full-time starter by Coach Shanahan,[9] and responded with two consecutive 100 yard performances. Following his 126-yard performance against the New England Patriots, Helu led all active rookies in rush yards.[10] His streak of three consecutive 100 yard games is the most by any Redskins rookie in franchise history; a record he was unable to extend to four games due to an injury he sustained.[11]

Helu at Redskins 2012 training camp

At the end of the 2011 NFL season, Helu was Redskins' leader in rushing yards.[12] On January 16, 2012, Helu along with fellow rookie, Ryan Kerrigan, were named to the Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America all-rookie team.[13]

2012 seasonEdit

After the NFL changed the rule in 2012 to allow players' jerseys to include generational titles in their names, Helu adopted "Jr." to the back of his jersey.[14] He was expected to compete for the starting spot in the 2012 season against Tim Hightower and Evan Royster,[15] but ended up losing the competition to rookie Alfred Morris. His second season was cut short after being placed on injured reserve on September 26, 2012 due to lower leg injuries and turf toe.[16][17] He finished the season with two rushing yards and 45 receiving yards on seven receptions.

2013 seasonEdit

Helu returned from injury and secured his place as the second string running back behind Morris during the 2013 preseason.[18] In a 45-41 Week 7 win against the Chicago Bears, he recorded his first multi-scoring game, recording three touchdowns.[19][20]

2014 seasonEdit

In 2014, Helu had almost no competition for the second-string running back job, and won it easily over fellow running backs Silas Redd, Evan Royster, Chris Thompson, and Lache Seastrunk.

Oakland RaidersEdit

2015 seasonEdit

On March 10, 2015, Helu signed a two-year contract worth over $4 million with the Oakland Raiders.[21][22]

2016 seasonEdit

He was placed on the team's injured reserve list on July 29, 2016, ending his season,[23] and was waived from the team a few days later.[24]

Personal lifeEdit

Helu (pronounced HEH-loo) was born to Roy Helu Sr. and Kilistofa (Kristi) Helu on December 7, 1988 in Danville, California.[25] His father played rugby for the United States national team from 1981 to 1987, including playing in the 1987 Rugby World Cup.

He is married to retired professional volleyball player and fellow Nebraska Cornhusker alum, Dani Mancuso.[26][27]

Helu is of Tongan descent. He is a devout Christian.[28][29]


  1. ^ "Gore leads 49ers past Redskins 19-11". CNN.
  2. ^ Roy Helu - - High School Career
  3. ^ NFL Combine Profile
  4. ^ NFL Draft Scout
  5. ^ "2011 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  6. ^ Svrluga, Barry (November 6, 2011). "Stats, scores and schedules". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ Maese, Rick (November 22, 2011). "Stats, scores and schedules". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ Jones, Mike (November 28, 2011). "Stats, scores and schedules". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ Jones, Mike (November 29, 2011). "Stats, scores and schedules". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Maese, Rick (December 14, 2011). "Stats, scores and schedules". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ Jones, Mike (December 19, 2011). "Stats, scores and schedules". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ "Roster Review: Running Backs". Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  13. ^ "Helu, Kerrigan voted to All-Rookie team". Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  14. ^ Walker, Andrew (May 10, 2012). "New Jerseys Mean Old Name For Helu Jr". Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  15. ^ Tinsman, Brian (July 26, 2012). "Shanahan: Running Back Competition Open". Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  16. ^ Tinsman, Brian (September 26, 2012). "Redskins Sign Grant, Place Helu Jr. On IR". Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  17. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (September 26, 2012). "Redskins sign Ryan Grant, send Roy Helu to I.R." Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  18. ^ Maske, Mark (August 28, 2013). "Helu has secured roster spot behind Morris at tailback". Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  19. ^ Tinsman, Brian (October 21, 2013). "Redskins-Bears Monday Stats Pack". Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  20. ^ McNally, Brian (October 20, 2013). "Redskins edge Bears on Roy Helu's third TD of day". Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  21. ^ "Raiders sign RB Roy Helu". March 10, 2015. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  22. ^ "Raiders Sign RB Roy Helu, Jr". March 11, 2015. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  23. ^ "Raiders Announce Transactions". Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  24. ^ Gutierrez, Paul. "Raiders formally release RB Roy Helu Jr". ESPN.
  25. ^ Roy Helu - - Personal
  26. ^ O'Connor, Michael (May 1, 2012). "Ex-Huskers found love after leap of faith". Archived from the original on October 1, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
  27. ^ Dani Mancuso Nebraska Cornhusker bio
  28. ^ "For Roy Helu Jr., Football is All about Focus, Perspective and Humility". November 5, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  29. ^ Huskers For Christ – Roy Helu

External linksEdit