Giovani Bernard

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Giovani Bernard
Giovani Bernard 2013 01.jpg
Bernard in 2013
No. 25 Cincinnati Bengals
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1991-11-22)November 22, 1991 (age 24)
Place of birth: West Palm Beach, Florida
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 208 lb (94 kg)
Career information
High school: Fort Lauderdale (FL) Aquinas
College: North Carolina
NFL draft: 2013 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
  • Third-team All-American (2012)
  • First-team All-ACC (2011, 2012)
  • ACC Offensive Player of the Year (2012)
  • CFPA Punt Returner Trophy (2012)
  • Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week (Week 3, 2013)
  • Pro Football Focus All-AFC Team (2013)
  • PFW\PFWA All-Rookie Team (2013)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2015
Rushing yards: 1,940
Average: 4.4
Rushing TDs: 12
Receptions: 133
Receiving yards: 1,189
Receiving TDs: 5
Stats at

Giovani Govan Bernard (born November 22, 1991) is an American football running back for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.[1] He played college football at North Carolina.

Early years[edit]

Bernard was born in West Palm Beach, Florida. He began playing football for the local tackle football league, the Boca Jets. He played high school football at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,[2] where he was teammates with Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner. While in high school, he was ranked the No. 2 running back in Florida by the Orlando Sentinel and the No. 12 running back in the United States by He is the younger brother of former Oregon State running back Yvenson Bernard.

Bernard is the son of Haitian immigrant parents, who own a dry cleaning business in Boca Raton, Florida.[3]

Bernard was recruited by many schools and first committed to Notre Dame,[4] but ultimately decided on the University of North Carolina.

Name Home town High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Giovani Bernard
Davie, FL St. Thomas Aquinas 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 196.5 lb (89.1 kg) 4.5 s Jan 28, 2010 
Scout: N/A   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 94, 13 (RB)   Rivals: 186, 14 (RB)  ESPN: 16 (RB)
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career[edit]

Giovani Bernard (#26) in 2012

Bernard enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and played for the North Carolina Tar Heels football team from 2010 to 2012. During the third day of practice, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee after trying to cut away from a defender [4] and redshirted the 2010 season.[5][6]

Bernard recovered from the injury and became the starting tailback for the Tar Heels in the 2011 college football season.[7][8][9][10] He became the first North Carolina running back to rush for at least 100 yards in five straight games since Ethan Horton in 1984.[11] His season-high came against Georgia Tech on September 24, 2011, rushing for 155 yards.[12] In mid-October 2011, Bernard was added to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented annually to the best player in college football.[13] During the 2011 regular season, Bernard's 1,222 rushing yards ranked 20th among NCAA Division I FBS players.[14] Bernard also had 326 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in 10 games.[12] Bernard was the first running back to eclipse the 1,000-yards plateau at North Carolina since Jonathan Linton did it in 1997. He was also the top freshman running back in the nation in yards per game that season.

In the first year of head coach Larry Fedora's spread offense in the 2012 season, Bernard increased his rushing yards per game, average yards per carry and receiving yards. He also returned punts for the first time in his college career. On October 27, 2012, Bernard returned a punt 74 yards against NC State in the last 30 seconds of the game to break the tie and win the game.[15] He led Carolina in scoring for the second year in a row and averaged 198.1 all-purpose yards per game, third in the country behind two receivers.[16] The head coaches in the ACC voted Bernard to All-ACC first-team and Bernard was second in player-of-the-year and offensive player-of-the-year voting.[17] He also won the CFPA Punt Returner Trophy for the 2012 season.[18]

College career statistics[edit]

Year GP–GS Rushing Receiving Punt Returns
Att Gain Loss Net Avg TD Long Avg/G Rec Rec–Yards Avg TD Long Avg/G No. Yards Avg TD Long
2011 13–11 239 1,324 71 1,253 5.2 13 60 96.4 45 362 8.0 1 23 27.8 0 0 0.0 0 0
2012 10–10 184 1,270 42 1,228 6.7 12 68 122.8 47 490 10.4 5 78 49.0 16 263 16.4 2 74

Professional career[edit]

2013 NFL Draft[edit]

Giovani Bernard at training camp, 2013

Bernard declared himself eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft.[19] He was projected as a first or second round pick. Bernard was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round, 37th overall. Prior to Bernard, a running back from North Carolina had not been selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft since Natrone Means in 1993.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
5 ft 8 in 202 lb 28 in 9 3/8 in 4.53 s 1.56 s 2.55 s 4.12 s 6.91 s 33 1/2 in 10 ft 2 in 19 reps
All values from NFL Combine.[20]

2013 season[edit]

On September 16, 2013, Bernard scored two key touchdowns in a 20-10 Monday night win over the Bengals' division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. On October 31, 2013, Bernard scored two touchdowns in an overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins. Bernard's second score came on a 35-yard touchdown run that was praised by commentators as one of the best runs of the season.[21][22]

Bernard finished the season second on the team in rushing (695 yards), receptions (56), and total yards (1,209), while ranking third in receiving yards (514) and touchdowns (five rushing and three receiving). In his first career playoff game, he rushed for 45 yards and caught seven passes for 73 yards, though he did commit a fumble in the first half and the Bengals lost 27-10 to the San Diego Chargers.

2014 season[edit]

In the second game of the season, a 24-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Bernard had his most productive game to date, with 27 rushes for 90 yards and one touchdown plus five receptions for 79 yards.[23]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Concepcio Ledezma (October 25, 2008). "Aquinas' Bernard, Bucci run wild in blowout". Miami Herald. 
  3. ^ UNC running back Giovani Bernard, an ex-St. Thomas Aquinas standout, has battled to become a budding star
  4. ^ a b "UNC tailback Bernard close to reaching 1,000-yard benchmark". The Daily Tar Heel. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  5. ^ "Giovani Bernard Bio". University of North Carolina. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Knee injury sidelines North Carolina RB Bernard for 2010 season". USA Today. August 9, 2010. 
  7. ^ Aaron Beard (September 5, 2011). "Bernard's return bolsters UNC rushing attack". Houston Chronicle (AP story). 
  8. ^ Harold Gutman (September 2011). "Surprise starter Bernard delivers for Tar Heels". The Herald-Sun. 
  9. ^ Caulton Tudor (October 5, 2011). "UNC tailback Bernard making up for lost time at record pace". Charlotte Observer. 
  10. ^ "Bernard has used his size to his advantage as Heels' tailback". Shelby Star (Cleveland County, N.C.). October 7, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Giovani Bernard, Dwight Jones score to help UNC overcome slow start to beat Louisville 14-7". The Washington Post. October 8, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Giovani Bernard statistics". Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Giovani Bernard Added To Maxwell Club Watch List". Tar Heel Times. October 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Rushing Yards Leaders - All Players". Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  15. ^ Clip of Bernard's touchdown from ACC Digital Network
  16. ^ "NCAA Football stats - College Football statistics -". Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  17. ^ "ACC Announces First Coaches All-ACC Football Team - The Official Athletic Site of the Atlantic Coast Conference". 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "North Carolina Tar Heels RB Giovani Bernard declares for NFL draft - ESPN". 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Gio Bernard delivers a candidate for best run of the season". Sports Illustrated. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  22. ^ "Giovani Bernard touchdown run is must-see, but Bengals lose Geno Atkins (video)". Washington Post. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  23. ^

External links[edit]