Twenty-one year-old Jawan Jamison's resourcefulness and instincts have served him well so far, both on the football field and in life.
The 5-foot-8, 203-pound Jamison rushed for a combined 1,972 yards and 13 touchdowns in two seasons at Rutgers, and then opted to take his talents to the NFL so he could financially support his mother, who is currently battling breast cancer.
Now as a member of the Washington Redskins, Jawan Jamison's talent will be employed to help defend the Redskins' title as top rushing attack in the NFL.
As a redshirt sophomore he was named the second-team All-Big East after rushing for 1,075 yards on 255 carries with four touchdowns, becoming only the seventh player in school history to record a 1,000-yard rushing season.
He is joined in that distinction by former Scarlet Knight and current Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who has been a mentor of sorts for Jamison in his path to the NFL.
"The middle of this past year, when [Rice] heard there was talk of me coming to the league, he started contacting me and my mother," Jamison recalled. "We started talking before every game and giving me a little speech to get my mind right and he would just help me out.
"He told me that if I'm going to come out, what I need to do and who to talk to and stuff."
But making it to the NFL was the easy part, as Jamison now faces an uphill battle to find a spot on the final 53-man roster. He will be joined in that journey by fellow draft pick Chris Thompson, who goes way back with Jamison to their days in high school in Florida.
"I played against Chris [Thompson] in high school in the finals. We beat them twice, so I knew him," he said with a grin. "Since we got up here, we've been talking and getting closer and helping each other out."
Jamison is expected to compete with third-year veterans Evan Royster and Roy Helu and fellow rookie Chris Thompson (a fifth-round pick) for backup duties to starter Alfred Morris.
Fresh off a historic rookie season, Morris has stepped into a leadership position in the unit, taking the rookies under his wing and teaching them the ropes of the NFL. Anything Jamison needs, Morris is right there to help.
"Being behind Alfred, he's great. I mean he did really good last year and he's been a tremendous help, helping me out telling me what I've been doing wrong or what I need to do," he said. "Morris has been a tremendous help.
"Any time I need anything from Alfred, he's right there. We've talked a lot today because I needed some help."
While the running back position has a stiff competition on tap for training camp, the unit is becoming close-knit with an eye on helping the team.
"They're really good," Alfred Morris said of Jamison and Thompson. "A lot of them got more reps today. Coaches did a good job today letting them get more reps today so they can get a good look at them."
One thing Jamison shares with Morris is vision at the line of scrimmage, as he unconsciously finds the open space and shows patience when looking for holes.
Even though he isn't the biggest of running backs, he doesn't shy away from contact when looking to gain that extra yard. Whatever the need, Jamison is prepared to fill it.
"Whatever they need me to do I'll come in and I'll help out," Jawan Jamison said. "Whatever the teams needs me to do, that's how I judge myself and judge the team."
Perhaps the relationship that has helped him feel most comfortable in Washington is the one with his position coach, Bobby Turner.
"He's there to listen to you," said Jamison of Turner. "He's there to be a coach, a father figure; whatever you need he's there for you."