Tim Biakabutuka

African-American football running back

American football player
Tim Biakabutuka
No. 21
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1974-01-24) January 24, 1974 (age 50)
Kinshasa, Republic of Zaire
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Jacques-Rousseau (QC)
Vanier College
College:Michigan (1993–1995)
NFL draft:1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
CFL Draft:1996 / Round: 6 / Pick: 46
Career history
  • Carolina Panthers (1996–2001)
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:2,530
Rushing average:4.1
Rushing TDs:14
Player stats at PFR

Tshimanga "Tim" Biakabutuka (born January 24, 1974) is a former American football running back. He played college football at the University of Michigan from 1993 to 1995, and was drafted with the eight overall pick in the 1996 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He is holds the Michigan Wolverines single-season rushing record with 1,818 rushing yards in 1995. He is also distinguished as being the first Zairian to play in the NFL.

Early years

Biakabutuka left the former Zaire with his family for Canada when he was four years old, settling in the Montreal area, where his family still lives. He did not play gridiron football until his high school in Longueuil organized a team. After grade 11, he attended cegep at Vanier College in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, where his football exploits earned him the nickname "Touchdown Tim" and earned him a scholarship to play college football at the University of Michigan.[1]

College career

Biakabutuka enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1993 and played college football for the Michigan Wolverines football team from 1993 to 1995.[2] As a freshman in 1993, he was a backup to Tyrone Wheatley and Ricky Powers, but he saw significant action against Purdue on November 6, 1993, rushing for 140 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 24 carries.[3]

As a sophomore, Biakabutuka was again a backup to Wheatley, being used as a starter in only one game. Despite his role as a backup, Biakabutuka rushed for 783 yards and had four 100-yard games (141 yards against Michigan State, 128 yards against Boston College, and 100 yards against both Notre Dame and Purdue).[3]

Biakabutuka became the Wolverines' full-time starting running back in 1995. That year, he broke Jamie Morris's single-season rushing record. Biakabutuka totalled 1,818 rushing yards on 303 carries (6.0 yards per carry) during the 1995 season.[3] On November 25, 1995, he rushed for 313 yards on 37 carries in a 31–23 victory over previously-unbeaten Ohio State.[4] His performance against Ohio State ranks as the second highest single-game performance in Michigan history, trailing only Ron Johnson's 347-yard game against Wisconsin in 1968.[5]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span
6 ft 0+18 in
(1.83 m)
205 lb
(93 kg)
31+78 in
(0.81 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)

Biakabutuka was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the first round (eighth overall pick) of the 1996 NFL Draft.[6][7] During his career in the NFL, Biakabutuka was often injured. He never played more than 12 games in a single season. For his career, he appeared in 51 games, 35 as a starter, over six seasons from 1996 to 2001. He totalled 2,530 rushing yards and 789 receiving yards and scored 17 touchdowns.[7] As a member of the Panthers, Biakabutuka became the first running back to record two touchdown runs of 60 or more yards in the same game.

Personal life

Biakabutuka currently resides in Matthews, North Carolina, and owns eight Bojangles restaurants in Augusta, Georgia.[8] He is a cousin to Hakeem, Alain, Kalonji, and Fernand Kashama, who also all played American or Canadian football.[9] Tim's nephew, Jérémie Biakabutuka, played hockey in the QMJHL and is with the Orlando Solar Bears for the 2023–24 season.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Biakabutuka Makes a Name for Himself" (reprint). National Post. October 4, 1999.
  2. ^ "Michigan Football Roster Database". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". University of Michigan. Archived from the original on May 24, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2015.(to retrieve Biakabutuka's college statistics, enter "biakabutuka" in the box for the player's last name)
  4. ^ "Biakabutuka's 313 yards ruin Ohio State's title hopes". The Michigan Daily. November 27, 1995.
  5. ^ "Ohio State knocked out of Rose Bowl". Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky (AP story). November 26, 1995. p. 8B.
  6. ^ "1996 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  7. ^ a b "Tim Biakabutuka". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  8. ^ Spanberg, Erik (April 27, 2007). "Step In A New Direction".
  9. ^ "Kalonji Kashama next in line for football family | Ottawa Citizen".
  10. ^ "Jérémie Biakabutuka". Eliteprospects.com. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
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Carolina Panthers 1996 NFL draft selections
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Michigan Wolverines rushing leaders