A Quick Glance: Running Backs

The strength Wildcat offense appears to be the running backs. The Cats have three legitimately talented ball carriers and two freshmen who look like big time players down the line.

Running Backs

Starters Returning: (2) Mike Bell (HB), Pedro Limon (FB)
Starters Lost: none
Key Returners: Gilbert Harris, Chris Henry
Others Lost: Chris Harris (graduation)
Key Newcomers: Terry Longbons, Xavier Smith, Paul Nichols (FB)
Coach: Kasey Dunn (2nd season)

Bell is the starter, but he won't have to be a workhorse. Henry was the talk of the spring with his mix of speed and power. Harris is a great north/south runner and the coaches love his consistency and attitude. The three give opponents three different looks and expect the offense to try and take advantage of each player's skill set. If they can the staff would love to give at least one of the two freshmen some playing time, but they won't waste a year for Longbons or Smith if they won't get some decent playing time on offense or special teams. Limon enters camp ahead of Nichols at fullback.



  Player Year HT WT Hometown
1. Mike Bell RS Sr. 6-1 218 Phoenix, AZ (Tolleson)
2. Chris Henry Rs So. 6-0 220 Stockton, CA (Edison)
3. Gilbert Harris Sr 6-2 225 San Antonio, TX (Churchill)
4. Terry Longbons Fr. 5-11 211 Peoria, AZ (Centennial)
5. Xavier Smith Fr. 6-0 200 Tucson, AZ (Sunnyside)


  Player Year HT WT Hometown
1. Pedro Limon RS Sr. 6-0 244 Douglas (High School), AZ
2. Paul Nicholls Jr. 6-3 235 Bronson, KA (Coffeville)
3. Ryan Shirley Sr. 5-11 240 Tucson, AZ (Mountain View)

2005 STATS

Rush  Yrds  Avg  TD   Lng
Bell 204 950 4.7 5 57
Harris 67 285 4.3 2 25
Henry 56 159 2.8 2 15
Limon 1 2 2 0 2

Notes: The Wildcats did not lose a single running back who carried the ball last year. Harris could also see time at fullback. The Cats added two prep halfbacks in the class after not taking a running back in the previous class. Both of them are from Arizona. Four of the seven scholarship running backs are in-state products.


Mike Bell: Has led the Cats in rushing each of the last three seasons… Rushed for 2,484 yards as a senior, averaging 8.7 yards per carry... Became the second player in state history to rush for 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons…He had 2,038 and 22 touchdowns as a junior... In 12 games in 2000 he scored 35 touchdowns... Career high school rushing total is 4,692 yards which was No. 2 in Arizona history when he graduated…

Chris Henry: Played two games true freshman but regained his eligibility after an early season leg injury ended his initial freshman campaign… Has a reported 10.4 time in the 100 and clocked in sub-4.4 time for the 40… Won the 100-meter dash in the 2003 Stanford Invitational (10.71) and the 2003 Oakland Invitational (10.77)... Team captain for track final two years...Was a high school fullback and linebacker…

Pedro Limon: Switched from linebacker to fullback prior to the third game of the 2002 season… His high school performance in 2000 earned him all-state and all-conference honors for 136 tackles, two interceptions and five sacks among 36 tackles for loss... Also played offense for the Bulldogs of DHS, rushing for 500 yards as a big back...

Terry Longbons: Phoenix Metro Football first-team all-state 03 and 04... Scout.com four-star and No. 17 RB... Before suffering an injury in mid season he was well on his way for breaking the state rushing record. He finished the year rushing for more than 900 yards and 17 TDs... 28 TDs as a junior, 2.053 yards rushing... Rushed for 250 yards in 2004 season opener... Arizona Republic honorable mention 4A all-state...

Paul Nichols: Earned first-team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College League honors as a tight end at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, and named a league ‘Outstanding Player'... SuperPrep All-America as a Juco 100 selection, listed the No. 54 prospect... Scout.com three-star rating... Played in Valley of the Sun Bowl in Scottsdale in December 2004, helping 10-2 and No. 6-ranked Coffeyville beat Scottsdale CC, 33-14... Four of his five catches this past season went for touchdowns.

Xavier Smtih: Four-star rating by Scout.com at No. 13 RB... Carried 150 times for 1,205 yards and 16 scores as a senior...Arizona Republic honorable mention 4A all-state... Totaled 1,851 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns as junior in leading Sunnyside to the 4A state championship...

Class Breakdown: Sr: 3, Jr: 1, So: 1 RS Fr: 0 Fr: 2

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