When Colorado offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy walked into the Creer home Tuesday and shook hands with standout running back Malcolm Creer, he commented on the young man's firm grip and added this:
"He said I kind of broke his hand a little bit, like Adrian Peterson," Creer said.
Creer and Bieniemy visited for several hours talking about the determination the 5-foot-11, 200-pound back has in keeping a schedule that would drain everyone but the Energizer Bunny.
He wakes each morning at 5:30 to catch a school bus across town to school by 7:45. He stays at school until 6 p.m. for basketball practice and then catches a city bus to Santa Monica Junior College where he takes American Sign Language classes until 9 p.m. Then he heads home to homework.
Despite his heavy academic workload, Creer managed quite a senior season on the gridiron for Palisades Charter High School in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He rushed for more than 1,300 yards and scored 19 rushing touchdowns with four 2-point conversions. He also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and set a California state record with a 108-yard interception return for a score.
That track record caught the attention of the Colorado staff and led to Bieniemy ultimately extending a scholarship offer.
"I didn't even have words to express how happy I was," Creer said. "I wasn't expecting it all from coach. I was just happy and very, very excited."
Creer had an offer from Idaho State and South Dakota and is being recruited by Nebraska and Washington, but the offer from the Buffs was his first from a major college program.
Creer said because Colorado has offered and Nebraska has not, he called Nebraska coaches and told them he was going to visit Boulder this weekend instead of Lincoln.
If all goes well, he could become the first running back added to the 2011 recruiting class.
Creer said he got along well with Bieniemy.
"He's a guy I can relate to and joke around with," Creer said. "He will push me to the fullest because he knows I have potential in me, not just on the field but also in the classroom to earn my degree. That's what made me like coach EB a lot."
Creer is considering Colorado, Nebraska, Washington, Idaho State (the first program to offer him) and Eastern Washington and will make his college choice on signing day. He said he still plans to make a trip to Washington Jan. 28. He said the Washington running backs coach watched his basketball game on Wednesday.
Creer said he never has been to Colorado before. He is eager to see Boulder.
"I just want to see everything," he said. "I just want to see what the campus is surrounded by and how are the students. I want to see Ralphie. I want to see how big Ralphie is in person not on TV."