Inside Access - Running Backs

Two of the most widely talked about recruits for the class of 2009 are Trent Richardson and Jaamal Berry. Many Gator fans were a little surprised when Jaamal Berry announced for Ohio State and even more surprised when Trent Richardson announced for Alabama soon after.

Jaamal Berry (5-11/193) from Miami (FL) Palmetto Senior High School is the No. 4 ranked running back in the country according to Scout.com. Berry is the most complete back when you look at size, speed and power. He is currently committed to Ohio State and for as long as I can remember the only two teams that had a chance to land the all-star from Miami were Ohio State and Florida. I can tell you that the door is not shut on the Gators at this moment in time. Now does that mean that he will switch his commitment to the Gators? No, but what it does mean is that they have a real shot to turn him before signing day. A couple of factors come into play here one of which is his mother. She has said all along that the decision is up to Jaamal but to say that she was surprised when he announced for Ohio State would be the understatement of the year. At the end of the day all of these top players want to see the field and see the field early. I don't think that Florida's troubles in the running game will factor into the final decision of Jaamal Berry or Trent Richardson. By troubles I mean only the amount of carries that the running backs are getting each week.

The other running back that has garnered a lot of attention is Trent Richardson (5-11/205) from Pensacola (FL) Escambia High School. I spoke with Trent on Saturday and he was disappointed about his team's recent performance this past game. It was a non-district game so he didn't even play in the fourth quarter. District play starts in two weeks for Escambia as they take on Niceville and super sensation 2010 running back Roy Finch. Richardson has been an Alabama commitment for sometime now but at Friday Night Lights mentioned something to me that kind of struck me as odd. He mentioned that he wouldn't be making any sort of announcement until signing day. What announcement is there to make for a player that had recently gone public? I actually believe that Trent understands that Florida is the best place for him but maintains that he is looking at three with Alabama, Florida and LSU. He is putting recruiting on the back burner right now as he is a senior that has never been to the playoffs and wants to desperately reach the post season this year and while his team is sitting at 2-2 district play doesn't start for two weeks. Trent does however have a very good relationship with Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones and in the end that may be what keeps him with the Tide.

I don't know how much these prospects are paying attention to the state of today's economy but one thing that I can tell you is that people close to them are monitoring the situation closely. I don't know what kind of impact air travel and gas costs will play a role with these two players but I believe it will play into the final decisions. As Bob stated earlier things are not always what they seem.

In other recruiting news I have heard from someone very close to the situation that the Gators' commitment total for the class of 2009 which currently stands at nine should reach 11 in the next two weeks.


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