Jamie Harper, C.J. Spiller and Darrell Scott join a long list in the supposed "great backs" that got away category. Certainly there are others but when talking about the ones that "got away" these are the three that many Gator fans remember over the last couple of recruiting seasons.
The thing that you must remember is that you do not need to be 5-11 or 6-1 and 215-pounds to be successful in this offense. While everyone was trying to attract the likes of Scott and Harper, the Gator coaching staff was in the process of selling Jeff Demps on the idea of playing for the Orange and Blue. This is in no way intended to knock the talents of Spiller, Scott and Harper by any means because clearly they are great backs in their own right.
Many times as fans we get caught up in the idea of that National Football League type of running back, the Adrian Peterson or Stephen Jackson's of the world. In reality, to be successful in the Gator rushing attack you need a combination of three things to have a chance to succeed.
The three common denominators that the Florida running backs need to possess would be speed, vision and cutting ability. Clearly you can say other factors play a role like ability to get to the edge, blocking ability, hands, etc. but the first three are essential as is the ability to make people miss in the open field.
With that said these are only a few players that you might want to become familiar with as the 2010 recruiting class marches on.
Deerfield Beach running back Cassius "Cat" McDowell is a player that all Gator fans are aware of as much for his on field production as his friendship with quarterback Denard Robinson. He is 59 and 160-pounds, "Cat" as they like to call him burst onto the scene as a sophomore ended his season with 78 carries for 938 yards and 19 touchdowns. Both McDowell and Robinson are scheduled to be in Gainesville this weekend with a host of other players as the Gators take on South Carolina at 3:30 p.m.
Another fan favorite is Niceville superstar Roy Finch. I had a chance to catch up with Finch earlier this week and he is closing in on a 1,000 yard season with limited carries. Finch is around 5-9 and 170-pounds and runs in the 4.43 range as does McDowell. Finch is trying to visit Florida this weekend but isn't sure if he will be able to attend. Either way make no mistake about it Finch has interest in the Gators and will give them a serious look. Other teams that are under consideration for Finch are Alabama, Florida State, Michigan and Auburn. The Tide and head coach Nick Saban have put the full court press on with the idea of Finch being the speed back that they lack and outside runner to get to the edge.
My third running back for the class of 2010 to keep a close eye on is Lithonia (GA) Martin Luther King High School star Mack Brown, Junior. Brown is a bit bigger than the other two at 5-10 and 180-pounds but possesses some of the same qualities. Brown ended his night against Union Grove High School this past weekend with more than 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He and his father were supposed to come this weekend as well but a 7:30 p.m. Saturday night start time against Tift County will prohibit that from happening at this time.
The playoff race has begun over much of the Southeast and as the seasons are winding down these are the three to keep an eye on. Certainly, there are many more running backs that fit into this category that are on the radar but these are the three that I have been asked about the most. Keep those questions coming!
The 2010 RB Situation
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