Calif. RB Lynell Hamilton Plays Through Injury

Last Friday night I made the short trek from my home in the East Bay area of San Francisco to lovely Stockton, California. My mission -- to scout and interview All American running back Lynell Hamilton for Here's my report - with pics!

"Tyrone Wheatley and Anthony Thomas." Those were the names from the lips of All-American running back Lynell Hamilton (Stanford Nike stats: 6-0, 195 lbs., 4.25 shuttle, 28-inch vertical jump ... 4.4 in the 40, 3.0 GPA) from Stockton, Calif., Edison when I asked him who he admired from Michigan. "I like the fact that they put tailbacks in the NFL," he continued, with a gleam in his eyes. Okay, it may have also been a tear I saw -- Hamilton's Vikings had just come off the field after a crushing 48-14 defeat at the hands of cross-town rival Stockton Lincoln. In what was considered by local sports fans to be the high school match up of the year in the San-Joaquin Section, the injury plagued Edison Vikings (7-0 going into the game, but in addition to Hamilton's injury their quarterback suffered a season-ending injury recently) couldn't contain the Lincoln Trojans' (6-1) onslaught.

As reported by last week, Hamilton has been suffering for a month from a hip pointer (the most debilitating 'minor' injury in football) and couldn't get his motor to rev at full speed. That didn't stop Lynell from being on the field almost every play of the game though, at linebacker, defensive back and punt returner as well as tailback. And while his stats may not have been up to his standard -- he rushed for 52 yards on around 15 carries -- he played with heart and emotion. For the season (7 games, he missed one) he now has 657 yards on 114 carries.

After the game I had a chance to chat briefly with Lynell. He told me, "I'm excited about coming to Michigan for a visit in January. I've never been in snow before and I'm looking forward to the new experience." When I asked him about the idea of playing in front of 111,000 people in the Big House on fall Saturdays, his widened eyes, huge grin and "Awe man!" provided a great answer.

I asked him who his favorites were and he listed, in order of preference, "Oregon, Michigan, and Miami." He was quick to add: "I just visited Oregon -- a visit to Michigan could change the order."

Hamilton (#22, in white) lines up at linebacker

Hamilton at defensive back

Hamilton lays down a block

Lynell Hamilton

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