Ranked amongst the best running backs across the country, Tracy Slocum is getting interest from all over. He's got interest in plenty of teams as well. And, he's got the usual criteria as most, i.e., what kind of academics do they have, what kind of tradition do they have and do they have a loyal following of fans. Tracy wants to know that, but he'll ask one question before all that stuff comes into play: "Do you pound the rock?"
Do you run the ball?
If you are a college and you are
recruiting Clovis East (California) running back Tracy Slocum, that's
what he wants to know.
Yeah, seems like a silly
question, because what else would a running back want to know?
Uh-uh, no, he means do you REALLY
run the ball.
Depending on how you look at it,
Slocum has been a workhorse for his team, getting quite used to carrying the
ball around 30 times a game. At close to 6 foot tall and weighing just under 200
pounds, he's got the body to take it, but to be honest, you can't give him the
"Hey, I'm a running back, that's
what I do, so when I am looking at a college, I want to know if they are running
Slocum comes out of a bit of a
throwback offense, Clovis running the "Double Wing". That gives
Tracy the luxury
of being able to line up just about anywhere in the backfield, making it that
much harder for teams to figure out just where he's going to go.
That's probably why Tracy was able to amass
over 1,800 yards on the ground in what amounted to be just eight games last
year, so, yeah, you can figure why he likes the idea of having as many
opportunities as he can.
"With our offense, there's lots
of ways we can hit you, but it's because we know it so well," Tracy said. "Most of us
have been learning the double wing since we were in seventh grade, so when we
get here, it's just a matter of execution."
The uniqueness of this offense
means that Tracy
isn't looking for a team in college that does something similar. Even the
offensive styles of teams like Air Force aren't really his cup of tea. But, if
you run the ball and have success running it, he doesn't really care about
style, because he's seeing the substance he wants to see.
"I'm not saying I want to start
my freshman year or that I want to get a shot right away," Slocum said. "But, I
want to know that if I work, do what I need to do, once I get there, I'll have
the opportunities to show what I can do."
"I know I am a good running back,
so it only makes sense that I am looking for a place that fits what I feel I do
As of right now, there are six
schools that are trying to convince Slocum that they are right up his alley,
CAL, Arizona, Arizona State, Fresno State, Washington and Nebraska all having
offered him in writing.
Of those schools, Nebraska would instantly
pop out at you, but then you realize the Huskers aren't the option-running
juggernaut of old, trading in the four yards and a cloud of dust for a pro-style
west coast offense, courtesy of second year head coach Bill Callahan.
It's actually Callahan's
existence that makes the Huskers intriguing, so much so that out of his five
allowed official visits, Slocum said that Nebraska would "probably" get one.
"He was a Raider," Slocum said of
Callahan, who led the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl in 2002. "And I have
been a Raider fan since I was born."
Bill Callahan, Jay Norvell, Randy Jordan, all current staff members of Nebraska, all just a year removed from
being either staff (Norvell was the tight ends' coach) or player, Jordan a
former running back for the team.
That doesn't hurt Nebraska at all, because
Slocum saw the Raiders lead the league in rushing during Callahan's head
Just this last year, though,
Slocum saw another team that is a little closer than Nebraska, do a pretty
good job of pounding the rock themselves. "CAL
runs the ball really effectively," Tracy said of the Golden Bears, who ranked as
the sixth best rushing team in the country last year. "There's a lot to like
about them, but obviously I like that they are successful pounding the rock down
As it stands, for that reason and
a few more, Cal is the one team that Slocum knows he'll be
officially visiting this year. While he hasn't scheduled it as of yet, he will.
As for the others, he's considering those teams that have offered him, but a
variety of others, that include, of course, USC.
"It's USC," he said. "What else
do you have to say?"
Now, let's not put the cart
before the horse, because while Tracy certainly has teams he likes and some
that he even seems to REALLY like, he's adamant that none have a lead over the
other. With so many teams and so many types of offenses, offering a varying
amount of opportunities, he said this process has really just begun.
"I'm looking everywhere right
now," he said. "I like Cal, but that's just one school and it doesn't
mean it's THE school for me. Heck, who knows where I might end up. I like UCLA
to and there's a lot of schools around here that are sending me letters that I
just haven't learned a lot about right now."
That will probably come in time,
official visits slated to take place either during or after the season. Right
now, though, Tracy has other things on his mind, but you can
figure what most of it's about.
The up-coming season, of course,
Slocum looking to as he says "improve in every way", getting faster, bigger,
stronger, whatever, that he needs to in order to better his game.
Oh, and he wants to run the ball
a lot as well. "I want to do better, but I don't give anyone any numbers as far
as yards, carries or anything like that," he said. "I tell them I want to get a
hundred yards for the season, because I know they wall want me to say 2,000 or
more; something like that."
"I want to get better, that's
all. If I do that, the other stuff will come and we'll be a better team overall.
That's what's going to matter in the end."
Clovis finished the season with a 10-3 record
overall last season, Slocum playing primarily in eight of those games due to a
fractured ankle. For the year, he finished with 220 carries for approximately
1,800 yards and 22 touchdowns.