2011 Intro: Rashad Hedgepeth

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. --- Since his performance at the Nike Combine last Saturday, Rashad Hedgepeth has seen a sharp increase in the recruiting interest he is receiving.

"Things have picked up a whole lot," Hedgepeth said. "I didn't have any offers, but after the combine that same day I got the [conditional] offer from Maryland."

Hedgepeth, a 5-foot-7, 176-pound tailback from Northern Nash High School, clocked the combine's best 40-yard dash time (4.32 seconds) and recorded a top five SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness) rating (108.76). He also had a 4.44-second 20-yard shuttle, 33.7-inch vertical, and 38-foot, 5-inch power ball toss. Nearly 1,000 recruits participated in the combine.

"I trained really hard for the 40-yard dash," Hedgepeth said. "I even practiced that morning. The first time [I ran the 40-yard dash] was a 4.42. I just put my mind to it the second time and said ‘I can run this 4.3' and did it."

In the weeks prior to it, Hedgepeth had practiced for the combine with his head football coach, Mickey Crouch. Those practice runs included hand-timed efforts of 4.22 and 4.19 seconds.

"We timed him the other day and he ran 4.2s back-to-back," Crouch said. "I knew he was capable of running a 4.3, but you get on the laser it's a whole lot slower."

In the weight room, Hedgepeth's maxes include a 455-pound squat, a 355-pound bench press, and a 275-pound power clean.

"He's been in weight lifting class the entire year and he's blown away the stuff he has done in the past," Crouch said.

Besides Maryland, Hedgepeth's performance has attracted inquires from Arkansas, Illinois, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina. The Terrapins have shown the most interest and have conversed with Hedpepeth.

"Maryland wants me to come up the 27th of this month," Hedgepeth said. "They want me to just visit the school and they'll offer me."

Illinois has invited Hedgepeth to visit on March 30. During that visit, the Fighting Illini could also offer, Hedgepeth believes.

Hedgepeth plans to take his show on the road this summer and hopefully earn scholarship offers by showing off his speed and ability on the camp circuit. Possible camp stops include Duke, Cincinnati, UNC, NC State, and Notre Dame. He camped at Notre Dame last summer. Ideally, Hedgepeth would like to make a verbal commitment before his senior football season kicks off. He says he currently isn't favoring any schools.

"I'm considering all options," Hedgepeth said.

Last season, Northern Nash ran the wing-T offense with Hedgepeth lining up at halfback. To take advantage of the team's speed and provide opposing defenses with a unique look, the Knights will switch to the pistol offense this coming season.

"[Hedgepeth] isn't the only fast kid we have," Crouch said. "We have about eight kids that run a 4.7 or better…

"Everybody in this area runs the wing-T. And if you run the wing-T, you know how to stop the wing-T.

"The pistol is a form of the spread offense. We can do a whole lot of different things with it. We can go power, we can go wing-T, we can go motion – there's just so many thing we can do with it and take advantage of our fast ‘backs."

In the pistol offense, Hedgepeth will line up at T-back and receive the majority of the carries.

"We're going to run the option, we're going to throw some screens to him – we're going to do everything we possibly can to get him on the edge," Crouch said. "Once he's on the edge with that speed it's six [points]."

Despite his elite speed, Crouch considers Hedgepeth a "power back."

"His biggest runs last year were up the middle," Crouch said. "A lot of times we'd run dive or trap and – I know this sounds unbelievable – he would actually be past the secondary before they actually knew where the ball was."

Last season while dealing with an injury he suffered during the Notre Dame Camp, Hedgepeth rushed for 664 yards and five touchdowns on 116 carries (5.72).

Rashad Hedgepeth Profile

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