Running Backs: A+
When looking at the strength of the 2008 football class, one has to start with the running backs.
The Rebels were able to land the nation's top prep school propsect, regardless of position, in Enrique Davis at the 11th hour after a bitter battle with Tennessee and Auburn (the school that the Lynn Haven (FL) native had been committed to for over a year)..
Enrique has a "Bo Jackson" type body (6' 1", 215) with sprinter speed (sub 4.4). He is the total package and will be looked upon to give Ole Miss an immediate boost in its backfield for the '08 season.
A player who caught our eye at the Scout.com combine in New Orleans this past Spring was Brandon Bolden. The Baton Rouge native ran a 4.48 and weighed in at a solid 215 pounds.
Bolden already has a "college body" and has great hands to go along with his natural speed and power. Although Bolden has sprinter speed, he is more adapt to run through you than around you.
One of the shiftier backs throughout the land was Army All-American, Devin Thomas. The 5' 11", 190 pound San Antonio native can cut on a dime and has great explosiveness from 0 to 10 yards. Running in Texas' largest classification, he was rushing for almost 300 yards a clip before injuring his ankle, which caused him to miss the remainder of his senior season.
Another tailback that is very shifty and has great explosiveness and power is Andre Sterling out of Knoxville. The 5' 10", 200 pounder rushed for over 2, 700 yards as a senior and would have received a lot more recruiting attention if it were not for his grades. Look for Ole Miss to place Andre at Hargrave next season.
Ole Miss was looking to add some much needed depth to its fullback slot, as they only have one scholarship player returning to the team (pending if Reggie Hicks moves to TE or not) in Jason Cook, and he is a senior.
As you all know, the FB position is an intergal part of Coach Nutt's offense as Peyton Hillis was a huge part of the Razerback's offense over the last four years.
Enter H.R. Greer. The Southaven native was used as a tailback in high school, as he rushed for over 1, 800 yards and was a Finalist for Mr. Football, but he will move to fullback at Ole Miss. H.R. runs with power (6' 0", 225) and has very soft hands (over 60 catches in the past two years).
Overall, the Rebels added break away speed, power, cutting ability, and a versatile fullback that is required to make Coach Nutt's offense go.
This could be the top overall running back class for Ole Miss in the modern day era.
Robert Prunty (Hargrave head coach) Quote
Enrique has great vision, power, 4.3 speed, and he can run over you, by you, or juke you. He is the total package. Him and Keiland Williams at LSU are the two best running backs I have coached. And that is saying alot, as I have sent over 60 tailbacks to the D1 level. I hate to say this, but he reminds me of another Bo Jackson. He has that same type of ability and has the same body.
Houston Nutt Quote
Today, we are happy to have some tailbacks, and I mean they can play. Im excited about that. Im not worried about stars. I like qualifiers that are going to be eligible. I like guys that are going to be here and play with character and speed. These guys can tote the mail. They run downhill and will hit you in the mouth and will outrun you. We will start with Enrique Davis. He is a solid 212 pounds and runs a 4.4. There is a reason why everybody wants him. Thats because he is a difference maker. He can make the first guy miss, has tremendous speed and comes downhill with power.
Thomas (RB, San Antonio, TX) - Named to the U.S. Army All-America
team ... A PrepStar All-Region selection ... Ranked the No. 40 player in Texas
by SuperPrep and named to the SuperPrep All-Region team ... Rated the No. 21 RB
in the nation and No. 60 player in Texas by Rivals.com ... Ranked the No.
70 RB in the nation by Scout.com ... Earned third team All-State honors
from the Texas Sports Writers Association as a senior ... Ran for 1,477
yards and 17 TDs in only six games as a senior ... Named Academic All-State as
a senior by the Texas High School Coaches Association ... Rushed for 1,889
yards and 23 TDs as a junior ... A first team All-State pick by the Associated
Press as a junior ... Named first team All-San Antonio as a senior by Prep
Ticket ... Named to the Houston Chronicles Top 110 recruits list
... Rated the No. 1 prospect in South Texas by Texas Prep Insider for Scout.com...
Coached in high school by Jim Streety.
To watch Devin in action, click here.
Houston Nutt Quote
And then there is Devin Thomas. He played 5A football in Texas. Anytime someone can go 487 yards in one game and then go 327 and then do 290, you are doing something. That is not against 2A or 3A, that is against 5A football in Texas. So Im excited about these backs. Im hoping about one more that we can find out about here this afternoon.
Houston Nutt Quote
Brandon Bolden is another guy that is a 10.6 100-meter runner. I cant wait for coach Decker to get a hold of him. He reminds me a lot of Felix Jones. He is very explosive and has a great mother and father. The upbringing of these guys is just awesome.
Sterling (RB, Knoxville, TN) - Earned 5A All-State honors
from the Tennessee Football Coaches Association and the Tennessee Sports
Writers Association as a senior ... Rushed for 2,784 yards and 30 TDs as a
senior ... Named to the 2007 Tennessean Dream Team ... A Finalist for the Tennessee
Mr. Football Award in 2006 and 2007 ... Earned All-Region 2-5A honors and named
region Player of the Year ... Ran for 1,522 yards and 17 TDs as junior ... Coached
in high school by Eddie Courtney.
To watch video, click here.
Greer (FB, Southaven, MS) - Rushed for 1,840 yards and 31 TDs as
a senior ... Helped lead his team to the Division 2 state championship game ...
Earned 4A All-State honors from the Tennessee Football Coaches Association
and the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as a senior ... A finalist
for the 2007 Tennessee Mr. Football Award ... Named to The Clarion-Ledgers
Top 40 recruits list ... Rated the No. 14 FB in the nation by ESPN.com
... Selected to The Commercial Appeals Best of the Preps squad for
junior and senior campaigns ... Also a Finalist Best of the Preps offensive
player of the year award as a senior ... Participated in the Liberty Bowl All-Star
Game ... Named to The Commercial Appeals Most Wanted List ... Coached
in high school by former Ole Miss All-SEC tight end Butch Veazey.
The one who got away:
The Rebels were able to land Mississippi's top recruit, Darius Barskdale, early in the recruiting process but have yet to ink Tig. It is unknown when or if Darius will sign at all, as he may opt to go unsigned and attend N' West CC instead.
But in all honesty, does it really matter if Darius signs or not?
Yes, it will help their "recruiting rankings" but not on the field, if he does not qualify. And if he does qualify, the Rebels will be first in line to have him in uniform.