Andre Sterling -

Knoxville Running Back Andre Sterling was a late addition to the Rebel recruiting list. Many feel it is because of his academics. Farragut Coach Eddie Courtney elieves Sterling has a chance to get in Ole Miss, but if not Andre will be here after a brief stint at prep school.

Farragut (Knoxville, TN) High School Running Back Andre Sterling gained almost 6,000 yards in four years in the tough AAAAA division of Tennessee high school football.

He picked up just about every accolade possible and was a two-time finalist for Tennessee's Mr. Football.

But when it came recruiting time, many schools backed away from the 5-11, 200-pounder with 4.47 speed and a 325 bench press.

Why? Farragut Coach Eddie Courtney knows.

"Andre took his ACT late and we didn't have a score for him when official visits started. He could not take visits until we got his score (21) back," Courtney, who has been at Farrgut 27 years, the last 11 as the head coach, said. "Coupled with the fact that he clowned around academically his first two years of high school, most schools did not think he would make it academically.

"He woke up his last two years and has applied himself. His core work is close to a 2.0 and his ACT is a 21. He has a chance to make it. But, if he doesn't, he can go to a prep school for a semester or a year and he will go to Ole Miss from there."

Why Ole Miss? Courtney said it's simple.

"The style of play Houston Nutt wants to bring to Ole Miss fits Andre's talents, we believe," Courtney said. "He got looks from Kentucky, vandy, Mississippi State and South Carolina, but he liked Coach Nutt's commitment to the run.

"Ole Miss also did not have a lot of backs on their roster and it's a good opportunity for an incoming RB. I also believe Andre was frustrated with the recruiting process and the Ole Miss staff gave him some hope. They gave him a Plan A and Plan B and stuck with him once they got on him. Some schools were not as diligent and kind of gave up on Andre."

Courtney is a fan of Andre Sterling.

"He is a terrific kid, a special kid, from a special family. His Dad (Jack) is one of the top guys at UPS in Tennessee and worked up from nothing. They believe in hard work and doing things the right way," Courtney said. "Andre doesn't hve a car and won't get one until he gets eligible. There is discipline in that family.

"Andre has the same work ethic, even though he let his guard down academically as a freshman and sophomore. He never missed a single football practice in four years. A lot of star players will take a day off now and then. He never did and he always set the pace and the tone of practice. We're talking about a kid who gained 5,989 yards and scored 72 touchdowns and he worked like he was a second teamer trying to win a spot - every day."

Courtney also believes Sterling will excel on the next level.

"With his ability, work ethic and love of the game, I see no way he won't be a college star too," Courtney assessed. "Andre has gets a lot of YAC yards and is a very physical back, yet he's never missed a practice or a game due to injury, so you know he is durable. He is also capable of running around and past defenders - he ran a 4.47 at Mississippi State's summer camp last year. He also has excellent hands - only fumbling four times in four years and with over 800 carries in his career.

"Great vision too. He is an outstanding cutback runner. I think he is going to be a heckuva college player."

So it comes down to academics.

"Like I said, I think the odds are in his favor he will make it, but if not he will go to a prep school and keep preparing. Either way, he's going to Ole Miss and they'll be happy when they get him," Courtney closed.

To watch clips from Sterling's senrior campaign, click here.

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