Fresno running back watches recruitment soar

Blessed with talent, Fresno's Tracy Slocum ran wild in the valley last year. Oregon State and the entire Pac-10 have taken notice. His coach says this running back has not yet scratched the surface of what he's capable of on the football field. We talk with both player and coach in a candid interview.

Washington State, Cal and Fresno State have already offered the Clovis East star with the Beavers and the entire Pac-10 showing considerable interest. USC and Ohio State are both coming on strong of late. In January, Slocum named USC as his frontrunner but says now that everyone is even.

Players with natural ability --- especially at the high school level --- can sometimes be lulled into complacency because the chasm between them and the rest is so great, Murphy says. So he and his coaching staff are pushing Slocum hard in the weight room and both on and off the field. He said Slocum is now beginning to realize the benefits of developing that stronger work ethic.

"I've never said this about any other kid that I've coached -- he can play on Sundays IF he puts it all together," said Murphy. "But it's going to be up to him.

"You can put in the (tough love) part --- he needs to hear it," said Murphy with a chuckle. "He could take his game to the highest level."

LAST YEAR, SLOCUM ran wild in the Tri River Athletic Conference to the tune of 1800-plus yards and 22 TDs -- and that basically came in just 8 games.

Slocum suffered a broken ankle in Week 9 although he tried to play through what he hoped was just a bad sprain at the time. Slocum attempted to come back in the playoffs but was mostly used as a blocker and was nowhere near healthy. The ankle is now fully healed and Slocum said he'll be running track this spring, focusing on the 100-meters and long jump.

The thought of attending college is still a far off concept for him but Slocum has a few things in mind of what he'll be looking for over the coming year.

"Tradition, academics and a good coaching staff," he said. "I'd like to play for a coach that relates well to me."

Spring plans include a probable trip to Stanford for the NIKE camp and possibly a few others. Slocum was named The Fresno Bee's Player of the Year in 2004 as he set a number of school records in rushing and scoring. Among the other honors he received -- first team all-league, all-valley and all-state under-class.

Tracy Slocum profile

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