In 2007, Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier High School running back Rolandan Finch II put together a huge season that should make him one of the most heavily recruited players in the Bluegrass State in the 2009 class. Known to most as "Deuce," the 5'10" 200-pound junior running back rushed for 1,557 yards and 15 touchdowns on 170 carries (9.16 yards per carry) for the 14-1 St. Xavier powerhouse, which was the runner up in Class 6A in Kentucky in 2007. The performance netted Finch Player of the Year honors for Class 6A District Three as voted by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association.
Making the season even more impressive, Finch missed four games due to an MCL injury suffered in the season's ninth game. When he was playing and healthy, he consistently shined for the Tigers.
"I had 100 in every game except the game I got hurt and the very first game I came back," Finch explains. After getting his legs back under him with a seven-carry cameo appearance coming back from injury, he reclaimed his key role for St. Xavier in the championship game.
"It was wonderful," he says of his experience playing in the championship game. "It was just a fun, big-time atmosphere. We lost but we played Trinity, who we had beaten earlier. We lost in overtime. You know, it was fun. Coming off of injury I had a pretty good game."
The pretty good game was a 23-carry, 137-yard performance against state champion cross-town rival Louisville (Ky.) Trinity, against whom Finch had ran for 181 yards on 19 carries in a 24-15 win earlier in the season. The split against Trinity, which supplanted St. Xavier in a number of national rankings after the championship game, served as two of the nine games in which Finch rushed for over 100 yards as a junior.
Even more than the showdowns against Trinity, however, Finch made himself a household name in Kentucky prep circles even earlier in the year with a record-breaking game against Lexington (Ky.) Catholic. That game saw him romp for 322 yards and 5 touchdowns on only 18 carries in a 41-9 rout for St. Xavier. Far from a pushover, Lexington Catholic ultimately went 13-2 on the season and won the 4A state championship.
"It was real nice," Finch relates of the memorable experience. "It was a school record, so you know I was real excited about that. Coach put me in the last play and I didn't even know I had close to 300. He put me in the last play and I broke off a touchdown and it was just real exciting when I came back to the sidelines and they told me I had over 300 yards."
Stylistically, Finch says his game is based both on running hard and running with speed and that he can "get to the corner and outrun people but can also run people over."
Whatever the style, with such consistent production for one of the top programs in Kentucky, Finch is sure to see interest come from college suitors. Indeed, he already reports an early wave of offers.
"Right after the season, I got my first offer from Stanford," he recounts. "And then I have an offer from UK and my coach told me NC State offered me and he had to send my transcript in. He said they offered me."
In addition to the offers from Stanford, Kentucky, and NC State, he claims interest in Notre Dame, Illinois, Auburn, and Louisville. He is still at an early stage in his recruitment and says he has no favorites.
"I'm wide open right now," Finch says. "Just going to wait and see probably. I don't know when I'm going to make my decision. I'm just waiting and seeing, being patient."
Each of the schools that have extended an early offer to Finch appeals to him in some way.
"Well, you know UK is a close-to-home school and I like the way they're upcoming," he starts in describing each school's early appeal. "They've been in the top 25 last year. I just like their style of offense and things like that. NC State, I've seen them on TV and they always look to have good backs, but I really haven't gotten to look at their offense or anything like that. And on Stanford, I just like their offense, too. On all three of the schools, I like the conferences that they play in: Pac-10, ACC, and SEC."
As he sorts out his growing list of college options, Finch plans to compete in a NIKE camp at some point this spring and will also attend a couple of Junior Days in the next few weeks at two of the top schools on his early list.
"Actually, this Saturday, I'm going to Notre Dame for a Junior Day," he shares. "And I'm going to Stanford at the beginning of the month for their Junior Day."
Those two upcoming experiences will undoubtedly provide Finch with additional data points useful in making sense of the offers and interest he is receiving. Stay tuned to the Scout.com network for more on this intriguing junior running back.
Deuce Finch claims a 3.3 GPA and took the ACT earlier in February. He is waiting on that score and says he "will probably take it a few more times to get it as high as possible." He is currently taking honors math and science courses at St. Xavier.
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