Deuce Hanging Loose

Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier HS running back Rolandan "Deuce" Finch has seven major offers and recently turned in a standout performance at the Under Armour/Scout combine event in Cincinnati. We check in with him for the latest on his recruitment as well as his thoughts regarding Stanford three months removed from his unofficial visit out West.

Since The Bootleg last spoke with Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier HS running back Rolandan Finch, "Deuce" has seen interest in his recruitment pick up as his offer list has more than doubled. As he begins the summer, the reigning Class 6A District Three Player of the Year now holds seven major scholarship offers and checks in as a solid 3-star prospect according to Scout.com. As of this writing, Finch claims offers from Cincinnati, Louisville, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt to go along with his initial suitors of Stanford, Kentucky, and North Carolina State.

"It's going good," Finch reports. "Right now just looking at everything and just trying to take everything in and see what I'm going to do…get everything figured out."

With options that already include the three major local programs as well as some institutions noted for their academic sides, Deuce has entertained the thought of closing his recruitment by the end of the summer and focusing on his senior season of football. Nonetheless, he currently maintains an open mind regarding timelines on going public with a decision.

"You know, that was the goal but I'm not for sure about it," he says of making his decision before the season starts. "I'm just going to make the decision when it comes up. As far as a certain date or anything, that's not set."

"They're all real nice, especially the three big-time education schools, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and Stanford," he continues in discussing his offers so far. "I'm looking at those hard but I'm taking a hard look at everybody and giving everybody a fair shot. I feel good about all of them and I feel like those could be the core that I make my decision off of."

Though Finch says he is open to all of his offers and has spoken positively in recent months about a number of the schools chasing him, he does expound on the appeal of the three schools he highlights for their academics.

"Each of them have a lot of the same qualities, like the after football thing," Finch explains. "You get a degree from either one of those schools [and] you know you can get a job just about anywhere. That's something that I really like about it. They can provide a good life after football and things like that."

A serious student clearly interested in obtaining a degree that will prepare him for life beyond football, Finch knows that he has work to do in the classroom to make sure all of his offers remain options for college. Earlier in the year he reported a 3.3 GPA. Now that his academic year is complete, he thinks he turned out solid work to finish the year.

"I ended up pretty well," he muses. "I don't know my GPA, we haven't gotten final grades yet. But I did pretty well, mostly A's and B's. I'm just trying to get the admissions process and things. You know, some schools are different. I'm going to probably apply to probably all the schools and see which ones I get accepted to and things like that. If I don't get accepted I have to narrow it down and take some off if I don't. But hopefully I get accepted to everybody so I can make the best decision for me."

As he awaits second semester grades, Finch is also working on another aspect of his admissions profile.

"I took the ACT way back but right now I'm in a prep class for it," Finch shares. "I'm trying to get that up in the high 20s or 30s."

One school that eagerly awaits confirmation of the talented running back's admissions viability is Stanford. The first program to step up with an offer for Finch, the Cardinal reached out late last year before the ink had even dried on the recruiting class that was signed in February. When the Louisville prep star flew across the country for Stanford's first Junior Day of the year, his status as a prime running back target for 2009 was cemented. For his part, Finch makes clear that the affection is mutual.

"Oh Stanford, their campus is ridiculous," he exclaims. "Especially where I live at, the weather, it can get cold here. It was in the middle, I think the beginning of March, and it was 70 degrees and sunny. Where I'm from it was I think snowing. It just fell like two or three days before. I really like the weather aspect of it. And then you know I also like the campus and all the kids that were there when I was there, they seemed real cool. Some of them already committed that I talked to and stuff like that. So there were some cool kids there."

Among recruits who have already committed, he specifically mentions meeting "the two tight ends that committed and the corner that committed just recently," referring respectively to tight end commits Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz and multi-purpose athlete commit Usua Amanam.

While Finch does not claim to have had regular contact with recruits he met that weekend in early March, he does maintain close ties to the Stanford coaching staff. In particular, Stanford Running Backs Coach Willie Taggart has the dual distinction of being both a prospective future position coach as well as the regional recruiter for Finch's area. The recruit notes that he "talk[s] to him on a weekly basis." Taggart also paid a visit to St. Xavier during the May evaluation period.

"Coach Taggart came but I wasn't at school the day that he came, so I missed him," Finch recalls. "But I talked to him on the phone that day. I missed him, but he was the only one that came out. He came out the first week they could come out, so that really showed me they want me as a recruit. That made me feel pretty good."

With Stanford recruiting Finch hard and six other major programs also on his trail, he nonetheless felt no inclination to be content with the attention and accolades that have come his way so far. When Under Armour and Scout.com teamed up two weeks ago to host a combine in Cincinnati, the Kentucky prep standout jumped on the opportunity to show what he could do. After measuring in at a solid 5-10 198-pounds, Finch notched a series of solid athletic benchmarks: 4.5 in the 40-yard dash (tied for third among the 22 running backs in attendance), 4.22 in the shuttle (third among the running backs), 7.31 in the L-cone drill (second among the running backs), and 35 inches on the vertical jump (fourth among the running backs).

"It was good," Finch confirms of the experience. "I just wanted to go compete. I'm a guy that just likes to compete. I wanted to just show that I can be with those top tier guys and play with them at least. I think I went out and tested real well, ran like a 4.5 and then a 4.2 shuttle so I think I tested real well and I showed that I can play with anybody really."

Finch had already shown that he could play with anybody in Kentucky months ago when he was named his district's player of the year as a junior for one of the marquee high school programs in the state. His 1,557 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior were compiled despite missing four games due to an MCL injury that appears behind him given his performance at the Cincinnati combine. In all, he topped 100 yards rushing in every game except for the game in which he was injured and his first game back from the injury. On the season, he averaged over 9.16 yards per carry, including 318 yards rushing and 7.57 yards per carry in a season split against the eventual state champion.

Still, the competitive Finch wanted to test himself in Cincinnati.

"I just wanted to match up with those kids," he concludes. "They were talking about the top backs and stuff like that, top linebackers and all that. I just wanted to match up and see where I'm at compared to them."

Stanford cast its vote early that the rising senior compares favorably to other top running backs, a view that is apparently shared by the programs in Finch's backyard as well as some fellow academic powers. Stay tuned to see if more schools join the hunt for Deuce Finch.


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