Fugate has 7 offers, but an 8th school shines

In the world of high school football, statistics often don't tell the full story of a player's abilities. It's not uncommon to see running backs who may not be BCS-caliber football prospects put up gaudy numbers against inferior competition. Still, it is incredibly rare to see a high school player post the kind of numbers that Stanford target Channing Fugate did in his junior season.

In 15 games, the Breathitt County School (Jackson, Ky.) back rushed for 3052 yards on 279 carries to go along with 36 touchdowns.

Blessed with size (6-foot-1, 225 pounds), strength (a 350-pound maximum bench press) and speed (a 4.6 forty yard dash time), Channing Fugate became just the fifth running back to surpass the 3,000 yard mark in a single season in the history of Kentucky high school football.

"I'm big so I can run up the middle, but I also have the speed to cut outside," Fugate said. "[To have such a successful junior year], I had to work hard, trust the line, trust my team and the runs will be there."

Fugate's production and attitude opened the eyes of college coaches across the country. He now reports seven offers, from Stanford, Illinois, Purdue, Louisville, Indiana, Troy and Western Kentucky, and acknowledges a few favorites.

"I like Illinois and Purdue, and I like Stanford, but I haven't visited there yet, so I really don't know what it's like," Fugate said. "I don't know if I'll get to visit or not."

Another school near the top of Fugate's list is Tennessee.

"I went down to Tennessee's camp this past Tuesday," Fugate said. "I did pretty good and they said they might want to offer but they might want me to commit first, so I'm kind of confused now on what to do. I think I might have to go back down there and check it out again.

"If they were to offer, they'd be up pretty high on my list and maybe at the top, because they're so close to me. It's only like a three-hour drive to Tennessee and it's a pretty good program I'd have to consider a lot."

But despite the numerous obstacles for Stanford in Fugate's recruitment, running backs coach Willie Taggart and the rest of the Cardinal staff are still working to lure Fugate west.

"We've talked maybe three times," Fugate said of his contact with Taggart. "I just talked to him about two days ago. He sounds like a cool dude. He's real nice and says they really want me."

Fugate, who has also talked with 2010 Card commit Tate Nichols on several occasions, says the right things about Stanford.

"Stanford seems like a nice place to go to," Fugate said. "I've heard it's got good weather down there, there are good people and it's one of the top academic schools in the country."

Fugate is currently ranked as Scout.com's No. 7 fullback in the Class of 2010, but is being recruited by schools as either a running back or an H back.

"I'd like to get a shot at running back, but it depends on what school I'm at," Fugate said. "I'm [not sure about playing] running back in the ACC, because they have mostly speed backs, but if it were somewhere where they played bigger type backs, I'd like to play running back."

For now, as his junior year winds down, Fugate is working on his summer travel plans.

"I'm going to go to Tennessee again on the 18th, I think," Fugate said. "I'm going to try to get up to Illinois and Purdue one more time and then, after that, I really don't know. I also might try to get to Indiana whenever I go up to Illinois and Purdue, because they're all pretty close."

Then, sometime in the next few months, Fugate hopes to make a college decision.

"I'll commit just whenever it feels right," Fugate said. "That will probably before my senior season sometime. I don't know if it will be here shortly or just right before my senior season."

Fugate, who plans to major in chemistry with the goal of becoming a chiropractor, reports a 3.9 GPA and plans to take the ACT on June 14.

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