He can run and jump

Hollywood did a bit of racial stereotyping two decades ago by releasing a comedy called "White Men Can't Jump." Well, it turns out some White men can jump and some of them can run, too.

Case in point: Lucas Petrullo. He ran and jumped so well in last Sunday's InsideTennessee combine at Knoxville's D1 training facility, in fact, that he was tabbed the camp MVP. A rising senior at Chaparral High in Scottsdale, Ariz., the 6-0, 200-pounder posted a 4.57-second clocking in the 40-yard dash, a 36.5-inch vertical jump and 15 repetitions of the 185-pound bench press.

Those were pretty good numbers for a guy coming off a taxing 1,600-mile trek from Scottsdale to Knoxville. The performance wasn't surprising, however, considering what a competitive nature Petrullo has. It's the reason he plays football.

"I like winning," he said. "I'm a competitive kid, and I love to win."

He certainly has plenty of experience in that area.

As a sophomore at Scottsdale's Saguaro High, Petrullo returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in helping his team to a 10-3 record. One return was a 95-yarder to open the second half that rallied Saguaro from a 0-10 deficit to a 38-23 defeat of Independence High in the Class 4A state playoffs.

A year ago he transferred to cross-town Chaparral High, which he helped lead to a 14-0 record and a Class 5A state title as a junior. He rushed for 1,166 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaged 7.9 yards per carry and threw a 54-yard halfback pass for a TD.

He punctuated his junior season with a strong showing in the championship game - rushing 10 times for 87 yards, including bursts of 45 and 19 yards. He scored a clutch fourth-and-goal touchdown that produced an 18-10 third-quarter lead and turned a fourth-quarter screen pass into a 25-yard gain to set up the clinching TD as Chaparral beat Centennial High 32-17.

"I'm a bigger kid, so I can run people over," he said during a break in the InsideTennessee combine. "I'm not the fastest kid but I do have breakaway speed and I've got real good vision."

White running backs are something of a rarity these days but Petrullo really embraces the position.

"I like scoring touchdowns," he said. "I like being in the spotlight, like being The Man."

Petrullo described his running style as "balanced," adding: "I'm an all-around back."

So, where will this "all-around back" with a 3.7 grade-point average attend college? He says his four favorites at present are Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Washington and Colorado.

If you're wondering why the Vols and Commodores are on his list, there's a simple explanation: A business opportunity recently led his father to relocate from Scottsdale to Nashville. Lucas would like to live in the same state with his dad but wants to chase another prep title first.

"My dad just moved here from Arizona," he explained. "I'm going to stick it out there (Scottsdale) because we're going for our third straight state championship but I like Tennessee."

He probably likes it even better after winning an MVP trophy on his first visit to the Volunteer State.

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