Lester picks Auburn over UT

Like moths to a street light, blue-chip tailbacks seem drawn to Auburn University these days. The latest rushing whiz to pick The Loveliest Village of the Plains is Brad Lester, who this week chose the Tigers over Tennessee.

Lester is a 5-foot-11, 184-pounder from Parkview High School of Lilburn, Ga., about 25 miles from Atlanta. He ran for 1,650 yards and 15 touchdowns last year, helping Parkview to a 15-0 season and state title. He is ranked No. 85 on Scott Kennedy's ''Hot 100'' Southeastern Prospects list (which can be found at insidetennessee.com).

Lester already attended summer camps hosted by Auburn, UT, Virginia and Middle Tennessee. He planned to visit Georgia's camp this weekend.

Also a quality sprinter in track, Lester recently placed third in his region in both the 100 meters (10.6 seconds) and 200 meters (22.0). He says he has lowered his 40-yard dash time from 4.44 to 4.31 in recent months, despite bulking up from 178 to 184 pounds.

In a recent telephone interview with this writer, Lester seemed very impressed with Tennessee after attending the Phillip Fulmer football camp.

''Tennessee and Auburn were the ones (camps) I liked best so far,'' he said. ''Tennessee's camp was real organized. That camp was a lot more intense than a lot of the others. I worked real hard at that camp.''

Lester described himself as ''a balanced runner,'' adding: ''I like to run inside and also go outside and break a lot of tackles.''

Asked what he does best, he replied: ''Make people miss.''

He did a lot of that in 2002. He carried 15 times for 224 yards against Norcross and 15 times for 183 yards versus Lilburn Brookwood.

''The best run I had all year came against Brookwood,'' Lester said. ''I broke eight or nine tackles, gained about 30 yards and helped us win 17-10.''

When asked if he was weary after the 224-yard effort against Norcross, he laughed.

''Nah,'' he said. ''The practices are hard; the games are easy.''

Lester recently listed his top three college picks as Auburn, Tennessee and Indiana. When asked what he was looking for in a school, he replied: ''Someplace I can play early and be comfortable with the coaching staff.'' <> Apparently, he felt really comfortable with the staff at Auburn, which has a glut of touted tailbacks. The Tigers' stable includes Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Tre Smith and 6-4, 260-pound juco transfer Brandon Jacobs.

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