RECRUITING: Vols in Lead Pack for Blazing Back

With Gerald Riggs entering his senior season and no heir apparent yet established, running back is a position of priority for the Vols in the Class of 2006, and LeSean McCoy is the tailback of choice.

Naturally, Tennessee has a lot of company as its seems the only schools not seeking McCoy's signature are those that either haven't seen him play, or don't think they have a chance of signing him. He had an estimated 50 Division I scholarship offers before the May evaluation period even began. That number should continue to climb as his senior campaign unfolds and accounts of his exploits echo across the country.

If it's anything like his sensational sophomore and junior seasons, McCoy stands to break the Pennslyvania state career rushing record and perhaps become the nation's top-rated running back. The Harrisburg, Pa., native is rated No. 2 at his position in's preseason rankings after amassing a combined 5,300 yards and 61 touchdowns on the ground the last two seasons at Bishop McDevitt High School. He was named the Class-AAAA High School Player of the Year in 2004 and repeated as a first team Associated Press all-state selection.

McCoy is aware of his upper strata status and is out to prove it's well deserved through a cramped schedule of camps and combines, including the Nike, Blue Chip and Elite Combines.

"Well, you like to keep your name out there and keep your rank up," he told Steve Ryan of BigRedReport, "but it's time for me to help some of these other guys out like they helped me out when I was young.

"I mean, when nobody knew who I was, I got a name because I did well against guys everyone knew at these things. I figure I come back here and if some guy does well against me, that helps him out, because there's a lot of coaches watching."

McCoy has certainly helped himself in the test tubes and time trails that comprise the combine circuit, showing the breakaway speed he displayed on tape was real and not a manifestation of slow competition. The 5-foot-11, 208-pound tailback has exceptional balance, vision and cutting ability. As durable as he is elusive, McCoy bench presses 365 pounds, squats 425 and has a 33-inch vertical leap.

He averaged 258 yards and three TDs in ten games as a sophomore and needs another 2,600 to set a new state rushing mark. A threat to go the distance on any hand-off, McCoy is arguably the best pure runner to come out of the high school ranks in the last two years. Part sprinter, part escape artist, he has an instinctive style along with an array of creative moves.

"I think I am a bigger version of Barry Sanders," McCoy told OU Insider's James Hale. "I make a lot of people miss and I have good balance. My moves just happen, they hit me as the run develops and I have the type of moves that always get me into open field."

His most recent favorites list features: Miami, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, USC, Virginia and Virginia Tech. McCoy indicates he will take all five of his official visits before deciding on a school and may wait until near signing day to commit. UT is in good position to get one of his visits and Vol running back coach Trooper Taylor is on the case.

Expect to hear the name LeSean McCoy a lot over the next seven months.

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