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At 5-foot-9, 215 pounds with 4.6 speed on a good day, Xavier Stinson, of Hollywood, Fla., isn't your in the lead pack of Division I tailback prospects, but when it comes to sheer strength and physical toughness he leaves the competition in the dirt — literally.

It's his ability to pound defenses into submission that makes Stinson an intriguing prospect, and it explains why Tennessee is making a run at the atypical tailback. He's also been offered by Auburn, Pittsburgh, Ole Miss and Iowa, plus he's being pursue by the Sunshine State's Big 3 of Florida, Florida State and Miami.

"Here's a football player," said Scout.com's Mike Bakas in an evaluation of Florida's top 50 prospects. "Stinson's tougher than nails and has a tremendous attitude and work ethic. The only thing that is holding him back from even more offers is his lack of height. He's a big time football player."

Football player is the operative term to describe Stinson, who also played linebacker at Chaminade Madonna College Prep and was selected Broward County's Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

He could play either position at the Division I level, but prefers running back. In fact, he is so convinced offense is where he belongs that he eliminated Georgia when he found out the Bulldogs wanted him as a linebacker.

"I want to go to a school that's going to run the ball," he said. "That's very important to me. Facilities and education is up there as well. It's important to me to go to a school that's going to feature the running back."

The nephew of former NFL fullback Tim Lester, Stinson runs track and finished fifth in the state as a heavyweight wrestler with an impressive 27-3 record. Pulling double duty on the gridiron limited his carries and he finished with 550 yards as a junior, but that in no way reflects his potential for production.

"Xavier is capable of playing linebacker and running back on the next level," Chaminade head coach Mark Guandolo told Harry Psaros of Panther Digest. "He would do very well at either position. He prefers to play running back in college. Xavier is the most explosive player I have ever coached. He's very powerful and runs right through tackles. It takes quite a bit to get him down. Xavier has excellent hands as well. He can catch the ball out of the backfield."

In terms of size, strength, toughness and durability, Stinson is much like former Vol great Travis Henry, who is also from Florida. He doesn't have Henry's speed or athletic ability but he presents a difficult target to hit cleanly on and he gets stronger as the game gets later. His wide track and boxy build also provide excellent balance and traction. He runs with good body lean and punctuates his power style with strong finishes.

"I think Xavier is going to be an out standing running back in college," Guandolo stated." He runs a 4.6 forty-yard dash but he's always working to improve his speed. Right now he's wide open.

"It's worth noting that Xavier is a team leader and he's a real character kid. He would make a big addition to a team in many ways."

Stinson is fully qualified academically and has the athletic qualifications to make a big difference at the next level.


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