Florida RB Has X-Factor

Running back Xavier Stinson, of Hollywood, Fla., is a power back with good vision and great balance, but the Volunteers are hoping to knock him off his feet when he gets his first look at UT's campus later this month.

The Chaminade Madonna College Prep prospect was voted Broward County Defensive Player of the Year as a junior for his production at linebacker. He could play either position at the Division I level, but prefers running back. In fact, he is so convinced offense is his forte that he eliminated Georgia because the Bulldogs wanted him as a linebacker.

UT likes Stinson's ability to pound the ball and wear down a defense enough that it isn't put off by his atypical size or speed for an I-formation feature back. At 5-foot-9, 215 pounds and with 4.6 speed on a good day, Stinson is a back who depends on his instincts and toughness.

"Here's a football player," said Scout.com's analyst 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."

This prospect has some big-time offers and is being recruited by the Sunshine State's Big 3 of Miami, Florida and Florida State. However he has narrowed his field of colleges to three and is planning to announce his decision before the start of his senior season.

"I want to visit Pitt, Auburn and Tennessee and see what their campuses are like," he told Harry Psaros of Panther digest,com. "Playing time is going to be important to me as well. The Panthers are putting together a power running game. I like that a lot because it fits me style. I like to pound the ball. I'm a physical runner."

Tennessee prefers a power running game as defined by Phillip Fulmer's "pound the rock" credo. In fact, Stinson is sure to remind Big Orange fans of another tough-as-nails back from Florida named Travis Henry.

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 said. "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."

If one of Florida's trio of elite programs comes through with an offer, it could alter the dynamics of what currently appears to be a three-team race. Still if the Gators, Canes or Seminoles are going to get into the game they had better hurry.

"I would like to make a decision prior to the football season," he said. "Hopefully all of my visits are complete in July and I can make the best decision for me."

Stinson is fully qualified, has a great work ethic and is a standout leader on and off the field. It's the attributes that can't be measure or timed that make this three-star prospect a high-value target.

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