RB Deonte Gist: Unsung Hero For The Rebels

Willy Korn, Stanley Hunter, Chad Diehl, Randall Hawkins, and Xavier Dye get a lot of the attention but that's just fine by Byrnes running back Deonte Gist. The speedy senior just wants to do whatever it takes to help the Rebels win their fifth consecutive state championship. Inside a look at the RB that carries the rock for the Rebels.

The Byrnes Rebels are on a roll, having won the last four consecutive AAAA Division 2 state championships and throughout those years there has been a bevy of outstanding players for head coach Bobby Bentley. This year's version of the Rebels is no different lead by one of the nation's top overall prospects in quarterback Willy Korn (Clemson commit). The Clemson Tigers have been stopping by Duncan a lot the past year or two as they boast four Clemson commits on the Rebels current squad. Linebackers Stanley Hunter and Chad Diehl anchors the defense while wide receiver Xavier Dye is still awaiting his transfer approval from the SC High School League.

With four strong D1 standouts on one team they garner most of the attention and publicity but while many focus on what the Rebels have accomplished through the air by passing the ball they always seem to have a solid runner in the backfield to keep opposing defenses honest. Korn is one of the nation's fastest quarterbacks having run in the mid 4.5 range in the 40 yard dash but he's not the fastest player in the Rebel backfield actually. That honor goes to senior running back Deonte Gist. Gist at 5'8 160 pounds may not pass the sight test for many fans and analysts but the youngster simply gets it done each and every night for Bobby Bentley's team.

SCPrepNation.com caught up with the senior running back to see just how things were going for him this season for the Rebels, on the recruiting trail, and about their huge upcoming game against the Gaffney Indians.

The wait had been 3 years but Deonte Gist was ready to jump into the starting role as the Rebels running back after waiting behind some great players like Prince Miller, Derrick Young, and Rodricuz Williams. When asked about how tough it was to wait his turn Gist responded, "It's exciting to finally get the chance and I'm liking it a lot. I've been waiting to do this for a while."

Gist isn't shy about what makes him such a load to handle on the gridiron for opponents either but in the same breathe he told us there were areas he'd like to improve. "Speed is my strength without a doubt. If I could improve on anything it'd be my pass blocking to help protect Willy more."

As stated before the Rebels are a pass oriented team but Gist does his fair share to keep the opposition on their toes. Through 8 games this year he's rushed for 658 yards with 6 touchdowns. Running the ball however isn't his only strength as his receiving ability makes him twice as tough having caught 32 passes for 414 yards and another 6 touchdowns.

Schools are starting to take notice of his abilities as Gist informed us that Newberry and South Carolina State have already amped up their recruiting efforts for his services. Gist told us however that he does have a particular school that he'd like to hear from. "I'd like to go to North Carolina A&T. Wherever I go though I want to probably major in architecture and design."

With the Rebels poised to make another state championship run Gist says his focus remains the same, "I just want to do my best for the team and help us win another state championship."

The state of South Carolina is buzzing about the upcoming battle Thursday night between Gist's Rebels and the Gaffney Indians which will be televised on Fox Sports Net nationally. Gist shared a little bit about his thoughts on the matchup. "Man...Gaffney has always been good and we have had some big games against each other every year. They are always one of it not the toughest team we play against. I'm looking forward to it though."

With schools finally starting to take notice of the shifty scatback style runner you can expect more interest to develop for Deonte Gist. SCPrepNation.com will keep you updated on the rest of his season and recruitment.

Deonte Gist Facts
-Max Bench Press: 225 pounds
-Max Squat: 330 pounds
-Fastest 40 time: 4.40 seconds
-When he's got free time he says you'll find him playing NCAA 2007 at his cousin's house
-Reminds many of a Warrick Dunn type of running back with his small size, shiftiness, and burst of speed
-Ironically Deonte's favorite football player was bruising runner for the Pittsburgh Steelers Jerome Bettis who retired at the end of last season


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