As a freshman in 2000, Contra Costa's Lionel Arnold was second in California in rushing behind Butte's Marty Johnson. As a sophomore this season, Arnold is following in Johnson's footsteps in more ways than one.

The Comets
Contra Costa College Comets

Lionel Arnold
6-1, 205
Running Back

Richmond High School
Richmond, California

Linonel Arnold

You can be forgiven if as of the start of last season you had never heard of Lionel Arnold. The big 6-1, 205-pound running back quietly came out of Richmond High School and established himself as one of the premier running backs in the state. As his team at Contra Costa went 5-5, Arnold put up some impressive numbers. During the ten game regular season, Lionel ran for 1528 yards, an average of nearly 153 per game. His 6.1 yards per carry average and 14 touchdowns were also among the state's best.

Through the first five weeks of this season, he appears to have picked up right where he left off. Prior to the Comets' game against Laney, Arnold was fifth in the state, averaging 137.2 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. He had an effective game against Laney, so his numbers should continue to be among the state's best.

Lionel is the Comets' work horse in the backfield. He is a hard-running, pounding runner, but he is also very fast. His speed is deceiving due to his size. He hits the hole hard and keeps his legs moving through the line of scrimmage. Contra Costa's offensive line is relatively small this year, so Lionel's numbers may not be as high as they would be running behind a huge O-line, but the players are working hard together and that has translated into success. The Comets are off to a 5-1 start and appear ready to compete for the Bay Valley Conference championship.

Universities are beginning to take note of Lionel's accomplishments. The University of Utah is very interested in Lionel. The Utes have a great history of taking big, hard-running backs from the California junior college ranks and having a lot of success with them. Several years ago Mike Anderson (Mt. San Jacinto) starred there and now he racks up yards for the Denver Broncos. Today the Utes feature the one-two punch of Dameon Hunter (Chaffey) and Adam Tate (Mt. San Antonio). Another back waiting to break out is Marty Johnson (Butte), who was a JC Grid-Wire All-American in 2000.

In addition to Utah, Arizona State is expressing some interest in Arnold. Before the season is over many more universities will become aware of him.

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