12:53 AM EDT, August 9, 2011
There is a question we are going to hear over and over again during the stretch of the next two high school football seasons. I'm hearing it already, actually. And most people don't like my email replies.
Probably because most of those emailing are Florida Gators fans.
Who is the best running back prospect in the state of Florida for the 2013 recruiting class, Yulee's Derrick Henry or Belle Glade Glades Day's Kelvin Taylor?
For Gator fans, it's simple. Henry committed to Georgia last month. So the answer is Taylor, he of the Gator pedigree, with dad Fred Taylor having already shown what a Taylor from the muck can do in a Swamp.
Actually, it's not that simple for Gator fans, but I couldn't resist the jab. UF followers would gladly take either, but there likely is a preference for Taylor.
My choice, and it's nothing against Gators or Taylors, is Henry, because for my considerations, I think of all Derrick Henry brings to the table.
Should Henry be able to successfully take his 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame to the next level, it could change the game of college football the way coaches see it now … the way coaches recruit it now.
Derrick Henry is a true freak of nature. He could step on a college football field right now and play running back, wide receiver, tight end, H-back, defensive end, outside linebacker or strong safety. If he said he wanted to play quarterback, I'd give him a shot.
He's a monster of an athlete.
Good friend and ESPN recruiting analyst Corey Long pretty much agrees, but at least it's a second opinion. And believe me, if Long could disagree with me, he would.
"With Derrick, you are talking about a rare talent … a freak, in another world," Long said. "This is a kid who could play running back and change the game. Coaches believe he can be the new style of running back. If he's successful he could do kind of like what Tim Tebow did to the quarterback position at the college level."
The only question with Henry is will he outgrow his position. While watching him since he was a rising freshman, I'd say he's still getting bigger. Time will tell.
As a pure running back, Taylor has the quintessential size, strength, speed and vision — an attribute often overlooked in running backs. Taylor, however, and don't start emailing, is a dime-a-dozen. There are plenty of 5-9, 190-pound running backs out there.
Many analysts rave about Delray Beach American Heritage runner Greg Bryant (5-11, 193).
It's actually a pretty stocked class. Also mentioned in conversations are players like Ryan Green (5-9, 195) of St. Petersburg Catholic, speedster Fred Coppet (5-9, 170) of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, Cocoa's Tarean Folston (5-10, 190) or even the short-but-stocky Adam Lane (5-7, 207) of Winter Haven, A.J. Turman (6-0, 197) of Orlando Boone, Eric Harrell (5-10, 185) of Orlando Dr. Phillips, Marcus Dixon (5-9, 190) of South Daytona Warner Christian, even little speedster Johnny Armstrong (5-7, 150) at Orlando Olympia and on and on. It's a great class.
"Kelvin is an extremely good running back," Long said. "He's part of a class where there are tons of good running backs. I don't think there is anything he does that distinguishes him as being that much better than the others. He's fast but not the fastest, strong but not strongest … although he does have a great pedigree, no doubt.
"And I'm not even worried about his level of competition (2A). If anyone is worried about that, they are fooling themselves. He's just a great running back."
He does have great eyes … don't forget that vision. Holes look different to the great ones.
Chris Hays can be reached at email@example.com
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