Mon Oct 04 02:25pm EDT
Barry Sanders Jr. was destined to be a great high school running back. One need look no further than his name to know running a football is practically in his blood.
The son of one of the NFL's most electric performers is making headlines of his own across Oklahoma, using some of his father's elusiveness and impressive speed to torch opposing defenses. Through his Heritage Hall (Okla.) High School Chargers' 5-0 start, Sanders has rushed for 970 yards and 14 touchdowns. A huge chunk of those stats came in a monstrous performance against Tulsa NOAH on Friday night, when he scored five touchdowns and ran for 313 yards on 13 carries. At one point he scored three touchdowns in the span of only four runs. His highlight reel runs -- like this one -- have gained plenty of notoriety, which has put the spotlight on the junior running back's eventual collegiate choice.
Now Sanders Jr. may be getting a little bit closer to a decision. The son of the Oklahoma State great reportedly is focusing on his father's alma mater, Alabama, UCLA and Florida State. Since his impressive sophomore season, the back has received scholarship offers from Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Mississippi, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa and UCLA. He's received personal calls from Nick Saban and was reportedly offered his scholarship to UCLA by Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel on Saturday.
Still, the mercurial runner is making it clear that he isn't shutting any doors yet. He attended the annual Red River Rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday and was promptly spied sporting a Longhorns hat.
When asked about his attire by Orangebloods.com, Sanders simply said that it was hot and he needed a hat ... but quickly added that he's a fan of the Texas program and is hoping to hear from Mack Brown and his coaching staff.
"Mack Brown, I think he's a great coach. I've heard some good things about university, heard some good things about Austin," Sanders said. "I know Malcolm Brown. I got a chance to spend some time with him this summer. He committed to Texas. I'll be seeing him at the Army Bowl. I'll be down there for the combine in January. I'll get to talk to him about it a little bit, get the pros and cons. Texas is somebody that I've been telling people for a long time that I have some interest. We'll see if they look at me." [...]
"I'm keeping it all out there. I think the big question is if I want to stay home or if I want to leave state. That's something I'm really going have to think about and go from there."
The younger Sanders is also proving to be a bit more adventurous with his fashion than his father was. Sanders Jr. filmed one interview sporting an impressive mohawk, though he made it clear in his Orangebloods interview that he was no prima donna; when asked what he'd like to improve most, Sanders quickly focused on his blocking technique.
[Related: Illinois player has 7-TD, 500-yard game]
"I wouldn't say my blocking is a weakness," Sanders told Orangebloods.com "But that's something I'd like to work on to perfect it, blocking and catching out of the backfield."
If he gets that down, Sanders Jr. might even reach the legendary heights of his father (speaking figuratively, of course). Given what he's shown so far, it's impossible to count anything out ... except a defensive back trying to chase him down on a breakaway with the end zone in sight. That's been made clear with runs like the one you see below.
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