August 20, 2008

Rebels back in mix for Rivals250 RB

Ole Miss landed former Auburn running back signee Enrique Davis last February largely because of the Tigers going to a spread offense, and the Rebels could once again be the beneficiary of a gifted runner who's leery of the spread offense.

Current Auburn commitment and Rivals250 four-star running back Rodney Scott told last Friday that he's thinking about taking official visits, and the 5-foot-9, 185 pound speedster confirmed that with on Tuesday.

"I'm a little scared of going to a school that runs a spread offense," Scott said. "I know the success that Arkansas had running the football, and now the coaches are at Ole Miss and that stands out."

It's the same reservation that Davis expressed earlier this year.

Davis committed to Auburn out of high school in 2007, but failed to qualify. He enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, re-committed to Auburn, and all seemed to be on track for him to re-sign with the Tigers until Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville hired Troy offensive coordinator Tony Franklin to implement a spread offense on the Plains.
"Even though Auburn said they would still run the ball -and they might do that - I'd like to see it for at least a year prior to me being there and find out what it's all about," Davis recently told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "And I already know the history of coach (Houston) Nutt."

In the Commercial Appeal article, Nutt said he avoids tampering with recruits who are committed, but Davis and his family initiated contact that ultimately led to the top prep school prospect in the country signing with Ole Miss.

After contact was made and an official visit to Ole Miss, Nutt and his reputation for grooming top running backs, coupled with Ole Miss' depth chart at the position, where back-to-back 1,000 yard rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis had just exhausted his eligibility, was enough to sway Davis to Oxford.

Nutt's resume included recruiting and coaching Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to Arkansas, where the duo combined to rush for 5,807 yards over the past two seasons and emerged as first-round NFL draft picks.

The fear of the spread offense couple with some second guessing has Scott also looking around and he's currently listed as a "soft" commitment to Auburn.

"I just think I may have made a decision to quickly," Scott said, who committed to Auburn on May 22. "I just want to look at my options."

Currently those options appear to be mainly Ole Miss and South Carolina.

"I've talked with (Ole Miss recruiting coordinator Chris) Vaughn," Scott said. "We haven't talked recently, but I'm still getting mail. I really like coach Vaughn and the offense that they run and the coaches."

While Rebel head coach Houston Nutt has been often labeled as favoring a rushing attack, he brought in former Rebel quarterback and CFL great Kent Austin to diversify the Rebels' passing attack. Still, Austin has emphasized that a successfully running offense is necessary to win in football, and particularly in the SEC and has said Ole Miss will be balanced between the run and pass from multiple formations.

Scott said he likes many of the same things about South Carolina as he does about Ole Miss - their running game and their coaches.

The next step for Scott is deciding if he'll indeed take some official visits while committed to Auburn.

"I haven't quite made up my mind about that," Scott said.

Scott expects his recruitment to pick up by both schools after coaches can begin making phone calls to recruits on Sept. 1 and a decision as to whether he'll stick with Auburn or continue to look around, including taking some official visits, will happen after that date.

Earlier reports also have South Florida as a player for Scott. He camped this summer at USF, Florida and Florida State.

Scott rushed for 2,017 yards and 20 touchdowns on 250 carries last season, adding 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 11 receptions. Despite being clocked in the 4.4-second range in the 40-yard dash, he describes himself as a "power runner. I love contact." He is rated as the overall No. 5 all-purpose back in the country.

Scott declined to provide his GPA or ACT score, but said that he has the grades and test score to qualify.

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