The Stat Guy: Joe Bergeron could turn heads

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Every football fan loves them — the shiny little stars next to their highly touted recruit. It’s a point of pride for fans to boast about how good their running back or receiver is going to be, based upon their respective rankings in recruiting databases.

While many highly praised high school athletes continue their domination into college, a lot of overlooked players have been stealing the spotlight the past few years. LaMichael James, Oregon’s Heisman-hopeful running back, has amassed 3,277 yards rushing, averaging 6.3 yards per carry during his first two years in Eugene. His ranking coming out of high school? Four stars and the 12th-best running back in his class.

While that’s not terrible, it’s not like he was the most coveted guy in the country. Same for Jamaal Charles, Texas’ best recent running back, who was a four-star recruit coming out of Port Arthur. Charles finished his Longhorn career early averaging 6.3 yards a carry. Now, he’s being selected as the No. 1 pick in many fantasy football leagues.

This season’s recruiting class offers us a similar situation.

While many fans are anticipating the debut of the five-star, 9.9 yards-a-carry running back Malcolm Brown (and they very well should be), another freshman running back is rapidly gaining momentum.

Joe Bergeron, a three-star running back out of Mesquite, could be this class’ diamond in the rough. He averaged 6.5 yards a carry in high school, runs a 4.4 second forty-yard dash and he weighs 215 pounds. Somehow, he was overlooked. Bergeron has already been said to have knocked Kenny Vaccaro on his back in practice and is currently on the two-deep depth chart for the Rice game tomorrow.

“He’s difficult now to bring down,” said co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. “He’s a strong, powerful guy, and from just the knowledge standpoint of protections and all the different things we do with our backs, I thought he did a great job of handling those things.”

Could Bergeron be the next underrated recruit to turn heads on Saturdays? We can only wait and see.

Printed on Friday, September 2, 2011 as: Star rating doesn't predict potential.