The running of Jamelle Eugene was a driving force in Naples’ march to the Florida Class 5A championship game last year.
Eugene (5-10, 185, 4.5) will be back in the spotlight again next season, and figures to be one of the Sunshine State’s top running back prospects.
“Any kid who can get close to 2,000 yards in Class 5A, that tells you all you need to know about his ability,” Naples coach Bill Kramer said. “He had 239 against Fort Meyers, about 200 all-purpose against Edison, and nobody had rushed for more than 100 all year against Mainland, and he went out and got 106 against them in the state championship. He’s the real deal.”
Eugene wrapped up his all-state season with 1,960 yards and 19 touchdowns rushing. He also had two receiving scores.
The fact that Eugene was playing at that high a level last season was impressive, especially when considering he was coming off a serious knee injury as a sophomore. He suffered partial tears of his ACL, MCL and PCL, leading to a long rehabilitation.
He bounced back better than ever, though, thanks to his work ethic and determination. Those are just a few of the attributes that make him a great player, according to his coach.
“Jamelle’s got great vision and balance, tremendous power, and he's always working forward,” Kramer said. “He averaged close to 10 yards per carry this year. You don’t have to give him much space for him to make something happen. He's an absolute competitor and leader. You couldn’t ask for a better kid.”
Kramer said Eugene has received “a mailbox full” of letters already from prospective colleges, but was surprised by the lack of scholarship offers to date.
“I figured he’d have a few by now,” he said. “But he won’t have to worry about that. He’ll have them from all over before long.”