Junior to Watch: Eric Rutledge
School: Gainesville (Fla.) P.K. Yonge School
Position: Running Back/Inside Linebacker
Size and speed: Rutledge is 6-foot-1, weighs 230 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds.
Statistics: As a junior, he rushed for more than 1,300 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.
Honors: Was selected first-team Class A all-state by the FSWA.
Favorite Schools: Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Clemson, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Central Florida.
Skinny: College coaches coming to scout P.K. Yonge’s Eric Rutledge may have to do a double-take to find him on the field.
You’d expect to locate the chiseled 6-foot-1, 230-pound player at fullback, but his coach has different ideas.
“His best spot is running back, for sure,” said P.K. Yonge coach John Clifford, “but the way it looks, we’re going to line him up at quarterback. He can run and throw the ball. He can air it out about 70 yards. He’s also a leader who the other kids look up to and follow. He’s the best fit for us there, but he’ll probably wind up being a running back in college.”
Some also project Rutledge as an inside linebacker, but Clifford says “he’d have some work to do there. He certainly looks like a linebacker, but it’s not as natural to him. He’s a natural running back. He’s a powerful kid, a hard runner who’s tough to bring down. He’s got real good vision and instincts.”
Rutledge also starts for P.K. Yonge’s basketball team which advanced to the state championship game this season.
“He’s an outstanding all-around athlete,” Clifford said. “He can dunk the ball coming straight off the floor.”
Some of the schools showing early interest in Rutledge include Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Wisconsin and Central Florida, “and Kentucky and Northwestern contacted us this week,” Clifford said.
Rutledge will likely attend the Nike combine at Gainesville. He’s yet to decide which summer camps he may visit.