Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College assistant coach Rico Cherico has seen some great players in his 12 years in the Jayhawk Conference. He's coached numerous NFL players, including recent first-round draft pick Reggie Nelson and 2006 first-rounder Jonathan Joseph. So when he says somebody is a can't miss player then you have to pay attention.
That's the case with running back Nate Guillory.
Guillory is originally from Houston, Texas, where he was the runner up for the Houston Touchdown Club offensive player of the year in 2006 from Kashmere High School. He would have been one of the most heavily recruited backs in the Lone Star State based alone on his film and accolades, but his grades weren't up to par and he eventually landed at Coffeyville.
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In his first year at Coffeyville, Guillory split time with a sophomore, but he still was able to earn an amazing feet – second-team All-America honors. In 10 games, Guillory rushed for 972 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. He averaged 97.2 yards a game and had a 91 touchdown run against Air Force Prep.
In that game against Air Force Prep he had touchdown runs of 17 yards, 91 yards, and 35 yards and finished the game with 223 yards rushing on just 11 carries.
Cherico said Guillory is the best college prospect on a team that's loaded with blue-chip talent and future NFL players.
"Nate played last year for us at about 175 pounds," Cherico said. "He's now up to 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds. We've clocked him at a 4.32 in the 40, but we take the average of the top four 40 times and he had a 4.37 average, so he's plenty fast enough.
"He's always been really fast, but what really make him stand out in practices this spring for us is that added strength and weight. He can't be arm tackled now. You're going to have to get a good shot on him to bring him down, and that's the hard thing for defenses to do, because he's so freaking fast."
And that means even more production for Guillory after an already amazing freshman season.
"He's a big timer," Cherico said. "He's probably the best running back that I've seen in this conference in a while."
And that alone is a mouthful because the Jayhawk Conference is always home to some of the top running backs in the junior college ranks. Cherico said Guillory reminds him a lot for Ronald McClendon when he was at Butler County C.C. in the class of 2002. McClendon was then a five-star prospect and ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 1 junior college player in American. He's now playing in the CFL after running into troubles with the NCAA at Ole Miss in 2003.
"He reminds me a lot of the McClendon kid," Cherico said. "He's got a very similar build and just like him, Nate's a threat to take it to the house on every play."
Guillory will have three years to play two seasons and schools from all over are already very interested in him.
"He's had a lot of traffic," Cherico said. "Oklahoma State's whole staff came and watched him, and they really like him a lot and want him. I know Missouri is very interested. Kansas State has also offered and they're working on getting him to commit. He's very interested in them and thinking about it, but he's just not ready to commit yet.
"Ole Miss is also very interested in him. He's going to have plenty of options to pick from. He's a special player that I truly expect big things from this fall."