The Greater Houston area is loaded with talented running backs this season like Michael Goodson, Remus Nembhard, Keith Toston and Nathan Guillory. Dobie's Sam Proctor and J.J. Mullins will headline next year's crop.
But the best back in Houston could be a sophomore at Lamar Consolidated with a great name and the flash to back it up.
Jaquizz Rodgers (5-foot-7, 165 pounds) is so talented that he has become a local legend in the Houston suburb after rushing for nearly 2,000 yards and 31 touchdowns as a sophomore. What will he do for an encore?
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"He's caused quite a buzz around here. and Jacquizz is a Barry Sanders-type running back," Lamar offensive coordinator Mike Zierlein said. "He can out run you with amazing moves or stick his helmet in your chest and blow you up, just ask
Lamar's head coach agrees with his offensive coordinator.
"A running back like him comes along once every five to 10 years," Lamar coach Lydell Wilson said. "He's got five good guys blocking for him, but he is so talented. He's a natural running back."
The emergence of Rodgers has played a major role in the resurgence of the Mustang program, which is 10-0 entering the playoffs. Prior to the season, Lamar was 3-27 over the past three years.
"When I was in eighth grade, we went 0-10," Rodgers said. "I was ready to make a difference back then. I'm just happy I've been able to make a difference."
Rodgers is guided by some formidable father-figures. He is raised by his uncles Rodney Williams and Philadelphia Eagle safety Michael Lewis.
"His uncles have played a big part in his development," Zierlein said. "They know what it takes to be successful in this game and they don't let him get big-headed. They have instilled a work ethic like I've never seen. They will practice and then run a couple miles after practice. It's amazing."
While he is two years away from the recruiting process, Rodgers is already getting mail and mentions Texas and Oklahoma State as schools he's interested in.
"Texas is the best program in Texas and Oklahoma State is building something," Wilson said. "It's so early but the interest me. I've heard all the comparisons to Barry Sanders, who went to Oklahoma State, but I don't pay much attention to it."
While it appears to be Rodgers' team, Lamar Consolidated is actually led by his brother James Rodgers.
"James is our leader and when we need a play, he's the guy that makes it,"
Wilson said. "He's not the biggest guy, but he can play corner or wide-out. He's made over 140 tackles this season and is tremendously physical."
James Rodgers(5-foot-7, 155 pounds), a junior, will be a district MVP candidate as a result of his performance.
Lamar Consolidated's senior class is led Chase Jenkins, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound defensive back/ fullback, and Jonathan Lister a 6-foot-0 rangy wide-out.
"Jenkins is very versatile and does some of the dirty work for Jacquizz as a lead blocker," Wilson said. "Lister keeps defenses honest because of his ability to stretch the field. If he get's a good test score schools will be all over him."
The Mustangs' biggest Division I prospect is junior offensive lineman Jarvis Jones (6-6, 260-pounds), who is a can't-miss prep that will garner attention from every major program. Jones has a Reginald Youngblood-body, limited body fat and rangy.
"Jarvis is already getting mail from Notre Dame, Florida and Miami," Wilson said. "He's going to be big-time. He has a seven-foot wingspan and defensive lineman can't get close to him."
Junior defensive end Lavar Brown (6-3, 240-pounds) is another major Division I prospect on the defensive side of the ball.
"Brown moved back to Houston after a few years in California," Wilson said.
"He's a big kid, with a big motor and he's only 16-years-old."