They say it's never too early to begin evaluating and recruiting talented football players, but labeling a sophomore as a "can't miss" prospect is a bit risky. Except when you're talking about Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt running back LeSean McCoy.
"He's the most talented football player I've ever coached and will probably go down as the best running back we've ever had here," said Bishop McDevitt head coach Jeff Weachter, who has coached some very talented players over the years. "That's not a simple statement either, especially since Ricky Watters went here and he could be in the NFL Hall of Fame someday."
McCoy finished his sophomore season with 2,561 yards and 28 touchdowns, the former being a mid-state record. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound tailback did all of this in just 10 games. So what makes him so special?
"Everything," said Weachter. "The kid has everything. He's fast (4.4-second speed), he has amazingly quick feet and he runs with power. He can get to the outside and beat you with his speed or drive it up inside and power over people. He's just the right combination of everything you want in a tailback and he's only going to get better. He's barely 15 years old."
Colleges are already lining up and drooling over the young superstar, even though they can't official offer him until his junior year starts.
"When coaches come to see Jamie Thomas or Quincy Rain, you can see them just eyeing LeSean and itching to talk with him," said Weachter. "He'll probably be the most heavily recruited player I've had and I've had a few who had 40+ offers. He doesn't have any favorite just yet, but teams like Penn State, Pitt, Virginia, Maryland, Notre Dame, North Carolina and NC State are on his mind. They've all done a good job recruiting this area."
In addition to his season rushing record, McCoy also broke the mid-state single game rushing record with 406 yards on the ground in a 48-27 victory over Red Land earlier this year. He scored on runs of 72, 60, 65, 9 and 38 yards. McCoy broke Upper Dauphin running back Jim Savage's mark of 402 yards set in 2000.
The state mark is 455 yards by current Pitt junior Marcus Furman three years ago. McCoy could shatter that if his coach allows it.
"He could have had 450 or even 500 yards this season I think, but it didn't make sense in some instances," said Weachter. "He had 361 and four touchdowns on 20 carries in three quarters against Chambersburg but we were winning big so there was no reason to keep him in. 10 more carries and he probably would have passed 500 the way he was running."
So who has the early edge for the player who could be the next Kevin Jones in Pennsylvania? Some say Pitt or Notre Dame have the early edge based on recent recruiting success at McDevitt, but watch out for Virginia.
"UVA might have a great shot at him because his older brother, Loron, was going to go to UVA but things didn't work out," said Weachter. "He's not at Indiana University in Pennsylvania and will be in someone's NFL camp soon. He's 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and runs a 4.33-second 40-yard dash. He still has some great things to say about Virginia and LeSean likes the Cavs. We'll see what happens, but that's really the only connection LeSean has to any certain college.
"I'm sure he'll get offers from everyone, take his time and make the right choice. Things will start getting crazy for him as early as next year."