Scott hoping to attract attention from UF

Rodney Scott, the highest rated college football prospect in the state, will be a senior running back in the fall at Dixie County High School. Scott has committed to Auburn University, but has indicated recently that he might lean towards University of South Florida.

Brandon Kruse/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 9:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 9:50 p.m.

CROSS CITY— Rodney Scott has committed to Auburn, and if National Signing Day were this week, he'd be a Tiger.


Rodney Scott file

WHAT: Dixie County Sr. RB
HT/WT: 5-foot-10, 195 pounds
40 TIME: 4.4 seconds
BENCH PRESS: 365 pounds
FAVORITE NFL PLAYER: Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
RIVALS RATING: No. 6 all-purpose RB nationally, No. 33 overall prospect in
Florida, 4 stars
FIRST SCHOLARSHIP OFFER: Auburn on 2008 National Signing Day
OFFER COUNT: FAU, FIU, Auburn, South Carolina, N.C. State, Purdue, USF, UCF, Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Northern Illinois, FAMU, Georgia Southern, Bethune-Cookman, Clemson ("and probably more" said coach Brent Wilkerson)

"It's still Auburn," Scott said Wednesday afternoon.

But the four-star running back from Dixie County admits he's intrigued by other potential suitors.

Not long ago Scott visited South Florida. He grew close to the coaching staff and calls Raymond James Stadium "real cool."

He also said he wants to take official visits to Mississippi and South Carolina (where coach Steve Spurrier is said to be a big fan).

And then there is this weekend.

Scott will be one of hundreds of elite prospects in attendance tonight at Florida's "Friday Night Lights", and one day later, he will be in Tallahassee for Florida State's "Seminole Showtime."

He doesn't have a scholarship offer from either school, but is hoping that changes in the next two days.

And perhaps most exciting for him is the trip to UF.

Scott spent the early part of his life in Gainesville with his mother, "a huge Gator fan", according to the 5-foot-10, 195-pound back with 4.4 40-yard dash speed. He attended Lincoln Middle School through the eighth grade before moving to Cross City to live with his father (tough luck, Eastside).

When asked if it would be tempting to accept a Florida offer if it were to come, Scott smiled and replied "kind of."

He added one thing he enjoys about the Gators and Seminoles is the rivalry they share.

"I like it when Florida and Florida State get together," Scott said. "I really started watching closely when they had that fight at midfield (in 2003).

"No matter what, both teams always talk big and it's a huge game. I like that."

Whoever signs Scott will be getting a runner who combines physicality — he said he'd rather run over a safety than juke him — with uncanny quickness.

"He's as complete a back as we've had here," said Bears' coach Brent Wilkerson, who has produced all-state running backs in Scott, Jeremy Carter, Paul O'hara, Carlo Williams and current Green Bay Packers' safety Nick Collins the last decade. "He's probably the most physical. He's not quite as fast as Carter, but has his elusiveness. He has O'hara's great vision and runs with the same passion and competitiveness Nick did."

As a junior, Scott rushed for a school-record 2,017 yards en route to being named the Florida Dairy Farmers' Class 2A state player of the year.

And he did it despite Dixie County having only two starting offensive linemen healthy all season.

"I had two (players with) ACL tears in my first nine years, and had three last year, a torn MCL, a rib (injury) and a punctured lung," Wilkerson said. "Two of the ACLs and the MCL were on the line, so that ought to tell you how good Rodney was."

He expects to be even better this year.

Seniors Klint Wood and Robert Simmons will anchor the now-healthy line, and Scott has gotten much stronger, raising his bench press from 290 pounds last summer to 365 now.

"The weight room... that's the key to the success of running backs here," Scott said.

That answer he gives with certainty. For now (and perhaps later), the other answer is Auburn.

We'll know for sure the first week in February when Scott signs a letter of intent. Until then, options, like offers, are good things to have.

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