One of the biggest recruiting anomalies I can think of is the lack of premier running backs in the state of Alabama. The Yellow Hammer State is a Top 10 producing talent state for number of players that sign D1 scholarships every year, a Top 15 state for producing NFL players, and home of two of the nation's most successful college programs who like running the ball.
Yet it's been since Carnell Williams played at Etowah High School in 1999 that Alabama has produced a truly elite running back that has gone on to star at the next level. In fact only four running backs in the last 10 years have been rated 4-Stars or better on Scout (see table below). It's not as if there have been some glaring "Mark Ingram was only a 3-star" misses either. The state has just been devoid of talent at running back for a decade.
If Ostin McPherson (5'7/160) of St. Paul's Episcopal in Mobile keeps progressing the way he's started, it won't be another decade before the state produces another Cadillac Williams, but it might be close.
See McPherson is only an 8th grader at St. Paul's.
An 8th grader who rushed for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in his first varsity start against a good UMS-Wright team who is 8-4 on the season and still alive in the playoffs.
A question I'm often asked is when do I begin scouting players. My only answer has always been, as soon as they show up. McPherson is one of only two or three 8th graders who have ever shown up on my radar, Kelvin Taylor and Gerald Riggs Jr. being the others.
St. Paul's Episcopal isn't a no-name team playing in a no-name league. Alabama's starting quarterback A.J. McCarron is played there, and the alumni list also includes Chevis Jackson (LSU) and Mark Barron (Alabama) among others. UMS-Wright is no pushover either with alum that include Alabama players Preston Dial and Brandon Gibson.
The bottom line, 200 yards by an 8th grader in this game was more than impressive; it was eye popping.
McPherson has good quickness as one might expect at his size, but he runs with surprising fearlessness and power between the tackles. If he were a senior in the Class of 2012, I would recommend him as a player colleges should take a second look at for a possible late scholarship offer. If he can continue to develop his size, strength and speed through his high school career, he's going to be the focus of the most highly contested running back recruitment since Williams.
While he's a long way from having to make those decision as a member of the Class of 2016, there's plenty of time to sit back and appreciate watching an 8th grader shred a varsity team. In recruiting the phrase a man amongst boys is often used, in this case, the youngest man won.
#2 RB Ostin McPherson '11 vs UMS-Wright
Running backs rated 4-Stars or better on Scout.com
2003 - Le'Ron McClain would have been listed as the No. 1 Fullback had that category existed on Scout then.
2004 - Max Martin signed with Michigan and had an indistinguishable career, ditto for Markus Manson and Florida.
2005 - None
2006 - None
2007 - None
2008 - None
2009 - None
2010 - Corey Grant signed with Alabama, transferred to Auburn
2011 - None
2012 - T.J. Yeldon - Auburn Commitment, pending