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HomeTeam Huddle: Notable vacancies in Hillsborough backfields

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Wed. May 8, 2013 | Times Staff

HomeTeam Huddle: Notable vacancies in Hillsborough backfields

Where did all the yards go? • All but one of the county’s seven 1,000-yard rushers in 2012 will graduate and move on to college programs, leaving frustrated defensive coordinators and would-be tacklers in their wake. • Now, the game-day burden falls on their old coaches to figure out a way to replicate all those yards and touchdowns. • It will be much easier for some coaches than others. • Take a look:

Chris Williams, Berkeley Prep
2012 review: The sturdy 5-foot-8 backfield heir to Guy Toph Award winner Nelson Agholor, Williams mostly flourished (1,096 yards), collecting 168 or more yards three times.
2013 outlook: At this juncture, coach Dominick Ciao says lanky rising sophomore Addison Grams and 5-8 rising junior Cameron Barsoum are serious contenders for the tailback job. George Peek, a 220-pound rising senior, could be a force at fullback.

Robert Davis, Carrollwood Day
2012 review: Before signing with Memphis in February, Davis amassed more than 2,200 yards last fall to become Hillsborough County’s all-time rushing leader (5,576 yards).
2013 outlook: Though some other contenders could emerge in August, look for rising junior speedster Elias Earley (43 carries, 216 yards in ’12) to get handoffs in bulk. Earley was a 200-meter Class A region qualifier in track last month.

Will Worth, Newsome
2012 review: A four-year starter, Worth finished his career by throwing for 1,051 yards and 11 touchdowns, rushing for 1,537 and 19 more scores and tallying 104 tackles — all team-leading totals. He capped off the season by being named the Tampa Bay Times’ Hillsborough County Player of the Year and signing with the Naval Academy.
2013 outlook: Worth’s absence will probably be least felt in the running game. Wolves coach Kenneth Hiscock anticipates the emergence of either John Hendricks or Travis Hempstead, both rising senior running backs, and rising junior quarterback Spencer Preston picking up a few yards in their Wing T offense.

Jamarlon Hamilton, Durant
2012 review: The 5-foot-10, 235-pounder was the offensive centerpiece of Durant’s first unbeaten regular season in school history, rushing for 1,340 yards and 20 touchdowns. Hamilton was a first-team all-Suncoast pick and has committed to Florida A&M.
2013 outlook: The Cougars have prepared rising junior Chris Atkins to handle some of the burden Hamilton shouldered the past two years. As a sophomore, Atkins had 145 carries (only 46 fewer than Hamilton) for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns. At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds and still bursting with muscle, Atkins has the stocky build and quick feet to churn his way for many more yards in the fall.

Martin Ruiz, Robinson
2012 review: Mildly overshadowed by zone-read dynamo Zain Gilmore, Ruiz ran for 1,284 yards on 177 carries last fall, and ultimately signed with Youngstown State.
2013 outlook: Rising juniors Michael Duclos (5-foot-9, 215 pounds) and Aivory Foster (5-9, 185) are splitting carries at this juncture, coach Shawn Taylor said. Like most wrecking balls, Duclos, who ran for 221 yards on 38 carries last season, can be essentially unstoppable downhill.

Wesley Bullock, Plant
2012 review: The 5-foot-7, 160-pound Bullock was the Panthers’ most reliable offensive threat the past two years, both running between the tackles and catching the ball out of the backfield. He totaled 1,602 yards and 13 TDs last year and later signed with Old Dominion.
2013 outlook: Rising junior Patrick Brooks will probably get the first crack at duplicating Bullock’s dual role in the Panthers’ offense. He rushed for 293 yards and three touchdowns on 7.7 yards per carry, and caught nine passes for 103 yards and two more scores. But don’t be surprised if Plant coach Robert Weiner pairs another back with Brooks.

Audible of the day
“I thought we played hard; we played some great teams at the end. We knew we were going to have a tough road. I always feel for us to be successful, we’ve got to do some things to be perfect in every phase. We had some breakdowns that we’ve just got to work on to get better.” — Ciao, on his team’s season-ending four-game skid in 2012 after a 6-0 start. (The Bucs’ final four opponents finished with a combined record of 37-12.)

Photo: Robinson's Michael Duclos

Compiled by staff writers Joel Anderson and Joey Knight.

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