Monday, September 04, 2006

Former Largo High star McCluster sparkles in debut

Versatile back gains 268 all-purpose yards in Ole Miss' 28-25 win over Memphis

Former Largo High running back Dexter McCluster had a smashing college football debut yesterday as he gained 268 yards from scrimmage in the Rebel's season-opening win vs. rival Memphis. And he did it with each form of football's 3 R's: Receiving (86 yds), Rushing (60 yds) and Returning kicks (122 yds).

But for those of us from the Largo area, or anywhere in Pinellas county for that matter, what Dexter did in his first NCAA contest was no surprise; he did the same thing nearly every week last year as he set Pinellas county records for rushing yards (2,490) and TDs (39), averaged more than 200 yds/game on the ground and led the Packers to the Class 5A regional finals & a 10-3 season. His record-shattering performance earned him the nickname Mr. 2000.

Local fans were thrilled to learn that Dexter agreed to attend nearby U. of South Florida, an up-and-coming Big East program that could use a shot in the arm of local talent. But seemingly as quickly as he committed to USF, he reneged and signed with Ole Miss. Now his friends, fans and family won't be able to drive the 25 minutes across the bridge to see the speedster make plays for the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium

And judging by his first game, they are going to miss quite a few of the same type of plays in his college career that he made every week throughout his high school one. I don't want to jump the gun and call him the next Reggie Bush, but his size (5'8", 165 lbs. compared to Bush 5'11', 200) and ability to make plays all over the field from many different formations will bring those comparisons if he continues playing this way. In other words, the only way he knows how to.

I'm starting the campaign now- Mr. 2000 for the Heisman!

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