J.T McDonald Looking To Overcome Height Issue

J.T McDonald Looking To Overcome Height Issue

Possessed of the rep of being a tough inside runner with good speed, J.T. led the Dallas Metroplex in rushing touchdowns last fall with 17, while rushing for 1,089 yards on 190 carries. Yet his high school coach says J.T. is 5-foot-8-and-a-half. The last Tulane running back who fit this profile was Jamaican Dartez, a pretty good college runner

If you were a recruiter, would you take a durable running back weighing 200-plus pounds? One with a reputation for intense play and being a punishing runner, a 600-pound squat, a 300-plus pound bench press mark, a vertical jump of better than 32 inches, a 10.8 100 Meter time, a strong work ethic, and a 3.5 grade point average?

For most of us the decison would be easy. But last recruiting season this package in the person of Green Wave freshman running back J.T. McDonald left a lot of Texas college recruiters feeling lukewarm.

McDonald was in the mix at a lot of schools, but his height - at best he's 5-foot-9 - turned a lot of schools in other directions and the result was that J.T. was undergoing what can only be described as a under-recruited recruiting campaign.

Possessed of the rep of being a tough inside runner with good speed, J.T. led the Dallas Metroplex in rushing touchdowns last fall with 17, while rushing for 1,089 yards on 190 carries. Yet his high school coach says J.T. is 5-foot-8-and-a-half. The last Tulane running back who fit this profile was Jamaican Dartez, a pretty good college runner.

Like Dartez, McDonald is very strong. One Texas high school football observer noting that J.T. has lifted 185-pounds more than 25 times in the bench press, making him stronger in that category than many o-and-d line prospects.

Then there are the claims that McDonald has run 4.35-4.4 40's, Usually such statements by prospects and coaches are overblown, and that may be the case here. But there's good collateral that McDonald usually runs a sub-4.6 40, and he turned out pretty good short shuttle times at combines last spring. And he did run on Flower Mound's sprint relay teams. So he can move well enough for a collegiate running back.

And while McDonald carried the load last season for a young team, he made his bones back in the 2005 season, when Flower Mound ran the spread offense with quarterback Nick Stephens (Tennessee) at the controls. Running without a lead blocker that season, J.T. still gained 1,117 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.

Eventually Tulane's scramble to find running backs for the 2007 class led to Flower Mound. In 2006 the Green Wave team included four running backs - three of them seniors. One of Bob Toledo's first tasks as Tulane head coach was to correct this roster imbalance. As things turnred out, Toledo's staff signed two runing backs - both from the Dallas Metroplex. McDonald was one and the other was Bishop Lynch star Andre Agers.

McDonald, who reportedly plans to major in Pre-Med, was being courted by VMI, Army and Navy and visited Texas State. The Bobcats offered McDonald a scholarship during his visit but he made his official visit to Tulane the following week and Toledo also offered a scholarship. One wonders how hard making the decision of which school to attend was for a prospective Pre-Med major.

With the three seniors - Matt Forte, Adeboye Tuyo, and Ray Boudreaux - and sophomore Andre Anderson likely to receive the lion's share of the playing time at running back, there's no need for McDonald or Agers to see the field unless it's on special teams. A redshirt season for both is the likely outcome. But given McDonald's quickness and strength he's very likely the future at running back for the Green Wave.

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