- Jc Shurburtt
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Now that running back Andrew Buie has established himself as a legitimate Division I prospect for the Class of 2011, a tradition continues at Trinity Christian High School.
The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder rushed for 1,901 yards last season and had 32 total touchdowns as his team reached the Class 1A championship. His stats and impressive film have drawn the attention of multiple college coaching staffs. Ole Miss, South Carolina, Michigan, North Carolina and Iowa State all have extended early scholarship offers, while Florida and others are recruiting him.
However, this is nothing new for the folks at Trinity. In the Class of 2008, the school produced what could be two of the top running backs in the ACC next season in Boston College's Montel Harris and Clemson's Jamie Harper.
Harris played behind Harper at Trinity and was the No. 143-ranked running back prospect, according to ESPN Recruiting. He made an immediate impact for Boston College, rushing for 900 yards as a true freshman and 1,457 yards as a sophomore, while earning second-team All-ACC honors.
Harper, an Under Armour All-American, was the nation's No. 3 running back prospect and has been behind James Davis (Cleveland Browns) and C.J. Spiller the past two years, but will challenge for the Tigers' starting job next year.
"This is definitely a school that has produced its share of running backs," Buie said. "The players before me worked hard to get it going, so there's always going to be that pedestal that I put them on."
This string of elite running back prospects isn't just a recent thing. Trinity Christian offensive coordinator Guss Scott, a former Florida and NFL safety, was also an all-state running back during his senior year (2000) before signing with the Gators.
"We are a running school and our success has been based on running the football," Scott said. "The guys we have now feel blessed just to be a part of it. Some of the players in this community grow up wanting to run the ball here."
Scott said that the three standout backs to come through Trinity recently are different types of players.
"All three run it different ways," Scott said. "Andrew is more shifty. He is better in space and more versatile. [Harper] was more of a power back and Montel certainly was a very patient runner."
Buie is not close to making a decision about college and he is planning to make an unofficial visit to Florida when the Gators have their next junior day. There could also be a summer trip that includes a stop at North Carolina.
"I want to find a school where I can fit in as far as the style of play goes," he said. "I also want to go someplace I can play, someplace I can make an immediate impact."
Scott believes that a versatile player like Buie is of high value, given the versatile nature of offensive schemes in college football.
"With the way the game is going as far as the spread offenses go, it's good for a player not to get locked into only being able to do just one thing," he said. "It's good to not just say he's a single-back guy or a spread-type guy. You need to be able to do it all."
JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.