February 11, 2007

Sun Devils offer local running back Deboskie

One of the top overall prospects in Arizona's 2008 football class is Chandler Hamilton star running back Covaughn Deboskie. As a junior, Deboskie carried the ball 150 times for 1,304 yards and 21 touchdowns. Navy reportedly was the first program to offer Deboskie a scholarship and a more noteworthy scholarship offer is apparently now on its way, from Arizona State.

On Saturday, Deboskie followed up on his excellent Long Beach Nike Combine performance several weeks ago with another stellar showing at the Phoenix Nike Combine, held on the campus of Phoenix College.

Deboskie, who measures in at 5-foot-11.5 and weighed 187 pounds, had the fastest 40-yard dash time at Long Beach, 4.51 seconds, and he had an eye-popping 37 inch vertical jump. He bettered both marks on Saturday, with a 4.48 40-yard dash, and a 37.5 inch vertical.

"It shows how you rank among your state and other states," Deboskie said of the combine experience. "It shows competition. This is how competition should be. Showing how good you can be against other people, how your times go against other people. It's just a great way to interact and figure out how you rank amongst the country."

Few returning players in the Valley have as much visibility as Deboskie, a star running back on arguably the most prominent high school team in the Phoenix-area. He was a first-team all-area honoree and all-state honorable mention selection for a team that won a state 5A Division-I championship under first-year coach Steve Belles.

Deboskie transferred to the program from Tucson Salpointe after his freshmen season, and spent his first year playing for John Wrenn, who left the school to coach running backs at ASU last year.

"Coach Wrenn was a hard nosed coach," Deboskie said on Saturday. "He was very tough. Coach Belles came in, he was kind of laid back. He's a different decade coach, he's newer but it seems like to me they're both the same coach. They both want to win championships, that's how I feel.

"The offense changed but the defense stayed the same. We implemented the Wing-T. That was very successful. We had me with over 1,000 yards and we had one with close to 1,000 yards. Over 2,200 (rushing) yards as a team, so we were making it happen."

Many college programs took note, and Deboskie said he's already receiving interest from ASU, Cal, UCLA, Stanford, Notre Dame, Texas, Oregon, Oregon State and Navy, among others.

Navy has extended a scholarship offer. A more significant written offer appears to be on the way, and Deboskie was informed on Saturday by ASU defensive line coach Grady Stretz that he would receive an offer from the school in the mail the following week.

Deboskie said that Texas has been his favorite program to watch play on television since he was nine years old, but he also enjoys seeing Cal, Florida and other programs as well.

"It doesn't matter to me where I go but my dad told me in the South and the Big East all [the running backs] do is just running, running, running and in the Pac-10 they go easy on the running and (have) more versatile backs," Deboskie said. "I think I'd be better on the versatile because I can catch and run. So whatever is best for me, that's why I'm just going to weigh my options out."

There could be a lot of options to choose from if Deboskie continues to impress on the camp and combine circuit this spring and summer, and then has another strong season for the Huskies in the fall.

Deboskie is clearly a terrific athlete. He has the second-fastest 100 meter mark of any underclassmen in the state who is returning to the track in 2007, at 10.83 seconds, and his 21.7 200 meters time is also among the top five.

What's more, Deboskie actually got stronger as the season wore on last year, averaging 107 yards per game in his final 10 games, including 148 yards in the state title game versus Mesa Mountain View.

Equally impressive as Deboskie's on-field exploits, he reportedly has a 4.16 grade-point average, clearly making him one of the top scholar-athletes in the state.

Sun Devil coach Dennis Erickson stated on Wednesday at the press conference announcing ASU's 2007 signing class that his goal would be to lock down the state's top talent for years to come, and with the development of a reported scholarship offer, it appears certain that Deboskie is one prospect they've targeted as a high priority.

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