January 6, 2011

Sanders Jr. talks Saban visit

Oklahoma City (OK) Heritage Hall running back Barry Sanders has grabbed the early attention of almost every college football coach coach and fan not only because of his famous family name but also because of his stunning performance on the field. This week, Sanders, the son of the former NFL star of the same name, earned some attention from Alabama head coach Nick Saban who traveled to his high school.

"Coach Saban came to my school this week to talk to some of my coaches and I saw for quick moment passing by in the halls," Sanders said. "For a running back, there's a lot to like about Alabama. Coach Saban likes to run the ball, that's obvious. You see that in every game and they also like to use multiple back sets. That's something I think is favorable for a running back. Coach Saban has shown he likes to play his backs young, if they are capable."

That willingness to play running backs as freshmen is appealing to the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Sanders, who fits a similar mold to Alabama's last two freshman phenom backs, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.

"I know Ingram and Trent are both really physical guys who can also be pretty elusive too. That's really the style I try to play with. When you have the whole package like that, it makes you difficult to stop. Those guys are clearly extremely well-conditioned and they work very hard in the offseason. That's a must when you play the way they play."

Sanders has yet to trim down his list of schools but said his opinion has already begun to form on a number of schools.

"I'm not coming out and naming favorites but I am definitely beginning to filter the recruiting communication a little bit at this point. I know what I like and what I don't like. I haven't visited a lot of these schools yet so I'm basing everything on my relationships with the coaches and my overall impressions of the programs so far. I plan to take some visits this spring. Right now I know for sure I'm going to Alabama's junior day next month and Florida State's junior day later this month."

After missing the second half of his junior season due to injury, Sanders said he plans on spending the offseason recovering and preparing for a senior season in which he hopes to help his teammates defend their state championship.

"I was so happy to see my team do well and win the state title. I hate that I wasn't able to finish the year because of my injury but thankfully almost all our starters are coming back again next year so I'm really looking forward to the chance to play a whole season with those guys this fall.

"Probably my biggest area of focus during this offseason will be my upper body strength. I think it will really help my ability to break tackles and to pass block as well and I'm planning to hit the weight room hard and get stronger all around."

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