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Projecting the Future: Davante Bourque


Ratings: Rivals 4* No. 14 athlete No. 4 player in state No. 196 overall, Scout 3* No. 29 running back, ESPN 3* No. 49 athlete, 247 4* No. 8 all-purpose back No. 14 player in the state. Chose UT over LSU, Texas A&M, Miami, Arizona State, Arkansas, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Southern Miss.

STRENGTHS: Big, versatile athlete has a bunch of back-up options if the running back deal doesn't work out in Knoxville. He was being recruited by a ton of big-name programs to play linebacker, safety, wide receiver along with running back. He wants to play his high school position, and he is big, fast and surprisingly elusive for a guy his size. He actually has the cutting ability that makes a lot of coaches like him as a receiver, but it could also benefit him as a running back. For those who worry about his size, remember Da'Rick Rogers was UT's most effective runner as a freshman on the end-around, and he's virtually the same size as Bourque.

NEEDS WORK: Well, it's hard to say this needs work when he can't work on it, but he's a bit tall to play running back. Bourque is likely a shade under 6-3, but he is built like a WR or safety. He is going to have to get lower to the ground and hold the ball high and tight. If he runs like Matt Forte or Eric Dickerson, all is well, but he has to really work on the way he carries. He looks too straight-up to me on film. Also, the kid needs to work on his loyalty. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but when homestate LSU came calling, he jumped ship. The Vols stole him, and now he is still taking visits. Watch out for Miami here, though it looks like he'll be UT bound. Grades were a concern, though there were rumors floating around today that he made his standardized test score and will qualify. His vision and open-field running needs work, too.

CREDENTIALS: The three-time all-state honoree posted absolutely incredible numbers as a junior, earning all-state when he finished his junior season with 221 carries for 2,326 yards and 40 touchdowns. He says he can bench 280-pounds and squat 390. Also was first-team all-state as a sophomore, was district 4-3A MVP the past two seasons. Was a member of the ESPN RISE team as a junior. Though I can't find final stats, on Oct. 28, he had 154 carries for more than 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns and was also putting up ridiculous numbers on defense. He was named The Times-Picayune's list of "Blue Chip" players.

OPTIMISTIC CEILING: Well, Rivals says Bourque reminds them of Matt Forte. Take that and call it a day? Thought so. I don't know if I'd go that far, but the kid is immensely talented and very big. He can catch the ball, he can deliver a blow, he has good speed and excellent change-of-direction. I don't want to get my hopes up because he's not a prototypical running back, but, man, he just sounds like he could have elite potential. I'll hold my breath. It's about time we hit another home run recruiting running backs. Hope he sticks.