October 13, 2010
Hart is Rodriguez's top-ranked Florida recruit
Phil Ziglar's Boone High School team was on the other end of a "butt-kicking" last week in Orlando when Dr. Phillips bested the Braves 45-0. The star of that effort? Michigan's most recent commitment, four-star tailback Demetrius Hart
Hart went off against Boone, accumulating 267 all-purpose yards, including 145 yards rushing on 18 carries (8.1 yards per rush). He had touchdown runs of four and 74 yards and scored on 43- and 55-yard passes that you can see here.
"The amazing thing is his feet never stop moving," Ziglar said. "He's always in a position where you can't get a clean shot on him and you truly have to gang-tackle him because he's like a magician in tight quarters. You think you have him pinned in and then he's sliding through the tiniest crack and is off.
"I saw Denard Robinson a few years ago and I've seen some of the plays he's made this year and Demetrius Hart reminds me very much of Robinson because every time he touches the ball he's a threat to do something special with it."
Hart made a superb grab on his second touchdown reception against Boone and his hands are one of his most underrated qualities.
"I think his hands are unbelievable and maybe the best I've seen from a running back," FlaVarsity.com publisher Michael Langston said.
"Dee is a huge pickup for Michigan because he's a kid you can use is so many different ways, with equal effectiveness. He can play the slot, he can line up in the backfield on the read option next to Robinson. He's a lot like [sophomore tailback] Vincent Smith but more athletic, stronger, more dynamic
"You have to hold your breath every time he touches the football because he can take it to the house. He's not as fast as Denard, but you're talking about one of the fastest players in college football, and Dee doesn't need to be a 4.3 guy because he is so elusive, so strong, so balanced that he has his own unique way of taking it to the house."
The one knock on Hart seems to be his lack of imposing size - he's only 5-8, 190 pounds as listed in his Rivals.com profile - but Ziglar would argue with anyone that says he's not big enough to excel on the next level.
"I have a sophomore tailback, A.J. Turman, that is 6-1, 200 pounds and is already drawing interest from programs like Alabama, and if you matched their film up, you wouldn't say Hart's not physical enough," Ziglar said. "Is he a big back? No. Is he a big enough back? Absolutely.
"And put him in a backfield with Denard Robinson and you'll see something special. I don't know if there is any player in the country that is dynamic as Robinson but Hart's pretty close and if you key on Robinson I guarantee you this kid will hurt you. And if you key on Demetrius Hart and you give Robinson even more room to maneuver
I don't know how you game plan for that."
In five games this fall, Hart has 714 yards rushing on 88 carries (8.1-yard average) and 252 yards receiving on 16 receptions (15.7-yard average) with 16 total touchdowns.
The four-star is ranked the No. 37 recruit nationally and the No. 10 player in the state of Florida, one-upping Robinson in one respect - he is the highest-ranked Florida recruit Rich Rodriguez has ever landed (see chart below).
"I've been the head coach for 21 years and Demetrius Hart is one of the finest players coming out of Orlando in a long, long time," Ziglar said. "Over my career, I'd put him right up there with Stacey Mack, who many around these parts believe is the best back this area has ever had."
One of the things that makes Hart great is his balance. He reminds some of another Hart, Mike Hart, in that he doesn't go down easily. Not because he's got 220 pounds on him but because you cannot knock him off his feet with one blow.
"His pad level is almost always lower than the defender and on top of that he runs with a low center of gravity," Langston said. "He has such incredible balance too. He's not strong as an ox but if you don't square him up, if you hit him from the side, he just sort of shakes it off because he's so strong on his feet.
"You have to wrap him up to tackle him. You can't expect to lay a hit on him and think that's going to bring him down."
As many superlatives as Ziglar or Langston could toss Hart's way, however, perhaps the most important one comes from the rival coach.
"In all my contact with him outside of football, he has always carried himself the way I'd want one of my kids to act," Ziglar said. "He's respectful, a happy kid that does things the right way. I can't say enough good things about him. When I think about Michigan's reputation he's going to fit in there seamlessly."
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|Demetrius Hart||No. 10||No. 37||2011|
|Demar Dorsey||No. 27||No. 162||2010|
|Denard Robinson||No. 35||No. 188||2009|
|Ricky Barnum||No. 37||--||2008|
|Marvin Robinson||No. 37||--||2010|
|Richard Ash||No. 49||--||2010|
|Vlad Emilien||No. 60||--||2009|
|Vincent Smith||No. 62||--||2009|
|Mike Jones||No. 70||--||2009|
|Justin Feagin||No. 71||--||2008|
|Brandin Hawthorne||No. 73||--||2009|
|Martavious Odoms||No. 77||--||2008|
|Tony Posada||No. 78||--||2011|
|Kevin Sousa||No. 82||--||2011|
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