Before bruising running back Ron Dayne was setting the all-time NCAA FBS rushing record, he was dominating competition around South Jersey, racking up 3,876 yards at Overbrook (Pine Hill, N.J.).
The 5-foot-10 Dayne weighed an astonishing 270 pounds as a senior in 1996.
While not quite as heavy as Dayne, West Deptford (Westville, N.J.)
running back Gerald Towns-Owens
is bowling over defenders with similar ease.
The 6-1, 240-pound Towns-Owens made a splash as a sophomore for West Deptford, one of South Jersey's top small school programs. He rushed for 1,563 yards and 26 touchdowns, helping lead West Deptford to a South Jersey Group II section title.
According to head coach Clyde Folsom, Towns-Owens is extremely advanced physically, describing him as a "very impressive young man with a major college body as a 15-year-old."
Folsom said that both Rutgers and Boston College have made offers, with several others showing strong interest.
The 2012 season could be a golden year for running backs in New Jersey. Towns-Owens, Corey Clement
, and Jamuari Bogan
, all heavily recruited players, are each likely to top 2,000 yards.
Bogan, a U.S. Air Force Sophomore All-American, could approach 2,500 this year as a junior. He has already offers from Temple, Toledo, and UMass.
One of the nation's top 2013 running backs, Clement is currently favoring Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Florida State.