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PA’s running backs in 2012 recruiting class have big-time potential

Written by: on Sunday, May 9th, 2010. Follow Josh Funk on Twitter.


It really isn’t too early to start thinking about Pennsylvania’s recruiting class of 2012 already, even though we’re still months away from the kickoff of the 2010 football season and the first high school football all-star games are approaching.

But looking over the 30 juniors in the 2012 class in the recruiting database that have generated interest from at least one Division-1 program, one thing immediately jumps off my master list: Pennsylvania could have three prospects at running back that could rank very, very highly come this time next year.

There are three names to keep in the back of your minds this fall: Desmon Peoples (St. Joseph’s Prep), Drew Harris (Downingtown East), and Rushel Shell (Hopewell).

Granted, too much can happen between now and May 2011. There are too many variables that still remain, but if all goes according to plan, Peoples, Harris, and Shell could make the Keystone State a very proud one.

Each member of the trio has already put up some notable numbers and impressive statistics.

Shell, for starters, has already run for more than 4,000 career yards through his sophomore season. The only other WPIAL running back to do that was Fort Cherry’s Tom Vernillo, and he finished with 7,646 career rushing yards, the standard in the WPIAL and fifth all-time in state history. Shell ran for 2,739 yards and 35 touchdowns last season, helping Hopewell reach its first WPIAL “AAA” title game since 2002. Shell will surely be a Division-1 prospect when all is said and done. He’s already received interest from Penn State and Pitt, and more schools are sure to follow.

Harris made quite the burst onto the scene last year – he tallied 2,010 yards on 306 carries and scored 30 touchdowns in helping Downingtown East to a 10-win season last year. Harris hasn’t received any offers yet, according to his profile on, but he has generated a lot of interest from schools like Florida, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Southern California and Virginia Tech.

Peoples showed his game-breaking ability right from the onset of his sophomore season. His 40-yard game-winning touchdown reception in Wheeling against McKeesport Area capped a frantic 4th quarter comeback and a 27-26 victory. Peoples ran for 1,050 yards (avg. 8.6 yards per carry) and added close to 300 yards receiving. He was also a threat on special teams, too. Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Penn State, UCLA, Southern California and West Virginia are some of the schools interested in St. Joe’s Prep’s prized athlete.

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2 Responses to “PA’s running backs in 2012 recruiting class have big-time potential”

  1. Steve Dougherty says:

    I was at the Pitt Camp on Friday 6/18 and kept asking who is that kid. It happened to be my first chance to see Desmon Peoples in person. Can’t wait to see him on the field for the next 2 years. He is something special.

  2. Mike jones says:

    Desmon Peoples is the best RB/Athlete in the 2012 class in the state of Pa. I have had the headache of coaching against this kid. He is flat out talented and explosive on offense and defense. I have seen the others and they are good but I have not seen an athlete who’s been this explosive in pa. since Shady McCoy or Curtis Brinkley.
    Good luck to all of the young men and I know that they will represent Pa. well on a national level!!