Barry Sanders (Jr.)

When I was a kid, it was guaranteed that Barry Sanders (Sr.) would show up in the NFL highlight footage… every week.. without question.

You know that kid in the old neighborhood that was just too good at sports for the rest of you? Maybe he was a little bit older or maybe he was just really athletic. This is the kid that didn’t need any help when he had the ball because he was just so much better/faster than everyone. Well, that’s how Barry Sanders was to NFL defenders. Bo Jackson famously said “When I grow up, I want to run just like [Barry Sanders].” (Bo Jackson was, of course, older than Barry Sanders).

Highlight videos:

1988 College highlights (poor quality video)
NFL highlights and interviews (excellent compilation. my favorite is at 1:59 vs the Cowboys)

I could go on forever about the guy. He had the most prolific ten-year span of any NFL running back and he played for an awful team with no supporting cast. He never once taunted/celebrated despite his endless string of phenomenal touchdown runs. He set 35 NCAA records in his only season as a starter in college–a season in which he AVERAGED over 238 rushing yards per game and nearly 300 all-purpose yards per game. His only season in NCAA football is widely considered the greatest accomplishment for any single player in the history of collegiate sports (for instance, his 1988 season was the only college athlete’s campaign to rank in ESPN.com’s “End of the Century” list covering all sports). A lot of people like to speak in hyperbole regarding sports and/or athletes, but in all honesty, Barry Sanders did things with his body that most athletes simply can’t do. His ability to start/stop was so refined that he could fake out entire defenses with no blockers in front of him. He is also credited with “inventing” the spin move that nearly all running backs use today.

Anyway, I said all that to say this: Barry Sanders Jr. is coming up through the ranks in highschool football, and he seems to be a chip off the old block. Short stature with a low center of gravity and extremely muscular legs. He also seems to have the same reactionary style that his father did. Don’t worry about blocking schemes and all that, just run. React to the defense. He certainly has the same knack for making defenders look like idiots.

Amazing touchdown run (freshman) – I count 6 guys who fall while trying to tackle him
3 TD runs in state final (freshman)
Another sweet touchdown run (sophomore) – in this game, Barry Jr. scored three times in the first 13 minutes
67 yard punt return for touchdown (sophomore)
An interview with Barry Jr.

This kid might be good enough to get me to actually watch NCAA football someday.



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