Make no mistake with the past successes of Jeremiah Masoli, Dennis Dixon, Kellen Clemens and Joey Harrington: the present and future of the Ducks is all about the running game. Today we’ll profile one of the most highly recruited running backs of the 2010 high school class.
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Temple High School (Temple, TX)
Pronounced “Lake Sea-Strunk,” this fast, explosive back will make headlines in future years for the Oregon Ducks. At just 5’10, 190 pounds, Seastrunk won’t blow you away with his size, but he’ll blow you away with his pure ability to make big plays out of the backfield.
Ranked 40th overall in the class of 2010 by ESPN, Seastrunk was rated the 3rd best running back prospect of his class by Rivals.com. He chose to join the Oregon Ducks after considering Auburn, LSU, Memphis, USC and Cal.
The Ducks already have star running back LaMichael James (sophomore) – who also came out of Texas – and backup running backs Kenjon Barner (sophomore) and Remene Alston, Jr. (senior) ahead of Seastrunk on the depth chart, but should any one or combination of those players get injured, Seastrunk appears poised to step in and do big things for the offensive attack.
Lache fits into the Oregon running style perfectly: built for speed and quickness. And he’s eerily similar to LaMichael James, who broke the Pac-10’s freshman single-season rushing record last year by running for 1,546 yards. The previous record holder? Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers, another back from Texas, who set the mark in 2008.
Seastrunk’s ability to start-stop, change direction and fit through small holes will serve him extremely well while running in Oregon’s run-first spread offense. And he’s already shown he can stay healthy and be consistent: in his 4-year high school career, Lache ran for over 4,000 yards, accumulating 52 touchdowns.
With day-to-day injuries currently suffered to James, Barner and Alston, Seastrunk and fellow freshman back Dontae Williams have seen a lot of practice action with the first-team offense.
“Both of those guys are being thrown into the fire along with the other freshman running backs,” coach Chip Kelly said. “They’re gonna get a lot of reps right now, and when they get their reps they’ve got to take advantage of it.” (Statesman Journal)
LaMichael James figures to be the Ducks’ starting running back for the next three years after playing so well last season, and the combination of him and Kenjon Barner gives the Ducks one of the nation’s best 1-2 running back punches.
But that doesn’t mean you should forget his name until next year. James is suspended for the September 4 game against New Mexico, and you can be sure that Seastrunk will get some carries and an opportunity to move up in the depth chart. Keep your eyes open and pay attention when he enters the game.
As for Lache becoming a return man? Don’t bet on it. Barner set the Oregon school record for return yards in a single season last year.
In any case, Lache Seastrunk figures to be a premiere option down the road for the Oregon Ducks. And Chip Kelly will certainly find a way to get him onto the field as soon as possible to take advantage of his athleticism and potential to be a huge homerun threat.