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Norcross' Huitt ready to be go-to ground guy

Photo by Christine Troyke

Photo by Christine Troyke

In his first season as a starter last year, Norcross’ Kendrix Huitt demonstrated he could be a good high school running back.

As he and the Blue Devils kick off the 2010 season Friday night at Dacula, he hopes to start proving he can become a complete high school running back.

THE HUITT FILE

Who: Kendrix Huitt

Sport: Football

School: Norcross

Class: Senior

Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”

Favorite sports team: Atlanta Falcons

Dream job: NFL player

What is your ringtone?: I usually keep it on silent or vibrate

Noteworthy:

• Led the Blue Devils (and was eighth among all Gwinnett running backs) with 732 yards and four TDs on 122 carries, averaging six yards per carry

• Has maxed out at 450 pounds in the squat lift, 300 in the bench press and 325 in the power clean

• Does not have any college scholarship offers yet, but has attracted interest from several schools, including Middle Tennessee State and Jacksonville State (Ala.)

“Ever since the end of last season, I’ve known it was my time to shine,” the 5-foot-9, 190-pound senior said. “I know everything (the majority of the running load) is on me this year.”

Huitt will be asked to take a much larger role this season after sharing the starter’s reps with then senior Delino DeShields Jr. a year ago.

And the two proved to be a potent pair. They combined to post 1,453 yards and 12 TDs, with Huitt running for 732 of those yards and four TDs.

The task now is for him to be able to handle the full load of a starting running back.

To Norcross coach Keith Maloof, that means more than just running the ball, though from what he’s seen of Huitt, he believes his senior can handle the extra responsibility.

“He’s worked hard all offseason and summer,” Maloof said of Huitt. “We’re hoping he can take the (extra) carries and be durable for all four quarters. We already know he’s a physical running back and he’s got explosive speed.

“The biggest thing with him is, we need him to take (better) care of the football, be a good blocker — just be a total running back. And you’re also going to have to be able to catch (passes) out of the backfield. You’ve got to be able to do all that and be as diverse as you can.”

Huitt has taken steps to fill that diverse role.

To help with his power running and blocking, he has added 10 pounds of muscle to his frame.

And he is heeding the lessons learned from past Blue Devils running backs like DeShields and current Maryland redshirt freshman D.J. Adams about working to become a better receiver out of the backfield in the hopes of snagging more than the four passes he caught for 28 yards last year.

“He was a great player,” Huitt said of DeShields. “And guys like D.J. Adams have done it. So, (being a weapon as a receiver) can really help the team.

“My hands, they haven’t always been that good. I still drop passes every now and then, but I feel like my hands have gotten better over time. I feel like I have, over time, become a better runner, (and) a better (pass) catcher.”

By developing more diverse skills, Huitt should begin to catch the eyes of college programs who could use the kind of running back with his talents.

So far, only a few programs like Middle Tennessee State and Jacksonville State (Ala.) have shown interest.

However, Maloof is confident offers will come if Huitt continues to work hard like he has and continues to improve.

“He’s getting some looks, but I know a lot of (college) people sometimes get too caught up on height,” Maloof said of Huitt’s 5-9 stature. “If he has some good games and good highlight tapes, he’ll get what he needs. But that’s the least of his worries right now. He needs to show he’s ready to lead this team to the playoffs, and I think he will.”

Helping the Blue Devils back to the postseason after missing it for the first time since 2006 is, in fact, first and foremost on his mind, just like it is for his Norcross teammates.

“First, we just want to take (the season) game by game,” Huitt said. “Hopefully, we can finish undefeated. We’d like to do that, but our big goal is to make the playoffs and (win) the Region (7-AAAAA) championship.”