Monday, October 26, 2009

Does the next Marcus Lattimore attend his school? Say hello to Duncan Byrnes' Shakeem Wharton

Right now, Shakeem Wharton is Marcus Lattimore’s backup in South Carolina’s most powerful prep program, but next year, he’ll be the main ball carrier. And, according to Byrnes coach Chris Miller, he’ll be something to see.

“He’s going to be as good as Marcus,” Miller said earlier this afternoon.

As good as Marcus, meaning perhaps the best running back in the nation, which many consider Lattimore to be.

“Shakeem jumped into Marcus’ hip pocket,” Miller said, referring to how Wharton looks up to Lattimore as a mentor. “He works so hard at everything, and usually with the young guys, you have to keep on ‘em. Not him.”

Wharton is the cousin of Carolina Panthers offensive guard Travelle Wharton. He’s 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, with 4.65 speed in the 40-yard dash.

“He’s already got good field vision, and all of it’s coming for him,” said Miller.

Because Byrnes is often ahead by large margins in the second half, Wharton gets a lot of reps and could end the season with over 500 rushing yards.

“He has a chance to be a special player,” Miller said.

That, on a team loaded with special players, is saying a lot.

--Stan Olson

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