November 16, 2009

Two-team race for fast-rising Louisiana tailback

Alfred Blue "didn't get a chance" to watch CBS' broadcast of Ole Miss' 42-17 win over Tennessee this past Saturday.

The three-star running back from Boutte (Hahnville), La., heard all about it though, and he saw Dexter McCluster's stat line.

Given that Ole Miss is telling Blue that it wants him to come to Oxford next season and compete for the job that will soon be vacated by McCluster, a senior who is increasing his stock with the NFL on a weekly basis, McCluster's 282-yard, four-touchdown performance was an attention-grabber.

Blue, a 6-foot-2, 203-pounder, said Monday afternoon he is basically down to two schools. Despite offers from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida International, Texas A&M, Tulane and Tulsa, Blue will almost certainly sign with either LSU or Ole Miss.

He'll be in Oxford Saturday afternoon when his two favorites square off at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

"They're the same," said Blue, who was in Oxford during the summer for one of the Rebels' camps. "(Ole Miss) sees me coming in there and challenging to start and run the Wildcat because they're losing Dexter McCluster. (LSU) wants me to come in and start because they're losing Charles Scott.

"The outcome doesn't matter. I'm just looking for a good game between two good teams."

Ole Miss, Blue said, is selling him on Houston Nutt's reputation for developing running backs. Specifically, Blue said, Nutt has told him he reminds the Rebels' second-year coach of former All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist Darren McFadden, who Nutt coached during his decade-long tenure at Arkansas.

"I could see my game resembling his," Blue said. "I can throw it. I can run it. I can catch it. He basically does the same thing. We're both tall and fast."

Still, there's "a lot" of in-state pressure on Blue to sign with the home-state Tigers, though he added that "it wouldn't be difficult" to leave Louisiana for college. There's some local pressure to sign with Ole Miss, too. Specifically, Blue is good friends with former Hahnville defensive back Denzell Lockett and current Hahnville teammate Jontrelle Lockett, the younger brothers of Ole Miss junior defensive end Kentrell Lockett.

"They have said they treat him really good up there," Blue said, adding that Lockett's presence on the Rebels' roster "won't be a factor."

Blue, who has more than 1,500 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns along with three receiving touchdowns entering Friday night's second-round playoff game against (Lake Charles) Barbe, said he won't announce a decision until National Signing Day in February.

Blue is ranked by as the No. 19 prospect in Louisiana and the No. 58 running back prospect nationally.

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