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Florida RB down to three
By Kevin Ledford
Photo via Scout.Com


The state of Florida is known for producing some of the top playmakers in the country every year and the 2011 cycle is no different. One of the top running backs in the state is Dee Hart out of Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida. At 5’9” and 185, Hart makes plays out of the backfield and in the return game and ThaRinger recently caught up with this talented prospect to talk recruiting and discuss his style of play.

“Basically, a lot of schools when they recruit me, they recruit me for kick returner, punt returner, things like that but I also play running back. I’m more of an outside runner but I can run up the middle. I can do it all. I’ll put my head down and run through some people, so I can do a little bit of both.”

Hart plans on taking all 5 of his official visits and described what he’s looking for in a school and when he plans on committing.

“I’m going to take all 5 of my official visits, but I should already have my mind made up to where I want to go. Academics is always first and foremost, but other than that I just want to play football. I mean I don’t want to go and sit. I know it’s like a big thing trying to play your freshman year as a true freshman but I know I can do it, so I don’t want to go in and sit. I want to go in and play. I was thinking I was going to commit anytime between now and next season, but I’m not really in a rush so I’m just taking my time right now.”

Dee has narrowed his list down to 3 schools and explains what it is he likes about each of them.

“Florida, Alabama and Auburn, but not in any specific order.

What I like about Florida, I mean the SEC, 2 out of the last 3 years they won the championship. They have bowl appearances every year also. They had a 100% graduation rate last year and I like how they recruit. They recruit backs like me, outside runners/speed guys and they let you play both ways, kick returner/punt returner, that’s what I like.

About Alabama, I mean they don’t limit you. They let you play as true freshmen like they did Trent Richardson and they also let you play both ways like kick returner, punt returner, things like that.

And with Auburn, I like their offensive style with Coach Malzahn and how he runs everything. I would fit in perfect there. I really like the coaching staff at Auburn also. I just got a good feeling there, so that was good.”

Hart is a very talented back. He’s a smooth athlete with good speed and acceleration and he changes direction as good as anybody. He is also much more physical than his size would indicate. He definitely doesn’t shy away from contact. But perhaps his best attribute is his vision and he admits that when asked what his strengths are and what he would like to work on to continue his development.

“I think my strengths are I can see the whole field. I can read a defense real well, watch a lot of film and I have speed so I can get around the outside or I can get through holes. I know how to be patient and wait on things like for blocks to happen and stuff like that. I think one of my weaknesses are just trying to get those extra few yards and taking that contact. I know as a running back you shouldn’t do that too many times, just try to preserve yourself and also just depending on my O-line to be there. I’m pretty good with reading the blocks so sometimes I kind of get ahead of them. Sometimes I see what they don’t see and I try to make a play on it, so that’s what I’m going to try and work on this spring.”

Great vision is arguably the most important quality a running back can have, and when you combine his vision with his speed and cutting ability, it is clear that Dee has the potential to be special player at the next level. It’s a rare combination. Some backs have blazing speed but lack vision and fail to see holes open up. They run into their blockers or “tackle themselves.” Others have great vision but may lack the burst to hit the hole fast enough or may lack the speed to pull away. But Hart fuses those talents together perfectly. He has the vision to see the creases, the cutting ability and burst to hit it and the speed to break away once he does. I asked Dee if he thought that was a natural gift or if it was something he acquired through film study. He also explained his strategy on the field and how he likes to use defenders’ strengths against them.

“Honestly, I believe it’s a natural gift, but also it’s just repetition and watching film. Like sometimes when I’m watching film, I key on the key defenders and the ones that like to make plays and if they’re aggressive, I like to run one way and cut back across them and if they’re aggressive they’re going to go for anything. And then like the great player, if he’s fundamentally sound I just take it to him every time and I keep bringing it to him, bringing it to him and then after a while he’ll get aggressive and then he’ll start going for anything. So I like to break the defenders down, especially in the secondary and the linebackers.”

As for the immediate future, Hart has a 7 on 7 tournament this weekend.

“I’ve got a 7-on-7 all-star game coming up this Saturday and Sunday in Tampa, Florida at USF college with a couple guys from my team, Fort Meade, a lot of different schools around the area and we’ll be going against teams from Miami, Carolina, Georgia, teams like that. So that’s what I’m doing right now.”

As you can see, Dee Hart is a hard working guy with a special skill-set and has the potential to do great things in his college career.

Dee is a 5.8/4 star player, the 3rd rated RB in Florida and #31 overall in the state according to TR’s current rankings.