September 13, 2009

2011 Jersey back is exciting talent

Smaller running backs and all-purpose skill position players have, in recent years, challenged the traditional assumption that prospects of a smaller stature can't be big contributors in the college ranks and beyond.

Damiere Byrd, a 5-foot-9, 158-pound junior from Sicklerville, New Jersey, has run the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, and while he will certainly need to continue to bulk up, he has a lot of the things that coaches are looking for in a youngster.

"We actually played in our first game (Friday) night," Byrd explained. "It went good. We won in overtime, 20-17. The weather was bad so we basically just ran the ball. They lined me up in the backfield a couple of times I think I caught three or four balls, too.

"I've improved blocking-wise since last year because our coaches really focused us on that. I think as a receiver I've gotten better at getting yards after the catch."

More than a week ago Byrd attended Michigan's season opener. How did that go?

"Yeah, I was there for their opening game," he confirmed. "It went well. I liked it up there. It's a high energy place. I got to speak with Rich Rodriguez and I really like him. He's a cool guy and he's passionate about his job."

Byrd hopes to visit some of the other schools he has heard from.

"I think in a couple of weeks I might go up to Penn State," he said. "Just at some point, I'm not exactly sure when. Just whenever I can get off from our schedule."

Byrd has received interest from Oregon, UCLA, Maryland, Iowa, Florida, Tennessee and others.

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