With the departure of Al Mitchell, the 2012 Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year, the Foresters have a stable of running backs ready take over the reins of the rushing attack. Alec Howe, a three year letterman, has averaged 4.1 yards per carry in his career and will be relied on to lead the running backs. Joey Valdivia returns for his sophomore season after being the 2nd leading rusher for the Foresters last season. He exploded on the scene last season averaging 6.0 yards per carry and looks to take a bigger role this season. Osayi Menzies joins Howe and Valdivia as returners for Lake Forest this season as well.
|Senior Alec Howe bursting through the hole|
against Illinois College in 2012.
"This is probably the position that I am most excited about for 2013. I feel that we have a great backfield returning. These guys were a little under the radar with the success that Al had last year. It was their ability that allowed him to have some of that success. Lining these guys up in the backfield allowed us to use Al as a wide receiver at times. I am confident that all of these backs can gain us a lot of yards on the ground," commented Coach Catanzaro.
"One thing we know about this position, is that they will be well-coached by Coach Dau. His effort to improve these players is outstanding. He comes from a tougher perspective of football, and I have never had a doubt that our backs would get us the tough yards. Alec and Joey are different backs from one another. Alec has a unique ability to hit cut and make great yards. He is a bit more of a slasher. Joey on the other hand is more of a bull in a china shop. He reminds me of the great NFL backs, in that he has body parts flying all over the place on his way to the end zone. I think that one of the things that really surprised our entire coaching staff was Joey's speed this spring. He had the fastest 40 time of any player on our team, and he is 210lbs," explained Catanzaro.
The 2013 recruiting class was full of running backs for the Foresters, with 6 new faces joining the segment. Alex Pasiewicz of Zion-Benton High School earned multiple All-Conference selections in high school and finised 2012 with over 1,100 yards rushing and 11 TDs. Charlie Quinn comes to Lake Forest from Arizona after rushing for 1,153 yards and 12 TDs which earned him 1st Team All-Conference, Team MVP, and Honorable Mention All-State honors. Nick Cole is reuniting with Pop-Warner teammate Charlie Quinn at Lake Forest. In Cole’s junior season, he rushed for 1,454 yards and 12 TDs. Sam Mulford comes to Lake Forest from Edwardsville High School where he rushed for 23 TDs his senior season earning 1st Team All-Conference and Team Offensive MVP honors. Matt Hoshaw joins the Foresters from Glenbrook South High School where he averaged 5.5 yards per carry and ran for 800 yards. Corey Lustig averaged 4.94 yards per carry in his senior season at Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. All 6 incoming freshmen are expected to compete for playing time at the running back position coming into camp.
"This is easily the most talented recruiting class that we have ever had at the RB position. We were a bit low in depth after the season, and it was critical for us to bring in guys who would work hard for success. Several of these players are extremely versatile. It would not surprise me to see a formation that has four running backs on the field this year. Pasiewicz, Quinn, and Lustig showed great hands in high school in addition to running, and could find themselves split out as slot receivers during the year. Mulford and Hoshaw could see some time in our offense as fullbacks and wing backs as well," said Catanzaro.
No backfield can be completed without the fullback. The Foresters have two returning players at fullback. Senior, and three-year letterman, Shawn Henderson will help pave the way for the Forester running game this season. Harrison Seigel will join Henderson at fullback for Lake Forest and looks to build on a strong sophomore season in 2012 where he earned his 1st letter.
"Shawn is a tremendous football player. He has shown a lot of growth since moving to fullback from defensive end. I look for Shawn to garner a few more carries in 2013, and to become involved in our play action passing game as well. Harrison is a great teammate and someone who always provides comic relief to the team. I am hoping that his off-season work springboards him into the 2013 season and he is able to become a fierce fullback that we know he can. Last year was the first time that Harrison had ever lined up in the backfield. I am confident that the steep learning curve that he experienced will lessen signficantly this year," concluded Catanzaro.