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"You can knock the Ivies," says a pro scout, "but that is a lot of yards even in dummy scrimmage."
If Greg Pruitt were a senior—and draftable—he would probably have the scouts jumping through as many hoops as Marinaro does, just on the basis of what he has done in six games against some rugged opposition. What has he done? Oh, well, just 1,113 yards at a feeble 12.1 yards per carry. His present average per game is 185.5 yards, and the computer allows that if he maintains it he will finish the year with—ye gods—2,040 yards!
"And he isn't just running wide stuff," says a scout, who with all the other talent hunters these days prefers to remain anonymous. "He hits inside. You'd want him bigger, but he's put together solid, has fantastic acceleration and he blocks like a bowling ball."
For all of the excitement created by Pruitt and Marinaro, there are scads of other runners displaying fine pro potential. A panel of NFC and AFC scouts was asked last week to rate the top five rushers. First, in terms of draftables and then in terms of potentials, regardless of their graduating class.
The senior list came out as follows:
First, Ed Marinaro, and closely behind Bobby Moore, Texas' Jim Bertelsen, Penn State's Lydell Mitchell and Johnny Musso. The overall list differed slightly: Marinaro, Moore, Purdue's Otis Armstrong, a junior, Pruitt and Arizona State's Woodrow Green—who is, alas, a sophomore. "Obviously, we lean toward size," said a scout, "but how can you leave out Pruitt?"
Among the more prominent seniors mentioned by the scouts were Nebraska's Jeff Kinney, Michigan's Billy Taylor, Penn State's Franco Harris, Boston College's Bill Thomas, Dayton's Gary Kosins and the usual super unknown, Calvin Harrell of Arkansas State.
"It's always a guess," said a scout. " Dallas found Duane Thomas and Baltimore took a chance on Norm Bulaich, who had always been hurt. Maybe Calvin Harrell is this crop's real surprise. He is big and fast, he runs and blocks. They say Kinney is slow, but he is a competitor and a winner. Taylor is squat and not all that fast but he finds daylight. Thomas has been hurt but he is a good one. Everybody used to like Franco Harris better than Lydell Mitchell. But now they like Mitchell better, probably on his stats."
Worry. Worry. As the scouts question the talent as well as themselves, here are some of their compressed comments on those rushers deemed the most likely to become the future Duane Thomases and Norm Bulaiches:
Ed Marinaro (6'2", 210):