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June 11, 2013
Lemoore (Calif.) running back Richard Doctor doesn't mind being called a bookworm. In fact, the 5-foot-8, 185-pound prospect has been recruited by some of the finest schools in the country. Already being recruited by the Ivy League, Doctor has drawn some interest from Fresno State. While this relationship is still in the beginning stages, Doctor is hoping it leads to an offer from the Bulldogs.
"I talked a little bit to Coach [Pete] Germano," Doctor said. "My dad sent him my film and was in contact with him. They actually came down and visited the school. So, as for me and about another few players, we got to talk to Coach Germano and he gave us camp information and everything like that. He liked what he saw of my film."
To say that Doctor is smart would be an understatement. Doctor is currently being recruited by schools that are almost as old as the United States itself.
"Yeah, I've been mostly with Ivy League schools," Doctor said of the schools recruiting him the hardest. "I've been recruited by most of the Ivy League schools, like Harvard, Yale, and Cornell pretty heavily. With Cornell, that's probably been one of my closest schools with whom I've had contact."
Doctor isn't like most recruits. Education will be crucial in his decision on where to play his college football.
"I definitely want to go to a prestigious school," Doctor said. "I want a school with a really good academic program. I mean, that'll probably be my choice over football programs just because of where I'll land after college. So, I want to go to a school with a really good engineering program, actually.
"I'm a math guy," Doctor continued. "I mean, I've always had a little love for math ever since I was little. I guess money kind of motivated that. So, I've been good with numbers. Right now I'm leaning more toward mechanical engineering, but maybe throughout my senior year I might switch or I might change my mind. But I'm pretty stuck with the engineering field, just not too sure why type yet."
Doctor's love of math might explain what he thinks are his biggest strengths when it comes to running the ball.
"I'd probably have to say my vision," Doctor said of his strengths. "And I have really good acceleration through the hole."
But Doctor does recognizes the reservations some schools may have about him.
"I'd say because of my size," Doctor said of why he hasn't gotten more offers from FBS schools. "Because I'm about five-foot-eight, 183-to-185-pounds. I'm expected to run a 4.4s or 4.5s and I'm not that 4.4s or 4.5s guy, but I can definitely run the ball. Once I get in the open field, I'm probably not going to get caught. So that whole couple, maybe tenth of a second won't make that much of a difference."
Doctor has used these critiques as motivation for him to work harder and get faster. While he might lack a little speed, Doctor more than makes up for it in strength and a willingness to work hard.
"250-pounds was what I pushed in November, actually," Doctor said of his bench press. "I had a wrist injury after that so I haven't been able to bench since then. But that was 250-pounds at the beginning of the season, so it's going to be more by senior year."
Doctor isn't opposed to putting on some mass to become a more punishing style of running back.
"I mean, I've actually gained some weight since the season. I was about 175-pounds during playing season and I'm almost at 185-pounds now. And I've only gotten faster. So, I mean, I'm gaining mass and some speed at the same time. I ran one [40-yard dash] last week with my coaches and they had it at a 4.6s on the stopwatch, but at the [Nike Football] SPARQ Combine I ran a 4.8s. I ran 4.15s in the shuttle. So, I mean, my lateral quickness and footwork is actually pretty good."
SPARQ Combine isn't the only stop for Doctor, however. Doctor has set himself with a summer's worth of camps to prepare himself for the next level.
"Football activity-wise, we just had a passing league and we've kinda started a passing league circuit," Doctor said of his preparations. "This summer I had the Fresno State camp on the 9th [of June], San Jose State camp on the 15th of June, Stanford on the 20th, and then that's enough for June. Then July, I go to Cal Poly [San Luis Obispo] on the 7th and Colorado State, I'm trying to see if I can fly out there on the 27th [of July]."
In addition to all the other planning Doctor has done, he has given some thought to the type of offense he would like to join.
"I've always been up for the option of moving to slot just for the purpose of whatever our team needs," Doctor said. "But we have some pretty solid receiver so there's no need to put me out there. I mean, I can catch the ball, as well, so I don't mind moving to slot, but I'm pretty suck with the running back form right now. Through I-formation that has been working, and we run a little bit of single back, as well, and a little bit of split. So, I'm pretty well moving around. I do take good care of myself. So, kinda anywhere on the offense where I can function and get the ball in my hands.
"I'm sort of a through-the-tackle running back," Doctor continued. "I can run outside and get in the open where I need to be, but, I mean, I have nothing against pounding the ball out. I may be a little small, but I can take the hits and stay on my feet. I'm usually good with the I-formation, a Pro-style, a little Pistol and Spread; anything where I can get the ball through the middle and have a place to run."
Doctor has drawn some interest from non-Ivies and he's hoping that more schools take notice of him.
"I talked to Coach [Jimmy] Beal at NAU, Northern Arizona [University], Doctor said. I went down there for their Junior Day and he was pretty interested with me. He said I was pretty good on the running back radar. So I've been trying to keep contact with him and Coach [Travis] Baker, the defensive line coach at NAU. Cal Poly [San Luis Obispo] came down during the spring recruiting period and they also showed a little bit of interest. And I sent them film and that's why I'm going to be attending their camp this summer."
Doctor's main priority is finding a balance between the academic and football offerings of the schools recruiting him. He realizes this might mean playing against competition at the lower levels, but that won't deter him from making an academics-first institution.
"As for the playing level, I know there's a little bit of difference, but there's the education at the Ivy Leagues and Cal Poly," Doctor said. "They're not an Ivy League school, but they have the number three engineering program in the country. It all comes down to what fits best for both football and school."
Doctor isn't afraid to make schools notice him, either.
"Coach German, I talked to him on the phone about two-to-three weeks ago," Doctor said. "He just touched based with me and let me know about their whole running back situation. I mean, [Robbie] Rouse is leaving, they have a few guys that transferred, they have some young guys still on the team, and they let me know that they're not completely sure they're going to offer a running back. It doesn't stop me from trying and seeing how things go at [their] camp."
No, it certainly doesn't. The Bulldogs might just be glad that he did. All indications point toward Doctor becoming a much improved back by National Signing Day. If the amount of work Doctor gives to his education is our litmus test for how he will improve in his senior year, then Doctor may open up more eyes than just Fresno State's.
Stay tuned to FSBulldogs.com for more updates on the Fresno State 2014 recruiting class.
Josh Webb is a special contributor to FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @BulldogsTwist.
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