Howard Holton Jr. and Jerome LaRue Jr. are a dyamic duo in the backfield | Youth1

Howard Holton Jr. and Jerome LaRue Jr. are a dyamic duo in the backfield

Whenever you see a bigger running back and a smaller running back in the same backfield, you can’t help to call the duo “Thunder and Lightning”. I would go a different route here, but I’m not. Central Penn Crusaders running backs Larue (Thunder) and Holton (Lightning) fit right under that category. I haven’t seen every youth running back in the state, but I must believe that these two are among the best duos in the Keystone State.

My first live evaluations of both prospects came in the form of a non-padded camp environment. I first saw Holton last year at the All-State Preps camp. His footwork was either the best or nearly the best out of all the middle school athletes at the camp. When Holton came to the same camp earlier this year, several things stood out. His ability to cut on a dime and make people miss in short spaces was evident during the run-game 1v1’s vs. linebackers. Holton’s ability to accelerate to top-speed in a short amount of time is also impressive. 

(No. 5 Jerome LaRue Jr.)

The first time that I saw LaRue in person was during the All-State Preps middle school camp earlier this year. In this type of camp setting, you get to see more of a player’s footwork and ability to be a receiver out of the backfield. After going over camp video, his footwork and quickness were impressive. During the 1v1 passing period, he caught plenty of passes. 

Fast-forward several months later and both Holton and Larue have been terrorizing opposing defenses over the past three weeks. Larue has scored a boatload of touchdowns in the first few games and is making it look very easy. That’s a testament to the work he put in during the off-season. Larue has a smooth running-style and has a nice stride once he breaks out into the open. He’s one of the more physical runners in the CFA (located in Central Pennsylvania) and breaks a lot of tackles. In the game I saw him play against Harrisburg, he scored by catching a long touchdown pass and scored on a short run a few yards out from the goal-line.  Larue brings that same mentality to the defensive side of the football from his linebacker position. He made a few tackles during the game and played with aggression and physicality. He has that long speed and can be seen on his highlights scoring long touchdown runs. 

Holton, the smaller back of the two, is a different type of runner than LaRue but just as effective. He also makes it look easy out on the field due to his speed, quick cutting ability, vision, and overall IQ for the game. His quickness out of the block and elusiveness are two of several things that impress me about Holton as a football player. Holton is a proven pass-catcher out of the backfield and can hurt opposing defenses in that way too. Don’t let the speed talk fool you, he’s more than able to run in-between the tackles as well and get those tough yards. Holton also plays cornerback for Central Penn. He’s a versatile player that can line up at wide receiver and make plays too. Holton runs sharp patterns and has great hands. 

Stay tuned to Youth1 for more live evaluations on youth football players.  


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