On a night in which the nation can witness statistically the greatest running back matchup in high school football history, Glades Day fullback/linebacker Colton McKillican will have an especially unique experience.
He'll get to line up in the same backfield as Florida's all-time leading rusher and try to tackle the state's No. 2 all-time rusher — both of whom are pursuing the national high school career record.
"It's humbling, honestly, to think that two backs this great that one day could be in the NFL, and you get to be on the field with them," McKillican said.
Glades Day's Kelvin Taylor, who has 10,582 career rushing yards, and fellow senior Derrick Henry of Yulee High, who has 9,255 career rushing yards, will face off at 8 p.m. Friday on Henry's home field, north of Jacksonville. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Both are in pursuit of Sugar Land (Texas) star Ken Hall's national high school record of 11,232 yards, set in 1953, which Henry is actually closer to because the National Federation of High Schools only recognizes stats from grades 9-12. Taylor rushed for 1,584 in eighth grade.
"I think it's historic on a national level. I don't mean to overstate that, but it is," said Yulee coach Bobby Ramsay.
"There's never been two kids with this amount of productivity playing against one another, and realistically, there's a darn good chance it'll never happen again with the way the game has changed, with more passing. It's extremely unique and I think that's why it's getting so much attention."
Friday also happens to mark Taylor's 19th birthday. His father, retired Jacksonville Jaguars star running back Fred Taylor, will be in attendance among the standing-room-only crowd of 3,000-plus.
About 20 current Jaguars players, including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, are also expected to be there to support Kelvin Taylor, in addition to University of Florida coach Will Muschamp. Taylor, a UF commitment, said he will stay in North Florida through the weekend to attend his father's induction into the Jaguars' Ring of Honor on Sunday in Jacksonville.
"There's a lot of excitement on and off the field. I'm just going to soak it all up," Taylor said. Of the chance to go head-to-head against Henry and Yulee, he added, "It means a whole lot."
Henry said: "It's going to be fun to play against him," but also noted, "I know me and Kelvin Taylor have done great things on the field, but we couldn't have done them without our teammates."
Henry will orally commit to either Alabama or Tennessee in a press conference hours before Friday's game because "this week's going to be so crazy, we might as well do it this week," according to Ramsay. Henry raised the profile of this matchup even higher last Friday when he rushed for 502 yards — a new single-game state record — and six touchdowns on 45 carries in a 45-28 win against Jacksonville Jackson.
The running backs have different styles. Taylor (5 feet 11, 215 pounds) is an elusive, slashing runner, while Henry (6-3, 240) is a physical back with a unusual up-and-down running style.
ESPN.com recruiting writer and analyst Corey Long said he expects both to stand out Friday when Class 2A Glades Day (4-0) and 4A Yulee (3-1) clash.
"The viewing audience wants to see a duel," Long said. "I expect both running backs to get over the 200-yard mark, so there's a good chance we're going to see some magic."
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