Ken Hovet captures Korey Singleton's on-the-field style perfectly.
"Korey runs like his personality," says Hovet, Singleton's football coach at Oakland Mills High School. "Very guarded, very in control, very tight and compact."
Singleton's first striking features are the huge hands that complement his solid 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame. It's what he does with his feet after he wraps those hands around a football that's most impressive.
To say Singleton has burst onto the scene is an understatement. As the unbeaten Scorpions head into the season's second half and toward a regular-season-ending clash with undefeated Wilde Lake, they're riding these Singleton numbers: 125 carries, 1,051 yards, 15 touchdowns.
Saturday during the Scorpions' 41-0 pounding of Centennial, Singleton again was the centerpiece. He became the first Oakland Mills running back to break the 1,000-yard barrier this early in the year.
His 60-yard touchdown early in the third period, the fourth of five scores, pushed him over the top. He finished with 287 yards on 29 carries, the third straight week he has flirted with the 300-yard mark.
During those three weeks, Singleton has seen his stock rise dramatically around the county and the Baltimore metropolitan area. He's been named Player of the Week by both The Sun and The Evening Sun. Some of his highlights have popped up on local television stations. Locally, he's sharing top billing with Wilde Lake's dynamic Raphael Wall, who should break the 1,000-yard tape this week.
And yet Singleton's most telling quality may be his quiet, poker-faced reaction to all the hoopla.
This is one unexcitable guy.
"You think about personal goals, sure you think about those things," says Singleton, barely cracking a smile. "But my purpose here is to help with team goals.
"It's fun to get a lot of yards and break long runs. It's also fun to be grouped with a bunch of guys who are All-County material in my opinion and stop highly rated teams," he adds, alluding to the Scorpions' 13-7 overtime victory over defending 3A state champion Linganore last month.
Try spotting Singleton celebrating after one of his TD runs or one of his many hard hits on defense, where he plays linebacker and safety and is the captain. There's nothing to see.
"He's such a leader. He's got the perfect football attitude," said Oakland Mills offensive coordinator Dan Ricker. "He never says a word to anybody in practice. He hardly ever laughs. I can't even make the kid goof off."
Singleton has only one method of doing things -- the serious, businesslike approach.
That's the way he goes about his work in the classroom, where he has a 3.6 grade point average and has earned a National Honor Society membership.
That's the way he conditioned himself for his senior football season after undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery last spring to correct a joint problem he developed playing as a junior.
That's the way he accepted the role of team leader in August, and has defined it with such lead-by-example performances this fall.
"I knew I would be getting the ball a lot, and I was looking forward to it," says Singleton, who gained nearly 600 yards last year while quarterback and Player of the Year Archie Clark and running back Kenny Redding shared more of the limelight.
So far, Singleton is averaging 25 carries a game, while returning kicks and rarely missing a play on defense, where he's recorded 15 solo tackles, 26 assists, three sacks and two interceptions.
What's more, his coaches agree unanimously that Singleton is a better defensive player, mainly because in many ways he's still learning his running back position. He was a lineman when he played recreational ball, and didn't carry the ball until his freshman season on junior varsity.
"He's a great inside runner. He's got a nice body lean, he usually falls forward and he's developing some nice moves," Hovet says, after Singleton used a few against Centennial.
"The thing about him is I've never seen him looked fatigued," he adds.
"I'm confident I could give him the ball 50 times. And he's our best defensive player. All our defenses are designed for him to make the tackle."
Granted, Singleton benefits from an excellent offensive line. But, as offensive lineman Monte Spencer put it, "It's easy to block for Korey. Some backs will make the wrong cut, but he reads blocks really well. He always cuts the right way."
"He concentrates so much. He stays so focused," says Samuel Singleton, Korey's father and an assistant coach for the Scorpions. "He comes home, he does his homework, he doesn't go out or talk on the phone until he's finished. He's always been that way."
One reason -- possibly the reason -- Singleton maintains such excellent concentration can be traced to a time he doesn't even recall. When he was 18 months old, Korey contracted spinal meningitis, an infection that left him completely deaf in one ear, slightly deaf in the other.
"We really watched him grow closely, because we weren't sure if anything else was wrong with him," Samuel says. "He had to learn to walk and talk like that. I think that's why he's such a good student, why he picks things up so quickly.
"He does whatever we ask. He's been phenomenal this year. I'm proud of him."
Korey Singleton's numbers so far:
* Games: 5
* Carries: 125
* Yards: 1,051
* Touchdowns: 15