Running backs are alittle easier to evaluate than some other football positions, at least for me. The problem in this class is the shortage of true ball carriers. That is runners who can play at the top level. Not a knock on this class, but it is what it is.
My hands down favorite is Erick Howard(North Canton Hoover). Good size at 5'10-215. Solid speed, but does lack true 5th gear. Stronger, the more carries he gets. Tough, maybe one of the toughest in years. But I worry about his desire off the field. Andre Givens(Hubbard) really impressed me on video. More of a slasher with strength and toughness. Excellent speed. Like his burst and his separation speed. Excellent vision. Antonio Banks(Middletown)is a strong legged, compact runner, but very durable. Good vision, but needs to improve flatout burst. Good competitive speed, but needs to get faster. Durability is his strength. LeVeron Bell(Groveport) has the skills and vision. At 6'1-215 saw him high jump 6'0. Like his durability and toughness. Needs to improve burst and true breakaway speed. Needs some OL support. Devin Clodfelter(Columbus Independence)) has the raw skills, but needs finetuned. Has the burst and top speed. Needs better balance and strength. Size at 5'10-195. Spencer Ware(Princeton) has been told by some major schools to move to RB. Tough enough, but I worry about his RB skills. If anything move him to defense.
Tyson Gulley(Akron Garfield) is a nice, fast RB, but at 5'9 and with excellent quickness should move to CB on defense. Love his toughness. Shaun Jones(Dublin Coffman) has speed and quickness. Needs to improve burst. Needs to improve strength.
Kyle Slater(Anderson) runs very, very fast and is punishing. Short, but not small. Grades are his problem. Kevin Johnson(St Ignatius) gets stronger and faster each year. Played some as sophomore. Maybe a better DB. Like his vision. Toughness? Corey Douglas(Milton Union) has impressed me in camp, but was injured last year. Strong and fast. Strong upper body. Needs to overcome last year's injury. Have always liked Marcus Johnson(Coshocton) in the wing-t offense. Fast, strong and durable. May not have the vision and natural instincts of an RB. If not move to defense. Like as a SS or OLB. Toug football player. Anthony Hitchens(Lorain Clearview) passes the eyeball test(6'1-210), but I worry about his natural athleticism. Question RB skills. If he bends, and works on balance, could be a linebacker. Doren Thomas(Wintersville) has true speed and burst. More of a CB prospect. Josiah Holt(Midview) impressed me in camp. Concern about size, but he has solid speed and works hard. Needs to explode in the first three games to draw attention. Germany Woods(Lakewood St Ed's) a 5'9-195 power runner with good speed. Watched him as sophomore. Needs to put up numbers early. New system may help. Really like him. Just needs to be consistent. Strong and durable. Jake Squirek(Parma Normandy) is short period. But very strong and very competitive. Loved on video. Plays both ways on a small school team. Maybe a defender. Just a tough hard-nosed guy.
I have missed some, but there just are not that many running backs this year.