Aggieyell.com Publisher Jeff Tarpley compiles an annual list of the top players in Texas at each position and the 2013 list is underway. The latest position: running back.
Keith Ford, Cy-Ranch
(5'11", 195/ 140 carries for 915 yds., 15 TD; Oklahoma commit)
Dontre Wilson, DeSoto
(5'10", 176/ 127 carries for 767 yds and 15 TDs; 12 catches for 246 yards and 5 TDs)
James White, Pearland Dawson
(6', 190/ 263 carries for 1,840 yds. and 23 TDs; 12 catches for 148 yards and 1 TD; Texas A&M commit)
Adam Taylor, Katy
(6'2", 200/ 160 carries for 1,553 yds. and 16 TDs in 2010; missed most of last season due to injury)
Johnny Jefferson Killeen Shoemaker
(5'10", 195/ 164 carries for 812 yds. and 9 TDs; Texas A&M commit)
Jamel James, Cinco Ranch
(5'11", 218/ 182 carries for 1,011 yds. and 16 TDs; Arkansas commit)
Denzell Evans, Bellaire
(6', 205/ 105 carries for 814 yds., 11 TDs)
Corion Webster, Atlanta
(5'11, 185/ 220 carries for 1,865 yds. and 24 TDs)
Joseph Glenn, Giddings
(5'9", 185/ 226 carries for 1,514 yds. and 24 TDs; 16 catches for 185 yds. and 1 TD; 2 kickoffs returned for scores)
Marquis Warford, San Antonio Madison
(5'8", 165/ 280 carries for 2,162 yds. and 22 TDs; 30 catches for 548 yds. and 4 TDs)
The 2011 and 2012 classes were at running back by a pair of five star prospects in Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Gray with a third, Trey Williams, close behind last year. Gray and Brown offered somewhat contrasting styles but they led their teams to state championships by being bellcows, carrying the ball 20 to 25 times a game. In contrast, there's no such five star in the class of 2013 and there's also not a proven runner 20 to 25 carry a game runner either.
The closest thing to a bellcow in this class is Ford. He's had 369 carries the past two years. He does offer good size and has really quick feet. He's very adept at making people miss in the backfield when they get penetration. He also got a key ingredient that most good runners have and that's balance. He's capable to taking shots to the legs that would knock a lot of people down and keep on going.
Wilson is atypical of the running backs that populate the class of 2013: he's not a big guy but he is an explosive, big play runner with great vision and top end speed. He's also really slippery and one of the best pass catching backs in the state. However, he's never been an every down back for DeSoto --although, with the graduation of Devin Rushing, that is expected to change in the 2012 season.
White is a thick, nasty, physical runner who enjoys dishing out punishment and plays bigger than his listed 190 pounds. He just doesn't go down easily. In fact, he seeks out contact when he could easily outmaneuver or outrun someone and enjoys giving out stiff arms. He also catches the ball with his hands and is very adept at reading and setting up blocks. In addition, unlike a lot of backs in the class, he elevated his game in 2011.
Taylor is your typical Katy back…a big, physical presence who averaged nearly ten yards a carry as a sophomore before suffering from a knee injury early last season. Despite the fact that he's expected to miss spring ball, he's already got 13 offers from programs like Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma State, and Wisconsin.
Jefferson is smooth and deceptively fast. He's got quick hips and feet and can change directions on a dime. He can read blocks and has very good balance. Thus, he's capable of big plays even when he takes hits in the backfield or everything seems bottled up at the line of scrimmage.
James is much like White and Taylor in that he has the size to be a physical back. Unlike White and Taylor, he doesn't always use his size to full advantage. Also, he's trying to rebound from a disappointing junior campaign where gained less yardage than he did the year before. Evans is another big back who's looking to rebound from injury as he gained 814 yards with a 7.8 yard average per carry before breaking his wrist and missing the final two regular season games.
Finally, Webster may be the most intriguing prospect in the 2013 class. He plays for an Atlanta program that hasn't received a lot of acclaim in recent years but he rushed for over eight yards a carry and helped them to their first postseason appearance in five years. He's a big play back with 15 runs of 50 yards or more in 2011 and offers a different dimension in comparison to prospects like James, White, Taylor, and Evans.