College Football Recruiting 2013: Ranking the Top 10 Big Running Backs
Running backs come in all shapes and sizes, but lets face it: we all love the speed back. You know, that back that can take it to the house at anytime, burst upfield and create big plays in chunks for his offense.
Well, not all speed backs fit an offense's style as the bell-cow; big backs may be what schools prefer. In this class there are some interesting "big back" prospects and for this read, I'm going to give you the Top 10 big backs of the 2013 class.
Here are 10 running bulls that will be bulldozing defenders on a screen near you soon.
10. Travis Custis
Custis is a Georgia native and already stands a powerful 6'0" and weighs close to 210 pounds. He's thickly built and his frame translates to his style of play.
Custis runs with excellent toughness, power and deceptive agility. He won't wow you with speed, but flashes some burst and foot quickness to elude a defender or two.
Committed to Georgia Tech, he will fit in well in Paul Johnson's option offense, as Custis can use his power and run strength to close out games.
9. Jordan Wilkins
Wilkins is a 6'2", 205-pound back with a long frame, but you can see he'll easily get to 220 pounds and more in college. From Tennessee, he's a very decisive runner that quickly makes up his mind, sticks and plants and goes after the yards he sees he can get.
He lacks a big time second gear to pull away from defenders, but he sees things well, gets out of traffic quickly and has some quickness to escape to the edges of the box. Wilkins runs well behind his pads and can push piles upon multiple contact.
Vanderbilt, Michigan, Tennessee, Auburn and Ole Miss are his top five, per Scout.com.
8. Jamel James
From Texas, James is a 5'11", 220-pounder that is a flat out tank on the field. He fires out of his stance and start, attacks the line of scrimmage hard and seeks out contact.
James flashes some jump-cut ability behind the line of scrimmage, but he's at his best in a straight-line coming downhill. He'll explode upon contact and plays even stronger at the point of attack.
An Arkansas de-commit, look for the Hogs or West Virginia to land him, per 247Sports.com.
7. DeVeon Smith
From Ohio, Smith goes 5'11", 210 pounds on the hoof and is a load on the field. However, he does flash some speed and wiggle at times.
Smith is a decisive runner that will get up in a run alley and look to come out with the intent on getting to the third level. He's at his best in a straight line where his thick frame, good power and running style are most effective.
He's committed to Michigan.
6. Corey Clement
Clement is from New Jersey and has some surprising athleticism and quickness for a big back. He stands 5'11" and weighs 205 pounds, yet has quick feet and good elusiveness in traffic.
He comes downhill, takes the ball and inserts himself in holes with power. Yet, Clement has some wiggle and makes a defender miss every few carries.
He runs with a low pad level and good durability as his total skill set fits in extremely well with Paul Chryst's scheme at Pitt.
5. LaVon Coleman
At 5'11", 210 pounds, Coleman looks to be a good fit as the power runner in a two-back attack in college. He hails from California and is headed to Washington.
His speed is average, yet he can push piles with leg strength, take pops with the ball, escape contact and keep matriculating upfield.
He also shows an ability to be a solid pass protector on blitz pick ups and is a reliable check down option in the passing game.
4. Greg Bryant
Bryant is a 5'10", 200-pounder that is a thickly built, strong and powerful while running even bigger than his listed size.
He attacks the line of scrimmage, firing out downhill and run hard carry after carry.
Committed to Oklahoma, the Florida native has three-down potential, showing good foot quickness, a solid second gear and some wiggle in the open field.
3. Derrick Henry
You can make an easy argument that Henry shouldn't be on list even though he's easily the biggest back on it at 6'3", 241 pounds.
His frame says he's a big back, put pop on the film and you see a totally different running style than his size would suggest. Henry is a great athlete, has excellent speed, wiggle and a good burst.
In fact, he doesn't run to his size enough for me, as he tries to elude defenders a bit too much for a big runner. However, he's a special talent and look for him to end up at either Georgia, Alabama or Tennessee.
2. Ty Isaac
Now Isaac may be the best all-around runner in the country, but remember, this list is based on "big back" ability, which is why he isn't No.1.
At 6'3" and close to 220 pounds, Isaac has big back size and solid strength, but he's also like Henry in the sense of his running style is different than his size leads you to believe.
Isaac is a speed guy, as he has quick feet, elusiveness, a great burst, vision, excellent hands and good instincts.
He's been very productive in his career and will take his talents to USC next year.
1. Derrick Green
Green is the best pure "big back" in the country for 2013. He is from Virginia and stands 6'0" and almost 225 pounds.
He can come out of his stance well, shows deceptive movement and wiggle for a big bodied runner as well as good vision and has improved on his foot quickness. Green flashes some elusiveness in tight space and better speed than originally thought.
Yet, his power and run strength are what got him where he is and will take him further in college. He's strong and has pile pushing ability.
His top schools according to Scout.com are: Tennessee, Michigan, Oregon, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Alabama, Miami, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.