7 Intangibles College Football Recruiters Always Look for in a 5-Star RB

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJanuary 28, 2013

7 Intangibles College Football Recruiters Always Look for in a 5-Star RB

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    A short time ago, we listed 10 Intangibles college recruiters look for in QB prospects. Check out that read, as it lets you in on some crucial things evaluators look for in signal callers that can't be measured or timed.

    Today, let's stay on offense and move over to the RB prospects. What are some intangible traits that a 5-star back must have? I'm here to give you seven intangibles that I and many other evaluators look for in RBs.

    If a runner wants to be an elite 5-star rock toter on my board and get noticed by others, he needs to possess the following characteristics. Remember, intangibles can't be weighed, measured or timed. A prospect has to just naturally possess these characteristics. They are what make him a special prospect.

Vision and Instincts

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    This could be the most important intangible that a back must have. In fact, it may the important necessity a back must have overall.

    For me, if I see a guy who doesn't have a natural feel and awareness for the game as a runner, that's a negative. RBs must be able to have excellent vision and the ability to see blocks, set up blocks and know where defenders are at all times.

    Running with instincts can only be noticed when studying film on a RB prospect. 


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    This is a crucial intangible. With yours truly being a former RB, I understand how important it is for a back to have this.

    RB prospects must have a competitive nature so that on every carry, they compete to not be tackled and not be stopped. If a back doesn't have this trait, chances are won't be productive and successful.

    Examples of highly competitive RBs in the 2013 class include Greg Bryant and Kelvin Taylor.

Elusiveness with the Ball

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    Nobody wants a RB who is just going to run in a straight line and accept getting tackled. Having some wiggle to your running style and ability to make moves in the open field is vital.

    In order to see this from RB prospects, you have to watch the tape. Is the back moving well in space? Does he show quickness to move around tacklers? Is he creative with the football?

Ability to Break Tackles

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    Can the RB pop a tackler and use strength and power to escape them to extend the play? That's the question you have to ask yourself when watching RB prospects.

    There are a lot of runners out there who will get stopped and pushed off their run line by arm tackles. The 5-star back runs through arm tackles and can break wrap tackles by leaky yardage defenders to continue getting upfield.

    Tackle-breaking ability is one of the top intangibles elite RBs have. 

Finishing Runs, Especially Around the Goal Line

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    Once a back is at the end of his run, does he just go down easily or does he deliver a strike to finish the run with force?

    This intangible is so important because after several hard finishes on tacklers, the back starts to impose his will on them. Defenders start to think twice about trying to tackle the RB, and they start coming at him with weaker intent.

    Once the back has this advantage, he's more free to light a defense up because they're reluctant to tackle him. This is vital around the goal line; I commonly refer to it as "adding cheese to a run."

Hands and Ability to Affect the Passing Game

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    True 5-star RB prospects are complete backs who can catch the football and be counted on to aid the passing game. When it's 3rd and 7, does the back need to be removed from the field or is he a receiving threat?

    This is an intangible that makes Ty Isaac a highly rated player on my board. Isaac has great ball skills, and Alvin Kamara can also be mentioned in this category too.

    In the NFL, you get this from runners like Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Shane Vereen and Matt Forte.

Pass Blocking and Picking Up Blitzes

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    Does a back have the ability to help pass protect and pick up the blitz? Evaluators want to know if a back can do this. Check out the video, and you'll see what I mean.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He 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 and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly 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.