Top Offensive 2014 Recruits Who Can Play Running Back and Wide Receiver
Having versatile skill-position players on offense is critical, especially those who can play running back and wide receiver. The ability to line up on the perimeter and make an impact in the passing game, while also factoring in the running game from the backfield is a fantastic trait.
Players who resemble Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin and St. Louis Rams receiver Tavon Austin are rare on the recruiting trail. However, the 2014 class has several offensive recruits who have the ability to play running back or receiver on any given play.
Alabama has a commitment from a powerful running back who can split out wide. Ohio State has a player in its recruiting class who can do many things on offense, while Miami is getting an electric running back who will produce more in the passing game in Coral Gables than he has in high school.
Curtis Samuel, RB
Curtis Samuel, who is from New York, is one of the fastest and quickest players in the country. He is a 6'0", 185-pound running back who is light on his feet, elusive and catches the ball well out of the backfield.
Do not be surprised to see Samuel spend time at receiver in college. He can motion to the perimeter, release quickly off the line and make plays after the catch.
He is expected to sign with Ohio State, according to 247Sports.
Michiah Quick, WR/ATH
With his sizzling speed, Michiah Quick is a player who must touch the ball as often as possible. He is 6'0" and 170 pounds, so do not expect him to line up at running back and run with power inside the box.
However, Quick can be used on sweeps, options and pitches as a running back to get him on the edges. He has great elusiveness, vision and finds the end zone often with the ball.
He could be a similar player to Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas. Keep an eye on USC.
Parris Campbell, WR/ATH
Ohio State will fall in love with Parris Campbell, as the Ohio native will immediately make the Buckeyes a faster team when he arrives in 2014.
Campbell, who is 6'0" and 184 pounds, can slash through alleys as a running back, thanks to a great burst. The speedster can run by linebackers, elude safeties and skate to the end zone from the backfield.
However, he also is a deep threat as a receiver, as safeties must stay on top of him. Campbell's speed will open up more opportunities for his teammates in Columbus.
Racean Thomas, RB
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn's spread offense will be a great fit for Racean Thomas. With the ability to run with good strength and power at 5'11" and 196 pounds, Thomas surprises defenses with his excellent receiving ability.
He likely won't spend much time lined up on the perimeter, but when Malzahn checks to empty sets on offense, Thomas' hands, speed and quickness will keep him on the field.
He will not need a reserve receiver to replace him in passing situations.
Sony Michel, RB
Although he only caught 18 passes as a junior, Sony Michel flashes the potential to be big threat as a receiver. The 5'11", 205-pounder has great quickness, which helps him release off the line and detach from coverage.
Michel has solid ball skills, and his running back talent shines after the catch. He is a running back who could play several snaps a game at receiver and still make a big impact.
Jalen Hurd, RB
Jalen Hurd is a 6'3", 220-pound running back who actually plays smaller than his listed size. Hurd is not a power-runner, as he prefers to use his great speed to race by defenders.
As a junior, Hurd failed to catch a pass, but rushed for 3,357 yards and 43 touchdowns. However, he did catch 31 passes as a junior, so Hurd has been productive in the passing game in prior seasons.
With his size, speed and solid ball skills, do not be shocked to see Tennessee split Hurd out wide on a frequent basis.
Joseph Yearby, RB
Miami head coach Al Golden would be wise to let Joseph Yearby play in the slot at times in Coral Gables. Yearby, who is 5'9" and 190 pounds, has freakish quickness and an excellent burst with the ball.
He is a player who is great in space, so getting Yearby the football in any manner should be a main objective of the Hurricanes offense starting in 2014.
Yearby has sizzling elusiveness, vision and instincts as a runner. Although he has only seven career receptions in high school, he should produce better numbers in the passing game for the 'Canes.
Joe Mixon, RB
Looking at Joe Mixon on the hoof, one could assume the 6'2", 195-pound running back is actually a receiver. Mixon has a long frame, while also possessing the movement skills of an offensive player who does his damage on the perimeter.
However, he is a running back at heart.
But make no mistake, Mixon is dangerous in the passing game. He has the ability to snatch balls out of the air with his mitts, surge upfield and make big plays after the catch.
Mixon can work on the perimeter, as he has the strength to combat press coverage and the straight-line speed to run by cornerbacks. He plays a little bit like former Arizona State running back/receiver J.R. Redmond.
Bo Scarbrough, RB/WR
Bo Scarbrough, who is committed to Alabama, can run with great strength and power as a running back. He can slam through alleys with force, break tackles and shoot upfield like a freight train.
However, Scarbrough also has the athleticism to split out wide, release quickly off the line and catch the football like a natural receiver. He has average separation quickness, but shows good ball skills and the ability to convert his running back talent into run-after-catch ability.
If Scarbrough can't make an early impact at running back for 'Bama, look for him to become a permanent receiver.
Speedy Noil, WR/ATH
Speedy Noil can do whatever he wants as an offensive player. He is one of the fastest players in the country, and he just needs the football in his hands and teammates to get out of his way.
Noil, who is 5'10.5" and 176 pounds, plays dual-threat quarterback for Edna Carr High School in New Orleans. However, his focus in college will be at receiver, as Noil's athleticism, elusiveness and explosiveness translate better to that position.
Noil can also play running back, as he has no issues jump-cutting to the edges, can explode past linebackers and displays great vision in the open field.