With many college teams running the spread offense, quickness and speed have become the primary requirements for running back prospects. However, not every runner has that kind of style.
Rough and rugged running backs are not extinct, evidenced by several prospects in the 2014 class. These types of runners have the strength and power to physically punish defenses.
A recruit in North Carolina has explosive strength at contact, while a running back in New Orleans has the power to carry defenders. Plus, a running back from Texas runs with so much power that he may be converted to another position.
Originally from Las Vegas, Nathan Starks is a 4-star athlete who can play running back or outside linebacker/strong safety on defense. When he has the ball in his hands, Starks displays a powerful running style to attack defenses.
At 5'11" and 200 pounds, he runs with a physical demeanor that also has quickness. Starks is great when he can square his shoulders to the line of scrimmage to generate power through alleys. He challenges defenders to finish runs, plus he can push piles.
Notre Dame, USC and Oklahoma are his top schools, per 247Sports.
Dallas Rivers has great balance, evidenced by his ability to absorb a hit while staying on his feet to continue gaining yards. At 6'0" and 200 pounds, his power is among the best in the country at the running back position.
Rivers has no issues running inside, as his strength allows him to challenge defenders before getting yards after contact. He can lower his shoulder to deliver a blow to oncoming tacklers, plus Rivers doesn't require a lead-blocker on every carry.
The 3-star recruit is committed to Vanderbilt.
Texas is getting a complete running back in 4-star prospect Donald Catalon. The Texan not only has good speed and vision, but he can also run with impressive power.
Catalon, who is 5'11" and 190 pounds, can take a carry before stabbing the interior of a defense with force. He dishes out some punishment at contact, plus he doesn't appear to enjoy being brought down by a single defender.
A 4-star prospect from California, Nick Wilson should develop into one of the most physical running backs in the Pac-12.
He is committed to Arizona, where head coach Rich Rodriguez will put his power to good use.
At 5'11" and 196 pounds, Wilson has the strength to break tackles on the second and third levels. He also loves to run inside, where he wears out linebackers for four quarters. Wilson easily runs through arm-tackles, plus he does a good job of finishing each run.
Although he is just a 3-star prospect now, Kamryn Pettway is going to be productive for Auburn.
Pettway, who is nearly 6'0" and more than 220 pounds, attacks the line of scrimmage with downhill force. He launches himself through alleys, which helps him generate impressive power. Pettway also has the size and durability to consistently absorb hits as a team's primary interior runner.
Samaje Perine runs with so much power that he could get moved to fullback at Oklahoma. The Texas native has great size at 5'11" and 233 pounds.
Perine isn't an explosive athlete, but he does appear to have adequate build-up speed. He gets stronger as the game wears on, plus he runs with a rugged demeanor. Perine can push piles near the goal line or carry defenders inside to get first downs in short-yardage situations.
The 4-star recruit's strength can also be used to clear holes for other running backs as a lead-blocker.
Donte Thomas-Williams is a 4-star running back who seems to play angry. He can dictate his own running lanes due to being a powerful runner with the ball.
At 6'0" and 220 pounds, he has great strength to deliver punishment to defenders. The North Carolina native also can push piles, as he has the ability to carry multiple defenders downfield after contact. Thomas-Williams has some wiggle to his running style, but it's his strength and power that will help him make an impact early in his career.
Florida State and West Virginia are his top schools, says 247Sports.
At nearly 6'0" and 215 pounds, Royce Freeman is a strong running back who belongs on this list. The California native has the strength and toughness to consistently do damage between the tackles.
Freeman has solid speed, yet his power is his best asset. When he's decisive with the ball, the 4-star runner can put his foot in the ground and surge upfield with impressive force. He is not afraid to lower his shoulder to challenge a defender, plus he gets a ton of yards after contact.
Freeman is committed to Oregon.
Perhaps the best player in the country, Leonard Fournette is a running back who doesn't have many glaring weaknesses. The New Orleans native is 6'1", while possessing a frame that weighs nearly 230 pounds.
Fournette has good speed and quickness, but the 5-star runner also displays incredible strength and power. He can shoot through alleys with force after coming downhill, plus he can absorb hits from linebackers before carrying them downfield after contact.
Defensive backs do not challenge Fournette when he gets his legs churning in space, as he is an intimidating running back.
Alabama and LSU are front-runners for Fournette, per 247Sports.
At 5'11.5" and 222 pounds, Elijah Hood is one of the main reasons why this list was created. His film shows a powerful running back that simply bullies people around the field.
The 4-star prospect is explosive at the point of attack, which helps him bury defenders by running them over. Hood is nearly unstoppable when his shoulders are square to the line scrimmage. He delivers punishing blows at the end of his runs, plus it's nearly impossible for one defender to bring him down.
Hood is committed to North Carolina.
Several running backs who run with excellent power can be found on the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map!