College Football Recruiting 2011: Ranking the Top 50 Running Backs
Alabama commit Dee Hart is just one of the Top 50 running backs.
As the 2011 recruiting season kicks into high gear leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 2, it's time to re-evaluate the top talent.
Many of the nation's top recruits likely to make a big splash, both in the final weeks of the recruiting season and on the field early next year, are at the running back position.
Recent news about the possible decommitment of highly-ranked Malcolm Brown from Texas and the commitment discussion surrounding the undeclared Isaiah Crowell has only added to the interest around this high-profile recruiting position.
While this list has changed in recent months and is sure to change heading into signing day and beyond, here are the Top 50 running back recruits in the nation.
50. Cam McDaniel
Commitment: Notre Dame
McDaniel is a decisive running back with more power and speed than it appears at first glance. From Coppell, Texas, the 5'10'', 190-pounder will find the hole and run straight downhill for the Irish.
49. Orville Reynolds
Commitment: Wake Forest
At 5'7'', 175 pounds, Reynolds is a bit undersized. But his explosive speed and elusiveness could allow him to withstand the rigors of Division I football.
The Parkland, Fla., native chose Wake Forest over Duke and Marshall, among others.
48. Jermichael Selders
Commitment: West Virginia
With upside galore, the 5'11, 180-pound Selders could become a top college running back. He has plenty of room to add bulk and can do a bit of everything out of the backfield, which will no doubt suit him well at West Virginia.
Selders also considered Baylor, Arkansas, Cal, Mississippi State and Colorado.
47. Mika'il McCall
McCall packs quite the punch at 5'11", 210 pounds and uses leverage to his advantage despite his solid height.
The Illinois native also considered offers from Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Syracuse and Minnesota.
46. D'Angelo Roberts
Roberts won't drop jaws with his explosive speed, elusiveness or power, but possesses just enough ability at all facets of the game to succeed at the Division I level.
The 5'9'', 180-pound Roberts also considered Cincinnati, Ball State, Bowling Green and Western Kentucky.
45. Michael Sorrells
At 6'2'', 200 pounds, Sorrells is a bruising runner with the ability to outrun most defenders and knock over the ones that catch up.
The Austin, Texas native also considered Virginia, Utah, New Mexico State, Louisiana Tech and Idaho.
44. Charles Davis
The Neptune, New Jersey senior will stay in the Garden State and hope to follow in the footsteps of Ray Rice.
Extremely well-rounded with the ability to handle the offensive load in the backfield, Davis also considered Louisville, Cincinnati and Tulane.
43. Jarrell Oliver
Oliver provides plenty of explosiveness and performs best when able to find the hole and show his impressive initial burst of speed.
The stocky Oliver also considered Michigan, Oregon State, Minnesota, Arizona State and Arkansas.
42. Steward Butler
Commitment: Arizona State
The Lakeland, Fla. native has a knack for making a gamebreaking run behind his explosive speed and overcomes his lack of size with a full deck of skills.
The 5'9'', 170-pound Butler also considered West Virginia and Marshall.
41. Andrew Buie
The 5'9'', 190-pound Buie remains undeclared, but is reportedly considering Auburn, South Carolina, Louisville, Ole Miss and North Carolina.
Wherever he lands, Buie will bring with him plenty of versatility in the offense with the exceptional ability of catching the ball out of the backfield.
40. Onaje Miller
Commitment: Michigan State
Ranked among the nation's best running backs, Miller also projects as a top-flight defensive back.
Miller also considered Wisconsin, Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Michigan.
39. Malcolm Crockett
Crockett has only one direction on his map: downhill. At 5'10'', 180 pounds, Crockett still has plenty of room to add bulk and should excel for the Bearcats.
Crockett also considered West Virginia, Michigan, Georgia Tech and Rutgers, among others.
38. J.J. Keels
Keels offers a fluid motion when running the ball and comes off as slippery to defenders unable to wrap him up. The added ability to change direction on the turn of a dime could help the Florida native's prospects in the SEC.
Keels also considered West Virginia, Cincinnati, Duke, Maryland and Texas Tech,
37. DeVondrick Nealy
Commitment: Iowa State
A traditional runner in every sense of the word, Nealy is disciplined to follow his blocks but can also churn up the yards when given the room to run.
The 5'10'', 172-pounder also considered Michigan, Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech.
36. Jared Baker
Just 5'9'', Baker uses his lack of height and lower center of gravity to his advantage. Baker was considered an underrated recruit throughout the evaluation process and could shine in the Pac-10.
Baker also considered Oregon State, UConn, Idaho and Nevada.
35. Bishop Sankey
Commitment: Washington State
Sankey is Washington State's top recruit and it's easy to see why. Sankey combines power with speed and uses every inch and pound on his 5'9'', 185-pound frame.
Sankey also considered Washington, Minnesota, Hawaii, Bowling Green and Ohio.
34. Artaves Gibson
At 6'1'', 215 pounds, Gibson is a bruising running back and still has plenty of room to add bulk. The Memphis native runs straight downhill without worrying if there is anyone in his way.
Gibson also considered LSU, Kentucky, Illinois and Middle Tennessee.
33. Ka'Deem Carey
Carey, the 5'9'', 184-pound runner from Tucson, Ariz., will join Jared Baker in the backfield for the Wildcats.
Carey also considered Arizona State and Colorado State.
32. Kelvin Fisher Jr.
With plenty of room to add bulk and strength, the 5'11'', 180-pound Fisher was a bit underrated throughout the recruiting process. With athleticism to spare, Fisher is full of upside and could excel at Arkansas.
Fisher also considered Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, Boise State and Pittsburgh.
31. Harvey Langi
Perhaps the top college fullback in the class of 2011, Langi made his commitment to Utah over USC and UCLA on Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Langi is a powerful running back and uses his 6'1'', 215-pound frame to bowl over defenders.
Langi also considered Stanford and BYU.
30. Eric Beverly
Commitment: Florida State
Beverly is one of two key running back recruits in Florida State's fantastic 2011 class. At 5'9'', 216 pounds, Beverly stays low to the ground and powers through defenders with solid speed and footwork.
Beverly also considered South Florida, Illinois, Georgia Tech and Virginia.
29. Alonzo Harris
Possessing plenty of upside and room to grow, the athletic Harris is considering Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Florida State and Memphis.
28. Anthony Pierson
The elusive Pierson made a living in high school as being hard to wrap up. At 5'10'', 175 pounds, it's clear Pierson has plenty of room to add weight and become a powerful running back.
Pierson is considering Missouri, Iowa, Kansas State, Arkansas and Illinois.
27. Jerrell Moore
The Louisville native is a solid all-purpose running back lacking the size to be a top-ranked runner. At 5'11'', 180 pounds, there is plenty of room to add bulk, so the future is wide open for the well-balanced Moore.
Moore is considering Kentucky, Illinois, Central Florida and Louisville.
26. Romar Morris
Commitment: North Carolina
Morris blows away the competition with lightning speed and more than makes up for his lack of size with explosiveness.
The 5'9'', 173-pound Morris also considered Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Clemson, South Carolina and NC State.
25. Allan Wasonga
A solid all-around running back with enough power to make up for his lack of height.
Wasonga is considering West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Syracuse and Tennessee.
24. Jameel Poteat
Poteat is the second Top 50 running back heading to Cincinnati and will bring with him a complete arsenal. With solid size, good speed and solid footwork, Poteat can succeed well in the Big East.
The cousin of former NFL defensive back Hank Poteat, Poteat also considered Pitt, Tennessee, Rutgers, Illinois and Temple.
23. Justice Hayes
Once a Notre Dame solid commit, Hayes backed off and became Michigan's marquee running back recruit.
The speedy and smooth Hayes also considered Michigan State, Tennessee, Iowa and Wisconsin.
22. Tre Mason
With speed to burn, Mason is the type of running back who will break a game open with one single run. His fundamental approach combines with impressive quickness to make Mason a marquee target as signing day approaches.
Mason is considering Auburn, Ole Miss, Michigan, Penn State and West Virginia.
21. Bradley Marquez
Commitment: Texas Tech
At 5'11", 180 pounds, Marquez possesses the type of body and skill set that could succeed at the Division I level and beyond.
Marquez also considered Texas A&M, Baylor, Arizona, Stanford and Minnesota.
20. Amir Carlisle
With Andrew Luck returning under center for the Cardinal next year, Carlisle will benefit from having one of the best quarterbacks in the country throwing the ball to open up the running game. It's doubtful that the 5'10'', 181-pound Carlisle disappoints.
Carlisle also considered USC, Cal, Arizona State, Utah and Maryland.
19. Jeremy Hill
At 6'1, 224 pounds, Hill is a powerful running back with the ability to run only one direction: downhill. The bruising Hill packs a punch on every carry and likes to initiate first contact.
Hill also considered Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee.
18. Darrian Miller
With an under-control and consistent running style, Miller is bound to succeed in Kansas' backfield. A cerebral runner that always makes the right decision, Miller also considered Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas State.
17. Daniel Lasco
The 6'0'', 190-pound Lasco is a powerful running back that can get into the open field quickly. Staying consistently in the north-to-south direction, Lasco sees the field well and runs with a purpose.
Lasco also considered Texas A&M, Miami, TCU, Arkansas and Notre Dame.
16. Travis Riley
Commitment: North Carolina
Riley will join forces with Romar Morris at Chapel Hill and will certainly provide the fire power. At 6'1'', 210 pounds, Riley provides a skill set combined with size, speed and elusiveness.
Riley also considered, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke and Georgia Tech.
15. Devonta Freeman
Commitment: Florida State
Freeman spent much of his time in high school in the change-up role in the backfield but should be the featured running back for the Seminoles in due time. At 5'8'', 195 pounds, Freeman has solid size and power and runs with purpose.
Freeman also considered Minnesota, Cincinnati, Central Florida, FIU and Marshall.
14. Kenny Williams
Commitment: Texas Tech
Williams will join Bradley Marquez at Texas Tech in what has to be one of the more promising recruiting backfields in the nation. The 5'10'', 210-pound Williams has perfect size and is extremely tough to bring down on first contact.
Williams also considered Louisville, Kansas Sate, West Virginia, Illinois and Minnesota.
13. Brendon Bigelow
In December, Bigelow, a 4-star running back recruit, pulled his commitment from Washington and committed to Cal.
Bigelow also considered USC, UCLA, Nortre Dame and Oregon.
12. Javorious Allen
At 6'1'', 205 pounds, Allen has what it takes to make an immediate impact at the college level. He looks for first contact and runs with a purpose every time he touches the ball.
Allen is considering Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, Miami and Tennessee.
11. Marlin Lane
Lane is just one of the handful of top recruits landed by or with interest in Clemson. Lane is an impressive physical specimen and still has room to add bulk on his 6'0'', 200-pound frame.
Lane also considered Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan, West Virginia and Illinois.
10. Herschel Sims
Commitment: Oklahoma State
Sims is as well-rounded as they come at the running back position. For instance, the 5'8'', 190-pounder doesn't possess impressive size, but makes up for it with a high level of play in other areas, including vision, quickness and body control.
Sims also considered Oklahoma, Texas A&M, USC, TCU and Texas Tech.
9. Demetrius Hart
Hart pulled his commitment to Michigan and chose Alabama at Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Game. The 5'8'', 190-pound running back is lightning fast with explosiveness and power to boot.
Hart is extremely tough to wrap up on first contact and he can cut with the best of them, leaving many hopeful defenders in the dust.
Hart is undoubtedly a player we'll see plenty of next season and beyond.
Hart also considered Auburn, Arkansas, Florida State and Georgia.
8. Kenny Hilliard
At 6'0'', 220 pounds, there's no question Hilliard has the ability to overpower defenders with his strength and power. The agility and elusiveness he runs with, however, are what separate him from the majority of the pack.
Hilliard can find the seam and dance through it or create his own hole with his large body and excess of power.
Hilliard also considered Alabama, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Miami.
7. Brandon Williams
With plenty of room to add bulk to his 6'0'', 190-pound frame, Williams has perhaps the most potential of any running back in the class of 2011. He has incredible speed with the ability to break open a game with a run out of nowhere.
If he can add a few pounds and strength, Williams undoubtedly can become a feature back at the college level and beyond.
Williams also considered Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Arkansas.
6. Mike Blakely
At 5'9'', 190 pounds, Blakely lacks a bit of height but makes up for it in many other areas.
Blakely is a solid running back that stays low to the ground and uses impressive strength to initiate contact and keep moving downfield.
Blakely has signed with the Gators but also considered Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss and USC.
5. Savon Huggins
Huggins seems poised to be a feature back immediately wherever he ends up committing.
At 5'9'', 195 pounds, the New Jersey native has plenty of room to grow and improve while still being a well-rounded runner at this point in his career.
Huggins is still considering Rutgers, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Auburn and Michigan State.
4. Mike Bellamy
Bellamy will be heading to Clemson alongside Marlin Lane to form quite the 1-2 punch in this year's recruiting class.
At 5'10'', 176 pounds, Bellamy does have plenty of room to add bulk and should certainly excel at the next level as the prized offensive recruit in Clemson's impressive 2011 class.
Bellamy also considered Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Georgia and LSU.
3. Aaron Green
The San Antonio native decided to leave the state and commit to Nebraska, where he'll likely be the featured back early in his career.
At 5'10'', 180 pounds, Green is just another one of the top-ranked running backs able to add a bit of weight to handle the rigors of the college game.
Green also considered Florida State, Cal, Texas, LSU and USC.
2. Malcolm Brown
Already with exceptional size—6'1'', 215 pounds—Brown is sure to be a featured back for the Longhorns next year.
There were a few rumors swirling about his allegiance to Texas amidst the coaching situation that left many players unaware of whom their position coaches and coordinators would be.
With all of the personnel issues handled, though, Brown seems committed to Texas and the Longhorns are lucky. Brown's game has absolutely no holes.
Throughout the recruiting process, Brown also considered Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Florida State and Georgia.
1. Isaiah Crowell
Much like Brown, Crowell combines ahead-of-the-curve size and build with extremely refined fundamentals. Crowell is a powerful, yet speedy, back who can handle the offensive load and give you a game breaker late in the fourth quarter.
Defenders rarely get a clean hit on him and when they do, he doesn't always go down. With speed to burn, it's Crowell's quickness that gets him into the position to succeed on nearly every carry.
As National Signing Day nears, the recruiting world will have an eye on Crowell, who is still reportedly between Georgia and Alabama. Throughout the recruiting process, Crowell also considered Auburn, Clemson and Florida State.