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July 17, 2007

Category rankings: Running backs

The Rivals.com recruiting experts have broken down countless hours of film and racked up plenty of frequent flyer miles to see the top prospects compete at events across the country to come up with the most extensive and accurate prospect rankings and evaluations you will find. In the process of evaluating overall talent, several prospects gained notice for their mastery of specific skills.

We've selected the best of the best in each category for every position and rank the top five in each. Today we break down the running backs. Which running back is the top home-run threat? Which is the best inside runner? Which is the best in space? Read on to find out.

RB rankings: Home-run threat | Best inside runner | Best in space | Best downhill runner

Home-run Threat
Jeremy Crabtree's take: To me, there is not a more complete back that can hurt you on every single play like Darrell Scott. Just when you think you have him bottled up bam he's gone. I also think McGuffie definitely is a threat to score on every play. Curtis is another one that can kill you in the blink of an eye. A very good group here.

Mike Farrell's take: There aren't as many pure speed backs in this year's crop as there was last year but the guys who can take it to the house are bigger overall and can do so inside or outside.

JC Shurburtt's take: Overall a very explosive group that can take it to the house quickly.

  • Vote: Who is the top home-run threat?
  • 1. Darrell Scott, 6-0, 204, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure Scott highlights
    2. Sam McGuffie, 6-0, 188, Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair McGuffie highlights
    3. De'Anthony Curtis, 5-10, 209, Camden (Ark.) Fairview Curtis highlights
    4. Jermie Calhoun, 6-0, 210, Van (Texas) Calhoun highlights
    5. Andre Ellington, 5-10, 170, Moncks Corner (S.C.) Berkeley Ellington highlights
    More home-run threats: Curtis McNeal, Los Angeles (Calif.) Venice; Ryan Bass, Corona (Calif.) Centennial; Chris Burns, New Wilmington (Pa.) Wilmington; Covaughn DeBoskie, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton
    Best Inside Runner
    Crabtree's take: This is why I love Darrell Scott. He's not a guy that will bounce it to the outside every play. He knows how to run through the middle and bounce off contact. In Katy's offense you must run inside, and that's why Aundre Dean is one of the best in the nation at it. Jonas Gray is also a great threat between the tackles. He has the jets that so few backs do, but when you watch him you see that he makes a lot of big runs between the tackles.

    Farrell's take: For Scott to be the top homerun threat and inside runner shows exactly how special he is. There are some big, physical runners in this group.

    Shurburtt's take: I like to look for guys who are tough between the tackles for this area and most of these guys are, though I question if Darrell Scott actually is better than some of the other guys when you are just considering inside running.

  • Vote: Who is the best inside runner?
  • 1. Darrell Scott, 6-0, 204, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure Scott highlights
    2. Aundre Dean, 6-1, 200, Katy (Texas) Dean highlights
    3. Jonas Gray, 5-10, 213, Detroit (Mich.) Country Day Gray highlights
    4. Eric Smith, 5-10, 239, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood Smith highlights
    5. Richard Samuel, 6-0, 197, Cartersville (Ga.) Cass Samuel highlights
    More inside runners: Jermie Calhoun, Van (Texas); Ivan Matchett, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's; Tauren Poole, Toccoa (Ga.) Stephens County; Jamie Harper, Jacksonville (FL) Trinity Christian; Jermaine Preyear, Mobile (Ala.) Davidson
    Best in Space
    Crabtree's take: The video of McGuffie breaking people down in the open field is almost legendary, and he's without question the best in this group in my opinion. Milton Knox out in LA is also very good at this, and that's something he thrives on. Get him one-on-one and you'll often lose.

    Farrell's take: Compared to last year's ankle breakers, this year's group is better in traffic overall but McGuffie can sure make some defenders look foolish.

    Shurburtt's take: Overall, I like Ryan Williams in space better than any of the backs listed.

  • Vote: Who is the best in space?
  • 1. Sam McGuffie, 6-0, 188, Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair McGuffie highlights
    2. Milton Knox, 5-8, 192, Lake Balboa (Calif.) Birmingham Knox highlights
    3. Dontavius Jackson, 5-11, 195, Franklin (Ga.) Heard County Jackson highlights
    4. Ryan Williams, 5-10, 192, Manassas (Va.) Stonewall Jackson Williams highlights
    5. Jeremy Hills, 5-10, 181, Alief (Texas) Elsik Hills highlights
    More good runners in space: Jermie Calhoun, Van (Texas); LaMichael James, Texarkana (Texas) Liberty-Eylau; Martin Ward, Jonesboro (Ga.) Mount Zion; Chris Burns, New Wilmington (Pa.) Wilmington
    Best Downhill Runner
    Crabtree's take: When it comes to planting the foot and taking off, there isn't a better guy in the nation than Jermie Calhoun in my view. This is what he's best at. Gray can also plant and go with the best of them and when he turns on the jets, look out. Cyrus Gray is amazing at this, too. I think he's one of the most overlooked backs in the nation.

    Farrell's take: This is the best group of "one-cut and go" guys in a few years. Once these guys see daylight and cut it back, they are very hard to bring down.

    Shurburtt's take: Very strong overall group in terms of this category.

  • Vote: Who is the best downhill runner?
  • 1. Jermie Calhoun, 6-0, 210, Van (Texas) Calhoun highlights
    2. Jonas Gray, 5-10, 213, Detroit (Mich.) Country Day Gray highlights
    3. Darrell Scott, 6-0, 204, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure Scott highlights
    4. Cyrus Gray, 6-0, 188, DeSoto (Texas) Gray highlights
    5. Jamie Harper, 6-0, 210, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Harper highlights
    More downhill runners: Michael Shaw, Trotwood (Ohio) Madison; Richard Samuel, Cartersville (Ga.) Cass; Eric Smith, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood

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