SQ Top-10 Running Back Recruits for 2015
The 2014 college football season may be over, but that doesn't mean the action is done. Right after the national title game sits a Christmas-like holiday to some fans: National Signing Day. On Feb. 4, high school seniors who have not already enrolled early at college programs will announce who they will be spending the next four years of their career with and sign the dotted line to go play football on Saturdays. But before that happens, stick with SQ as we'll rank the top players at each position before that day.
10. Ronald Jones II (McKinney, TX)
Status: Committed to USC
In a state that boasts some of the nation's top running back prospects, Ronald Jones II is near the cream of the crop. Jones has incredible speed - ran a 4.41 40 - and doesn't lose any of it even when he makes cuts to avoid defenders. Jones II is a downhill runner that loves to get out into the open field so he can turn on the jets and get into the endzone. With great vision, he's able to bounce outside when necessary. Although he put up some good numbers during his senior season, Jones II had a much better junior campaign - ran for 2,406 yards and scored 38 touchdowns in 2013. He may not have the body-type to be a powerful back, but that won't stop him from lowering his shoulder on runs. Even when defenders manage to get a hand on him, he still manages to slip away from their grasp and get extra yards.
9. Jordan Scarlett (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Status: Committed to Miami
St. Thomas Aquinas High School is a powerhouse for churning out some of the best D-1 commits from the state of Florida. If you want proof, just look at this year's national championship that featured Aquinas alum Joey Bosa. Now Aquinas is home to Jordan Scarlett, one of the nation's top running backs. Scarlett has impressive size - 5'10" and weighs 207 lbs - and uses that along with his strength to allude defenders. There are some questions about his speed, but his posted 40 time on Scout.com is 4.30. Scarlett will give Miami a physical back that it will need after the departure of Duke Johnson. He's a downhill runner and is great at getting yards after contact. The real concern for him has been his vision and finding the right holes to run through.
8. Chris Warren (Rockwall, TX)
Warren, one of only two recruits in the top-10 that is not currently committed, is drawing a lot of interest from the local schools like Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State. Standing at 6'2" and 220 lbs, Warren is already the perfect size for a college running back, although there is some debate about what position he'll wind up playing at the next level. He doesn't lay claim to blazing speed, so his main weapon is his physicality and ability to break tackles. But looking at his stats, you can see why scouts are doing their best to get him to their schools - ran for 2,320 yards, 34 touchdowns, and averaged 9.3 yards per carry.
7. Johnny Frasier (Princeton, NC)
Status: Committed to Florida State
Adding even more talent to an already impressive Florida State backfield, Johnny Frasier is a really good all-around back. For a guy that's 5'10" and weighs 229 lbs, Frasier has got some great speed - ran a 4.45 40 according to 247Sports. He's pretty physical back that can bust through tacklers and make it look so easy. For his size, he's a pretty agile back and cuts around the defense, finding open space. What makes him a game-changer though is the fact that he's also a pretty good receiver as well. Combining his junior and senior seasons, Frasier caught 46 passes for 826 yards and eight touchdowns. Lining him up in the slot is an interesting thought as he heads to Tallahassee.
6. Larry Scott (Hubbard, OH)
Status: Committed to Michigan State
The Big Ten has a knack for showcasing big, powerful backs and only added to that pedigree when Larry Scott committed to Michigan State. He's not a guy that's going to burn defenses with his speed, instead he'll use his strength to power through any hole of the defense. He doesn't give up on a carry and will literally drag linebackers through the secondary until someone finally brings him down. Scott has great straight-line speed, but lacks in acceleration. The impressive back really stepped up his game during his senior season, rushing for just about 1,000 yards more than he did in his junior year. He just needs to work on his quickness and separation from defenders.
5. Derrius Guice (Baton Rouge, LA)
Status: Committed to LSU
LSU hit a home run when it landed Leonard Fournette last year, and all he's done has become one of the top running backs in the sport in his freshman season. Les Miles did it again when Derrius decided to sign with his hometown team. He's another physical back that will power his way through defenses, but he's not limited to the power game. He's also a shifty back that can make tacklers miss in the open field. Guice can help out his quarterback as well due to the fact that he's a pretty good pass blocker. With his size, he'll be able to contribute right away at the college level. Using a newly found spin move, Guice has become more elusive and harder to take down.
4. Taj Griffin (Powder Springs, GA)
Status: Early Enrolled at Oregon
Looking for an explosive back? Check out Taj Griffin. This is a guy that prides his game off of exploding out of the backfield. He'll definitely need to bulk up a little bit before he gets some on the field action - he stands at 5'10", 170-lbs - but he has the athleticism and speed to be an elite back. Royce Freeman was a the workhorse back for the Ducks last season and had immediate success, even taking home the honors for top freshman offensive player in the PAC-12. With the talent level that Griffin plays at, he will most certainly add some more explosive speed to the Oregon offense. He loves to play fast and has good acceleration which he puts to good use once he gets into the open field.
3. Jacques Patrick (Orlando, FL)
Status: Early Enrolled at Florida State
Florida State keeps reaping the fruits from its recent success of its national championship season and recent showing in the College Football Playoff by landing top recruits such as Jacques Patrick. Patrick is a great physical running back that should compliment Dalvin Cook well in the Seminoles' backfield. He seems to possess the right combination of balance and power. His stiff arm keeps defenders at bay, while the strength he has in his legs allows him to drive through them as well. This guy has shown that he has the ability to be one of the best backs i n the country just by the numbers he's put up in high school. Spanning three varsity seasons, Patrick has rushed for 6,711 yards, averaging 209.7 yards per game and 9.1 yards per carry.
2. Damien Harris (Berea, KY)
Status: Committed to Alabama
It's too bad the University of Kentucky couldn't reel in Damien Harris because this guy is one of the top running threats in all of the country. He could've been a real game-changer for Mark Stoops' offense, but as luck would have it, Nick Saban and Alabama sucked him up just like it has with many other top prospects. One thing that may go unnoticed about Harris is the fact that he sells out every play--he gives 100% effort every single play whether he has the ball or not. Of course he's got the speed - reported 4.40 40 time by 247sports - but he's also a guy that has incredible vision. He can see holes before they open up and then exploit those cracks in the defense, taking off down the field for a big gain. His powerful lower body is often a deterrent for opposing tacklers, and allows him to break some tackles. Another plus for Harris is the patience he shows in allowing his blocks to develop.
1. Soso Jamabo (Plano, TX)
Don't let his name fool you. There's nothing "so-so" about Soso Jamabo. He's a bit tall for a running back, standing in at 6'2.5", but that doesn't stop him from being the best back in the country. In fact, that may only help him as that would make him a great receiving threat out of the backfield. His powerful slide-cut makes it difficult for defenders to take him down and allows him to get into the second level where he does a lot of damage. Jamabo has tremendous athletic ability that can make him one of the best athletes on the field, if not the best. It's surprising he hasn't been snagged up by a big program yet, but that will only make National Signing Day all the better to see where he ends up. Wherever he decides to play his college ball at, Jamabo will most certainly have an immediate impact given his talent and work ethic.