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March 24, 2006

Pre-Evaluation Rankings: Running backs

Pre-Evaluation Period

Every year, SCVarsity.com begins narrowing down our list of athletes to a workable number that we can mold into a Top 100 Players list for the state. And each year, one position seems to have more depth than others, but the there is always a lot of talent to go around and there are always players that could be listed on this list if there were more slots available. Here's a look at our Pre-Evaluation Period-Running Backs.

Right now, we try to narrow down the list to 10 to 15 players at each position and work our way from there. These players are here because of something we've seen during their junior year. By the time that we gain more information based on in-person and film evaluations, these will more than likely change and there will usually be more [players in the rankings from one position than the other.

As we begin the adventurous journey of evaluating players from our great state, these are the players that we feel are the elite at their position. The running back position is not nearly as deep in DI prospects as it usually is. There are a lot of great, but undersized, players in this class.

Pre-Evaluation Period Top Running Backs

1. Brian Maddox, T.L. Hanna High School - Maddox is clearly the favorite for the top ranked running back in the state of South Carolina. With very good size, strength, and speed, Maddox offers the qualities that appeal to programs looking for big tailbacks. He's a back that could easily run at 230lb at the next level. He's got offers from Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, Duke, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, and NC State and Auburn is close to offering. Highlight Reel.

2. Brandon Johnson, Spring Valley Vikings - Johnson is a player that could easily be considered the top running back prospect in the state - IF he'll take care of some issues between he and the Vikings' staff. If he doesn't, he may not even start. He's 5-9, 205 and is a beast of a runner, with power to run in side, speed to break away, and vision to navigate through traffic. He has video clips on our Varsity Underground message board. Seeing is believing in this kid.

3. Antwaine Lyde, Wilson High School - On the field, he has put together consecutive 1,000 + yards seasons (2004- 1453 yards rushing and 14 TD’S. 2005- 1548 yards rushing and 15 TD’S despite missing 2 full games due to a shoulder sprain. He's 5-11, 189 with 4.5 speed.

4. Allen Singletary, Lake City High School - One of the most under rated backs in the state. Turned a lot of heads two years ago with a 375 yards rushing performance against Lakewood. Split time last year, but should be the go-to this season. Carried 106 times for 579 yards last year (5.4 per carry). 5-10, 210lbs.

5. Jae Fitzgerald, Crestwood High School - A 5-11, 185lbs monster. Has 4.4 speed. He only played the second half of last season due to a broken leg in the preseason. Multi-dimensional athlete who doubles as a defensive back.

6. Mario Carter, Irmo High School - Mario was used sparingly in a back up roll this past season, but when he was in the game, he was very effective at running the football. He carried the ball only 34 times for 287 yards and scored five touchdowns. Finishes his runs very nicely.

7. G.J. Jordan, Stratford High School - rushed for 1,376 yards in 2005 and scored 19 touchdowns. He is very quick (4.57) and has good field vision. 5-9, 175lbs.

8. Tyquan Mickens, Bethune-Bowman High School - Under rated and unknown. A definite sleeper, this 5-11, 215lbs running back rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns and caught 23 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns last season. He's got 4.5 speed.

9. Nick Bethea, Dreher High School - Nick is a bit under sized (5-7,185) but very solid performer. He rushed for 1,506 yards and 17 touchdowns, totaling 226 yards and two scores on 10 catches, and also returning two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2005.

10. Malcolm Elder, Carvers Bay High School - An off the radar player, Elder rushed for 1,926 yards in 2005 and scored 26 touchedowns.

11. Antoine Cross, Greer High School - Not really a sleeper, but not generating a lot of recruiting interest because of his size (5-7, 165). He's dynamite on the high school field and rushed for 1,906 yards and 21 touchdowns last season.

Right now, I think the top two on this list are definite Top Twenty-Five SCVarsity.com players. #4 Jae Fitzgerald will probably be in the Top Twenty-Five as well as an athlete. We have a tremendous number of running backs that are not even listed here and as film comes in and media days pass, we will continue our evaluations and our lists may be altered. Currently we have about thirty-five running backs from this class listed, but not all have been evaluated.

If you think we've missed someone, email us at [email protected] . If we don't have them already listed, we'll let you know.

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