Here's the 2013 backs that caught my attention:
JAMES SAMS, LOS BANOS
He had a 311 yard outing versus Casa Roble during the year, and in the end, the 5-foot-10, 175 pound Sams tallied 1,872 yards and 20 touchdowns for the 10-2 Tigers.
One slight setback for Sams is his 40-yard time, which was clocked in at a reported 4.80 by ESPN's Recruiting Nation page. His overall speed may not get tons of schools jumping for attention, but his production from last year should for Sams. He's expected to pound it even more for the Tigers' always physical run game.
|photo courtesy of the Modesto Bee|
I don't know what it is, but I seem to favor small running backs a little bit more for some reason.
Maybe its their speed, or their hide-and-seek ability when setting up blocks then bolting, it could be their production, or its their heart.
With Aden Ruiz Jr., he's another small running back that made my eyes get big after seeing the film on what he could do.
At barely 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Ruiz (photo) blew me away with his speed, cutback ability, vision, low pad level and one other area that got me sold, his instinctive and determined running style, which allows his small stature to still break loose from tackles and even run people over.
Much like any small running back barely above 5-foot-11, Ruiz may probably get the "he's too small to be an every down back" stereotype. He won't get it with me. If he builds off of his 1,174 yard, 12 touchdown year, he should make someone very happy at the next level.
MORE ON RUIZ JR.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-x_qJw7rO8
STEFON GOLD AND LEON MILES, BUHACH COLONY-ATWATER
Gold and Miles come from a place known for producing grown men on the lines.
Well, if the Thunder can be at an advantage with all those big buys up front, then the running game should get some attention too. And these incoming seniors just might strike "Gold" and go the extra "Miles" for the upcoming year.
The 5-foot-8, 175 pound Gold darted past defenses for four 100-yard running games and 931 total rushing yards. He also crossed the goal line 16 times for 12-1 Buhach Colony.
Gold was the bell cow for the physical Thunder running attack. Miles (5-foot-9, 175) though was the change-of-pace back and showed a darting running style where he bursts to the outside, then makes his cuts to get defenders to miss, and even blow past arm tackles.
If both build on their speed and improve from their junior year, they could be additional Thunder prospects with college recognition.
MORE ON MILES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoXc9pb9XdI