2010 Tiger Targets: RB

The first in a long series profiling Clemson's top targets for the 2010 recruiting class. First up ... the all-important position of running back.

Ken Malcome is currently ranked as the No. 27 running back prospect in the nation according to Scout.com.

RB Ken Malcome

THE LOW DOWN: This workhorse of a back out of Georgia managed to skate through most of the spring under the radar. That all changed once summer arrived. Major programs moved in on the power runner, including Clemson as well as the majority of the SEC. Malcome runs like a traditional Big 10 back as he's as likely to run a defender over as he is to try and shake him. He has a decent burst, very good balance, and exceptional vision that should translate very well onto the next level. Possessing nice size, Kendrun is a back that a team could ride for 25 carries a game. A very complete back, his only deficit being a lack of break away speed, will make a lucky team very happy.

THE CONTENDERS: Clemson was one of the first to notice this young man's ability, but the water has since become populated by some very big sharks. Hometown favorite Georgia is always tough to beat for an instate prospect that they covet. If UGA pushes, the Dawgs have a very good chance of walking away with another talented tailback. The Florida Gators are also quite strong and are running in second. Surprisingly, Oklahoma is in third place, but seems an unlikely destination given the distance and the depth of talent at RB in Texas that the Sooners poach every year. Clemson is in the lead group right behind these top three. With both Georgia and Florida having several other backs higher on their boards, it is possible that Malcome could fall into Clemson's lap. The crystal ball says Georgia ultimately pushes hard and he ends up a Dawg.

Byrnes standout Marcus Lattimore is ranked as the No. 1 running back in the country by Scout.com.

RB Marcus Lattimore

THE LOW DOWN: No running back prospect list would be complete without including this Byrnes stud. A tough, between the tackles back, Lattimore is one of the hottest prospects in the entire country. His offer list is a who's who of elite programs and he has the opportunity to play for the school of his choosing. Possessing excellent balance and vision, his speed is good enough to get to the corner as well. Touted as the most complete back in the nation, he also is a very competent blocker and excels at catching the ball out of the backfield. This season will put Lattimore's hype to the test as he will not have the benefit of the experienced line he had last year. If he can put up the same eye-popping numbers and control games this year as he did last, Marcus will be well deserving of his lofty ranking.

THE CONTENDERS: Byrnes has been friendly to Clemson over the recent years, but this year's crop is not overly enthused with the Orange and Purple. The Gamecocks have remained in the top 2-3 for nearly two years now and may prove tough to beat considering all the ties involved. Auburn wowed Marcus early, but the glow seems to have faded a bit. If Chizik pulls one of the other elite backs in this class, Marcus may look for playing time elsewhere. Florida State is strong with the Byrnes is trio and should not be underestimated in this race. The Tarheels are a dark horse and Butch Davis has a knack for reeling in the long shots, but they will likely find themselves on the outside looking in. While Clemson will get at least surface interest, unless something radically changes, Marcus is bound to see Death Valley only once every two years. The crystal ball says the Gamecocks hold onto him, but are very nervous on National Signing Day.

Clemson was Jawan Jamison's first scholarship offer, but Miami may be the team to beat for his services.

RB Jawan Jamison

THE LOW DOWN: Clemson was the first school to step out and offer the talented back and despite good showing at camps, his offer sheet remains sparse. A smaller back, Jamison has exceptional wiggle and great speed, boasting an impressive 10.4 100 meter time. Jawan is also an excellent pass catcher and could easily work from the slot as well as out of the backfield in the passing game. Though he is somewhat smaller than the prototypical back, he is a compact, solidly built runner that is tougher and stronger than one would assume on first glance. Jamison had a very good season last year as the complimentary back to bruiser Stephen Barnett (Tulane), but now must carry the load as the feature back. If he can prove his durability, Jamison could turn out to be a top commodity.

THE CONTENDERS: With their early offer, the Tigers launched themselves to the top of Jamison's list, and have resided there throughout his recruitment. Lurking in the shadows is childhood favorite Miami. If the Canes decide to offer, Jawan's recruitment could be over. However, with the plethora of Florida talent being as abundant as ever, there is a good likelihood that he may never get that dream offer. Wake Forest, a consistent harvester of underrated Florida talent has tossed their name in the ring, but may have a tough time edging out the Tigers. Surprising Northern Illinois has a very solid running back tradition of their own and has joined the fray. The crystal ball says that Miami never moves in and Clemson walks away with an underrated prize in the versatile back.

Four-star running back Marcus Shaw is another elite-level runner high on Clemson's 2009 recruiting board.

RB Marcus Shaw

THE LOW DOWN:– Shaw is another scat back from the Sunshine state that is also a bit of an unknown. This talented back has worked very hard on becoming a more complete player at the position, but already possesses very good speed and explosion. He has good hands and could easily be utilized as a weapon in the passing game. Though not the best between the tackles runner, that aspect of his game is still developing and should show marked improvement this coming year. Despite interest from some of the bigger powers, including the Gators, Shaw, like Jamison, owns a meager offer list. As some of the marquis backs in the southeast make their selections, expect the action for Shaw to heat up.

THE CONTENDERS: Don't expect Shaw's offer list to stay as small as it is now. Marcus will likely end up at a school that currently has not extended a tender. Florida has shown some increased interest of recent and Shaw would fit in well in Meyer's spread offense. If the Gators decide to offer, a commitment may be immediate. Clemson has evaluated the talented back for much of the spring, but has still not offered. At this point, the Tigers may still be looking elsewhere, but Shaw could easily earn an offer down the road. If that happens, look for them to launch into the middle of the melee for him. If the offers don't come, smaller local schools could snatch up, such as the Golden Knights (he does have a UCF offer) or USF. The crystal ball is cloudy on this one; perhaps we should ask again later.

Clemson has always been in great shape for Berkeley standout Bruce Ellington.

RB Bruce Ellington

THE LOW DOWN: That's right, the multitalented instate athlete makes the running back list. Surprised? Don't be. Although most schools are looking at him to play corner, Ellington is more than capable with the ball in his hands. Though his size is a bit concerning, in the right offense, Bruce could be deadly. An electric playmaker that has lethal big play capability, Ellington will likely get long looks in the return game outside of his standard position. If he continues to wow as he does on the high school level, he may prove to be too valuable an offensive weapon to be left on the defensive side of the ball. As an orbit motion back, or a flanker, Ellington could easily turn 10 touches a game into a very productive 75 yards and a score every game.

THE CONTENDERS: The two instate schools are strong for the versatile athlete. Clemson has Bruce's older cousin, Andre, on the team and is currently in a stronger position for the prospect. South Carolina is working a different angle with Ellington by also offering him in basketball. An accomplished point guard, he could play both sports at the next level if the right opportunity were to come along. The dark horse to keep an eye on is Georgia Tech. The Jackets are evaluating him as both a flanker back and quarterback, where Bruce will play his senior year of high school ball. If they offer, their offensive system would be intriguing for a player of his style of game. The crystal ball says that Ellington feels the Orange love and ends up on the Tiger commit list as an athlete and will get looks at RB, WR, CB, and a return man.

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