West: Preseason Top Ten Running Backs

Oakley (Calif.) Freedom five-star Joe Mixon leads the preseason running back rankings for the West...

West: Preseason Top Ten Running Backs
Location: Oakley, Calif.
High School: Freedom
Size: 6-1/205
Previous Ranking: 1
Recruiting: Named a top five of California, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Wisconsin
The Skinny: Mixon is an every down back who can do everything well. He looks bigger than his listed 6-1, 210 pound frame and runs with a nice blend of balance, power and speed. He has a great feel for the position and has that innate ability to sense where a defensive player is coming and either make a quick cut to elude him or take a glancing blow. Mixon never seems to get hit square up, which given his size, is surprising but a testament to his mature running style. He has arguably the best hands of any back in the nation and dominated the summer 7 on 7 circuit as a receiver. He was the only back named a unanimous selection for all tournament honors at The Opening and is definitely a very special talent.
Location: Imperial, Calif.
High School: Imperial
Size: 5-11/220
Previous Ranking: 5
Recruiting: Committed to Oregon
The Skinny: Freeman is the top power back in the west and is an absolute load to bring down. At 5-11, 220 pounds, he's not just big and powerful but has good top end speed as well. He was the RB MVP at the recent SoCal NIKE Camp, looked very good at The Opening and has a significant upside to him. No back improved their stock more than Freeman and he answered every question about the level of competition he plays against by dominating at multiple national type events. With his size and power, it won't be a surprise if Freeman plays early in his college career.
Location: Highlands Ranch, Colo.
High School: Valor Christian
Size: 6-0/190
Previous Ranking: 3
Recruiting: Committed to Stanford
The Skinny: McCaffrey is a spectacular athlete and could play in the backfield or in the slot in college. He's arguably the most dynamic athlete in this group with the ability to make you miss in the open field and the electric speed to score from anywhere. He shows great vision in finding the crease in a defense, the speed to get in to the secondary and the balance to stay on his feet and absorb initial contact.
Location: Fresno, Calif.
High School: Central
Size: 5-11/195
Previous Ranking: 4
Recruiting: Committed to Arizona
The Skinny: Wilson is a powerful back who can run between the tackles but has breakaway speed as well. He's decisive and doesn't try and dance around too much in the backfield but picks a hole and goes. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, understands how to finish off a run and is always falling forward at the end of each carry. He's a tough back and doesn't shy away from contact and is the kind of runner who seems to get stronger as the game goes on
Location: Palmdale, Calif.
High School: Palmdale
Size: 5-10, 200
Previous Ranking: 7
Recruiting: Richard named a top ten of Arizona State, Washington, Tennessee, West Virginia, Oregon, Utah, Washington State, Fresno State, Arizona and Michigan State.
The Skinny: Richard has a nice blend of strength, toughness and quickness. He may be short but he's not small and runs with a lot of power. He's very strong in his lower body, has a nice burst and has enough speed to run away from people. He's more quick than fast right now but does have good top end speed and shows great hands out of the backfield as well.

The Next Five:
6. Kalen Ballage, Falcon (Colo.)
7. Rashaad Penny, Norwalk (Calif.)
8. Tre Watson, Corona (Calif.) Centennial- Committed to California
9. Isaiah Brandt-Sims, Wenatchee (Wash.)- Committed to Stanford
10. Squally Canada, Milpitas (Calif.)- Committed to Boise State

Location: Mountlake Terrace, Wash.
High School: Mountlake Terrace
Size: 6-3/215
Recruiting: Committed to California
The Skinny: A two-way prospect, offensively Downs looks like an optimal power-back. With good speed, and good size, he's a load to handle up the middle and does a good job of keeping his legs going and gaining yards after contact.  Originally we had him as an outside linebacker, but his best position in college, at this stage at least, is likely as a power back, but Cal is bringing him in as an athlete.

The Next Four:
2. Daniel Marx, Mission Viejo (Calif.)- Committed to Stanford
3. Ula Tolutau, Salt Lake City (Utah)- Committed to Wisconsin
4. Limihai Hifo, Menifee (Calif.) Heritage- Committed to San Jose State
5. A.J. Hotchkins, Tigard (Ore.)

National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins), National Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Manager Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) and Southwest Recruiting Analyst Jason Jewell (@jason247scout) contributed to these rankings.


Scout Football Top Stories