Quick Hits 2012: Running Backs

A look at early names at the top of the Irish recruiting list for the Class of 2012. We start at running back, where a couple of Irish targets are already off the board.

With the Class of 2011 is in the books its onto the Class of 2012 and another exciting year of Notre Dame recruiting.  With several areas of need for the next class, the Irish are sure to be looking at taking one if not two running backs in Brian Kelly's next class.

Here are a few names to know early.

Keith Marshall: Raleigh (NC) Millbrook High School

HT: 5-foot-11 / WT: 180-pounds

Scout.com Ranking: 5-star

The Breakdown: Marshall has seen early offers from several of the major programs across the country.  If Brian Kelly is looking for a back capable of doing all the things he looks for in a back, Marshall is his guy.  Some knock Marshall for his size; however, he has all the tools you want with great burst, vision, and big play ability.

Matt Jones: Seffner (FL) Armwood High School

HT: 6-foot-3 / WT: 210-pounds

Scout.com Ranking: 4-Star

The Breakdown: One of the top athletes who could play running back or wide receiver at the college level.  Plays with great burst, balance, and vision to go with a powerful body.  Jones will be a hard one for the Irish as he will be a major national recruit.  However, he will be well worth the fight if Notre e Dame can earn his commitment.

Barry Sanders: Oklahoma City (OK) Heritage Hall Schools

HT: 5-foot-9 / WT: 180-pounds

Scout.com Ranking: 4-Star

The Breakdown: Everyone knows the name and many have seen the highlights.  Sanders, the son  of former NFL great Barry Sanders is blessed with many of the same tools his father used during his great college and NFL career (balance/acceleration/change-on-direction) and some of the same question marks (size / durability).  If he can come close to any of his father's numbers, he will be a very solid back at the college level.

Ronald Darby: Oxon Hill (MD) Potomac High School

HT: 5-foot-11 / WT: 175-pounds

Scout.com Ranking: 3-Star

The Breakdown: Some will look at Darby as a defensive back and for this reason; he is a safe prospect to go after early.  Shows great speed and overall athletic ability to go with a great early offer list.  Has all the tools to be a great one in the return game.

D.J. Foster: Scottsdale (AZ) Saguaro High School

HT: 6-foot-0 / WT: 185-pounds

Scout.com Ranking: 3-Star

The Breakdown: Another two-way athlete with great athletic skills who could play several positions during his college career.  Has offers from several top programs for his ability on both sides of the ball.  Stated he grew up liking Notre Dame a lot.


Warren Ball: Columbus (OH) St. Francis DeSales High School

The Irish knew they needed to offer early just to get into the ear and mind of Ball.  It did not matter as the 6-foot-2; 200-pound back gave Ohio State his verbal soon after picking up his offer from the home state team.

Bri'onte Dunn: Canton (OH) GlenOak High School

Much like Ball, Dunn wanted an early offer from the Buckeyes and committed soon after picking it up.  The Irish used the same approach as they did with Ball and it did not pay off.

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