Top Five Running Backs is breaking down the top players by position in the state. Up now is running back.

1) Keith Ford, Cypress Ranch (Oklahoma)

I don't know that Ford is as special as last year's top backs Johnathan Gray and Trey Williams. But he's awfully darned good. Ford has nice size at 5-11 and about 200 pounds, and he's the most balanced back in the in-state class, running with power, vision and running away from defenders in the open field. It may be a bit of a down in-state class for running backs. But Ford is as good as you'll find.

2) Dontre Wilson, DeSoto

Maybe "down" is a bit too strong of a word. Because there are players like Wilson, who are hybrid-type players with different skill sets. Wilson isn't a pure running back, and he lacks great size. But he may be the fastest player in the state with his pads on, and he displays the elusiveness to match. Wilson is also an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield, meaning that he could have a slot receiver/jet sweep role at the next level.

3) Kyle Hicks, Arlington Martin (Texas)

Also one of the state's top defensive back prospects, Hicks is a playmaker on either side of the field. He's a nice athlete with ball skills and might be an even better receiver than Wilson is. That's a big part of Hicks's value: you could motion him out to the slot and get him some mismatches in space. And if that doesn't work out, he's a top five cornerback in the state.

4) James White, Pearland Dawson (Texas A&M)

He reminds me somewhat of Oklahoma State running back Jeremy Smith. He's not elite in any one thing, but White is probably a solid B-plus in every category. He has the frame of a bigger back, and could play at 220-plus pounds at the next level. He won't wow you with his measureables, but his balance and vision make him a better back than you'd think.

5) Adam Taylor, Katy

Taylor is a bit of a forgotten man because he missed almost his entire junior season after an injury. But he rushed for close to 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns as a sophomore, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry. He's a bigger-framed back with power in his pads and breakaway speed. On pure ability, he's probably higher than White, but without seeing him as a junior, it's hard to put him any higher than this.

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