Early Look at West Coast Running Backs

It's not a great class out West for running backs in 2015, but UCLA has a few irons in the fire among the early top five at the position...

It's not a great year for running backs out West but there is still some intriguing talent, especially in the Northwest. Our top three backs out west are from the NW and it would have been top four but Chico McClatcher is being moved to receiver in our rankings and eventually to athlete.

Here's our early look at the top five running backs out West prior to the spring/summer evaluation period.

1. Cameron Scarlett, 6-1, 185, Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic 
2. Myles Gaskin, 5-10, 185, Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea
3. Austin Joyner, 5-10, 190, Marysville (Wash.) Marysville Pilchuck
4. Malik Roberson, 5-6, 175, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
5. Dedrick Young, 6-1, 210, Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial

Scarlett gets our nod as the top guy right now and has a solid combination of size, speed and power. He's the most complete back in terms of his ability to run between the tackles or bounce it outside and he also catches the ball well out of the backfield.

Gaskin is an impressive back on tape and shows great balance and the ability to take a hit, stay on his feet and makes a lot of yards after contact. He has a nice burst, good top end speed and a nose for the end zone. He's both productive on the field and also has the physical tools that will translate very well in college.

Joyner averaged an incredible 15 yards a carry last season despite playing through injuries. He shows plenty of speed and explosiveness and once he gets in the open field, you won't catch him from behind. He also has very good hands out of the backfield and has the ability to play in the slot some at the next level to create a major mismatch on a ‘backer.

Roberson was the top guy on this list heading in to his junior season. He was one of the region's top sprinters and rushed for over 1,500 yards as a sophomore. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL and missed his entire season a year ago. At his best, Roberson has incredible quickness, hits the hole hard with power and can score from anywhere on the field.

Young is the top back in Arizona and the top ‘big back' in the west. He's a powerful player, an inside runner who can hammer at a defense. He doesn't have blazing speed but isn't slow either, he runs well enough and showed good athleticism at the NIKE Camp last year with a 34' vertical jump and a 4.22 shuttle time.

A few other backs we like who round out our current top 10 are Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe's Paul Lucas, Long Beach Poly's (Calif.) Jeremy Calhoun, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure's Marcus Chambers, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis North's Bolu Olorunfunmi and San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian's Kirk Johnson.

Lucas is a top five guy on pure ability and one of the fastest sprinters in the nation. Only concern is figuring out if he plans to run track or be a football player full time in college.

Olorunfunmi is another intriguing kid with a lot of natural talent and few players run harder than he does. Johnson is another player we think can move up the charts. He's a smooth runner with a very nice combination of speed, quickness and power.

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for almost 20 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext. 
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