Football Recruiting: Running Backs

The prospective running back list is deep, and UCLA has a good chance with some of the elite backs from around the country...

UCLA will more than likely try to one or two tailbacks with this next recruiting class. Even though they brought in a couple last year and Manuel White is already on the roster, there is a definite opportunity for a faster, scat-back type of back to come in and immediately contribute. And, coincidentally, most of the stand-out running backs in this class on the west coast are that type.

Shelton Sampson, 5-9, 175, Tacoma (Wash.) Clove Park. VERBALLY COMMITTED. But it's only 85% of a commitment. Sampson says he intends to take trips to Washington and Notre Dame.

Lorenzo Booker, 5-11, 180, 4.4, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. Probably one of the top three in the country, if not the best. UCLA will be in a battle for him. USC is pulling out all the stops, and the Florida States of the world are beating a path to his door. He has said in the past that he wants to stay local and, before all of the attention, UCLA was his favorite. But it's going to be a long battle for this one, and anything can happen. He's been showing a lot of love for USC as of late.

Selvin Young, 6-0, 190, 4.4, Houston (Tex.) Jersey Village. Young is commonly listed among the best running backs in the country, with good size, vision and moves. He's a long-time UCLA fan even though he's never been to California, but has family locally. UCLA probably leads over such schools as Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and LSU.

Marcus O'Keith, 5-11, 170, 4.4, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne. Quick, fast and shifty, O'Keith is emerging as possibly among the best running backs in the west. He tested very well at the San Diego Nike camp. Notre Dame is the latest leader, while Cal had a lead before. UCLA, Washington, and Wisconsin will probably get trips, too.

David Richard, 6-1, 240, 4.5, St. Louis(Missouri) Hazelwood East. Richard had committed to Tennessee months ago, but has opened up his commitment. A big, bruising back who might project to fullback, Richard indicated recently that UCLA and Michigan State could be his favorites now. He says he has an official visit set up with UCLA for December. He's still looking at Tennessee, as well as Iowa and Missouri. He's on course to qualify academically.

Hershel Dennis, 5-9, 180, 4.4, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Dennis is one of the top handful of running backs in the west. He's pretty small but very tough, and breaks tackles well, while being one of the shiftiest backs you'll see this year. Dennis has long thought to be a heavy lean to USC, and still is, but it's been interesting lately. He came to UCLA's first fall practice, being the cousin of one of UCLA's walk on defensive linemen. The prevailing wisdom is if Lorenzo Booker goes to USC, Dennis might not.

Glenn Ohaeri, 5-9, 180, 4.5, San Bernardino (Calif.) Aquinas. Really discovered this spring and summer, coaches are raving about Ohaeri, saying he could be the second best back in the west behind booker. He's probably the toughest to bring down and has great quickness. UCLA, USC, Cal, Stanford, Notre Dame, Duke and Boston College are all on his list. It could come down, though, between UCLA, Cal and Stanford.

Lonta Hobbs, 5-11, 205, 4.5, Clarksville (Tex.) High. Hobbs, a strong, powerful runner with good quickness, is a guy UCLA is recruiting hard, and the Bruins probably lead Texas A&M, Nebraska, TCU, Oklahoma and UTEP. Hobbs has said he'll visit UCLA for the September 22nd game against Ohio State.

Michael Johnson, 5-11 190, 4.4), Newport News (Virg.) Heritage. Considered one of the best players on the east coast, UCLA is trying, along with Penn State, Tennessee, Michigan, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and others.

Frederick Collins, 6-0, 190, 4.6, La Quinta (Calif.) High. Collins had a great junior year and, coming off that year, was thought to be one of the best in the west and was mentioned on many national lists. Collins is big and very tough, breaking tackle after tackle, but might lack the explosiveness of the other running back prospects on this list. He's on UCLA's to-watch list. Arizona probably leads for him since they've offered, and ASU, Cal, Oregon State and others are involved.

Curtis Brown, 6-0, 185, Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete. Athletic and big, Brown is a prospect that has gotten somewhat overlooked. He attended many UCLA games last year and the theory is that if UCLA showed him a lot of attention and offered, he'd commit. It's a matter, though, if UCLA will. He's on the to-watch list, and possibly might have a future being considered a safety.

Randy Hill, 6-2, 195, Tempe (Ariz.) McClintock. Considered the best in Arizona this year, Hill is a big, strong back that might be considered as a fullback. He has shown good quickness, recording a 4.04 shuttle time.

Kenny Taylor, 5-11, 185, 4.4, San Pedro (Calif.) High. A kid who is a good student and long-time UCLA fan, he's on UCLA's to-watch list. If he has a good season, could also be considered as an athlete. He has a 3.5 GPA and scored a 1,200 on his SAT.


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