The tailback position is fairly weak this year, without many elite prospects and lacking depth of talent as well. Luckily UCLA isn't looking to take probably more than one tailback in this year's class.
1. Reggie Bush, 5-11, 190, San Diego (Calif.) Helix. He's #1, but not decisively. Bush has very good speed, and very good moves, but he's not very big and actually looks fairly small on film. If he's 6-0 I'd be amazed, and if he's over 190 pounds, even more amazed. He also needs to learn how to play the position; he plays it like he's returning punts on every play, juking too much rather than just hitting a hole and accererlating. When he does that, he's very effective. He also holds the ball really loosely. If he gets bigger and stronger, and learns how to play the position, he could be very good. No matter what any school would take Bush in a flash because of his speed.
2. Chauncey Washington, 6-0, 205, Torrance (Calif.) South Torrance. He's not a speedster, but he has a nice burst, and has a good running style while also showing some nice moves. Probably looks the most like a college-level running back than any other I've seen in person or on tape in this class in California. But that's not necessarily saying much in this class. As I've said before, UCLA wasn't going to be able to recruit him because of academics. He committed to USC last week.
3. Lynell Hamilton, 6-0, 200, Stockton (Calif.) Edison. He's probably the most effective runner on the high school level between the top three on this list. He looks like a bigger version of how Jason Harrison looked in high school – very shifty, with a good burst and with only decent speed. There isn't one thing he's particularly great at – but he certainly gets it done on the high school level. In a thin year, he's going to get highly recruited.
4. Danny Burney, 5-10, 175, Sylmar (Calif.) High. There are quite a few other okay running backs in California this year, and Burney is probably the best among them. He's not big, but he has a combination of good speed and good explosion, and very elusive moves.
Derrick Williams, 6-0, 185, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Definitely an athlete, and an effective tailback on the high school level, but projects far better as a defensive back than a tailback in college.
Charles Burnley, 6-0, 185, Valencia (Calif.) High. Has decent size, but lacks the real explosiveness and speed to make him an elite runner.
Others Seen on Tape or in Person:
Michael Liti, 5-11, 185, Tustin (Calif.) Foothill
Kenneth Frank, 5-11, 190, Cerritos (Calif.) High
Lorenzo Bursey, 5-9, 165, Beverly Hills (Calif.) High
Haven't Seen But Desperately Want To:
Cornell Johnson, 6-1, 200, Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines. Talked up now as possibly the best on the west coast.
Dennis Keyes, 6-2, 180, Van Nuys (Calif.) Birmingham. While he might end up a defensive back, he's reportedly a very good tailback in his own right.