2007 Varsity Preview: The Running Backs

MichiganVarsity.com's preview of the upcoming season continues with a breakdown of the state's best running back recruits. Also included are superlatives like which back has the best feet, hands etc.

Outside Runner Jonas Gray - Country Day
Inside Runner Glenn Winston - Denby
Feet Darrin Williams - King
Receiver Mark Ingram - Flint Southwestern
Blocker Ronnie Lark - Flint Powers

1 Jonas Gray Detroit Country Day 5'9, 214
Gray has proven that he does have breakaway speed after clocking impressive times at the US Army Junior Combine and at the Michigan Summer camp. He also has improved as a blocker. He's a great outside runner with good feet, if he can run with a little more authority between the tackles, he'll be a fine college back.
2 Glenn Winston Detroit Denby 6'1, 215
Winston has the body of a college junior right now and he's running sub 4.4-s pretty consistently. What's best about him is that he runs with attitude and is also a pretty good receiver out of the backfield. Once an unknown, he appears to be on his way to a major college scholarship.
3 Darrin Williams Detroit King 5'6, 165
Here's a player who found the perfect situation. Williams is tailor made for the spread system Brian Kelly will be implementing at Cincinnati. He is very quick, elusive and can catch the ball out of the backfield, plus he has already played in the system in high school, so his college prospects look pretty good!
4 Mark Ingram Flint Southwestern 5'9, 195
There is good reason why schools from the Pac-10, to the SEC to the Big Ten are recruiting Ingram. He is a versatile back with quickness, speed and receiving skills.
5 Ronnie Lark Flint Powers 6'1, 200
Lark had an excellent sophomore year, but injuries and some work at quarterback hampered his season last year. He should be back to primarily being a halfback this year, although he'll still see time under center. He has good size, instincts and could be a good college back.
6 Caulton Ray Birmingham Brother Rice 5'9, 185
7 George Winn U of D Jesuit 5'9, 180
8 Cortez Smith Detroit Cass Tech 5'11, 190
9 Isaac Harper Lansing Eastern 5'11, 185
Harper hasn't gotten too much attention just yet, but he may be the sleeper back in the state. He has quickness and vision. He doesn't have elite breakaway speed, but can break the long run. He'll put up good stats again this year.
10 Mario Crawford Romulus 5'8, 165
He isn't the biggest guy, but Crawford has explosiveness. Once he gets a crease, he hits it and has home run ability.
11 Norman Shuford Farmington Hills Harrison 5'9, 177
Already with some MAC offers, Shuford could be a good back in the right systems in college. He is a good athlete though who could also be looked at as a defensive back.
12 Charles Hollowell Detroit Renaissance 5'9, 171
13 Jamie Simpson Dowagiac 6'1, 225
14 Tyler Thomas Jackson 5'9, 180
Thomas was tough to stop in the Vikings' wing-T last season. He has speed to burn and also runs tough between the tackles.
15 DeAndre Johnson Madison Heights Madison 5'7, 170
16 Jezrel White Kalmazoo Hackett Chris. 5'11, 190
17 DeShawn Hayes Saginaw Heritage 5'11, 190
18 Martez Dykes Ypsilanti 5'9, 200
A tank of a back, Dykes has the build and strength to become a very solid back at the next level. He also can catch the ball out of the backfield, which raises his value.
19 Bill Young Battle Creek Central 5'11, 175
20 Dominique White Orchard Lake St. Marys 5'7, 171
21 DJ Robinson Baldwin 6'0, 190
22 Phillip Mayberry GR Ottawa Hills 5'11, 200
23 Luther Ware Bay City Central 6'0, 185
24 Trevor Stapleton Birmingham Seaholm 6'1, 200
25 Andrew Plaska Zeeland West 6'0, 175
A fullback in the Dux' Wing-T, Plaska will be a tailback in college. He has a quick first step and breakaway speed and with the other two backs graduating, he should have a great senior season.

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