1. Kendric Salley- Salley has grown on us and his body of work speaks for itself in terms of numbers over his career. The 5'11 205 pound prospect is ultra competitive too and he enjoys getting out to camps and getting after it. South Carolina has found another steal here in-state in Salley.
2. Raymond Smith- Smith has been tireless in his approach to camps this off season. Winning multiple MVP awards at Scout.com camps he's a guy who won't be denied. Picking up 3 offers recently regional schools are seeing his talents as well. Amassing almost 2,000 yards from scrimmage last season Smith puts in work for one of the state's top AAAA teams.
3. D.J. Goodman- Goodman is another guy who has been hard at work this off season trying to improve his game. His speed has improved by leaps and bounds which will provide big problems for opposing defenses next season. Schools are taking a close look at him now but if he starts strong expect the offers to come for Goodman.
4. Blake Hayes- Hayes sat atop the rankings for almost 2 seasons and there's no knock on his talents or body of work. He's gotten better but so has the competition. In terms of versatility coming out of the backfield he's still our guy. Working with a speed coach and a former NFL back he's primed for a run back towards the top with a strong finish to his off season and start to his senior season.
5. Shakeem Wharton- It's hard not to love what Wharton did last year for Byrnes. He came in after Marcus Lattimore and helped carry the Rebels to another AAAA Division 1 state championship. With over 2,200 yards from scrimmage and 23 touchdowns his talent is undeniable. Wharton is versatile like Hayes and the two almost mirror each other physically as well. A good start next season and we expect schools to step up with offers before long.
6. Jabo Lee- Jabo has already landed offers reportedly from East Carolina and Virginia Tech. In terms of explosion he's at the forefront of this group but he's a little light to be an every down back on the college level. I love his big play ability and vision coming out of the backfield. Very well could move up on the list with a big start to his senior season with big lineman like D.J. Park and Bryce King in front of him.
7. Dondre Brown- Brown is a big back at 6'2 220 pounds and he holds an offer from Duke already. Although we haven't seen any film on him yet he's been a big time producer out of the backfield during his career. We hope to have some film so we can provide a more in-depth analysis about him.
8. Dezmon Venning- Venning is a prospect that we expect to explode this coming season. He's got the physical tools to be a 1,500-2,000 yard rusher this season in our opinion. Schools have been taking a long look at him and it appears they want to see him perform on the field this season before extending offers. This youngster has the strength, speed, and frame to be a major force.
9. Ashton Heard- Heard may not be the biggest back out there but he plays much bigger than his 5'8 170 pound size. With over 1,800 yards and 27 touchdowns last season he's amped on trying to surpass those totals again next season. A great third down/change of pace back on the next level in our opinion.
10. Marcus Smith- Smith is the x-factor on this list because he sat behind Dawan Scott most of last season before an injury gave him his chance to shine and boy did he! Smith, like Heard, is not a big back but he runs with authority and good vision. With the job solely his now we expect huge numbers for Smith this coming season and a probable jump in the rankings.
Other top running backs in the Palmetto State considered (in alphabetical order): Torray Amlett, Michquan Brown, Steven Butler, Joshua Fields, Will Gay, Nick Grove, Wayne Henderson, Davon Howell, Kevin Miller, Nikeem Taylor, Andre Washington, Devin Washington, Kevin Washington, Marquis Wilson.