In this age of the no-huddle offense fueled by the passing game, very great offense has to have a quality running back.
There will be no shortage in Arizona high schools during the 2018 football season.
Top 10 running backs
No. 1 Bijan Robinson, Tucson Salpointe Catholic, 5-11, 190, Jr.
He has proven to be a dynamic back on Friday nights since he was a freshman. Last year, he emerged among the top eight candidates for azcentral Sports Player of the Year with his ability to make plays out of nothing and to dominate in 4A, helping the Lancers reach the 4A final.
No. 2 DeCarlos Brooks, Chandler, 5-10, 190, Sr.
With offers from Pac-12 California and Oregon State, Brooks is ready to impress the country as the marquee, featured back with Drake Anderson moving onto college at Northwestern. Brooks had more than 1,000 yards rushing last season as a parttime running back in Chandler’s potent, well-rounded offense.
No. 3 Darvon Hubbard, Scottsdale Chaparral, 6-0, 200, Jr.
He moved from Akron, Ohio, late last summer, and gave a sampling of what’s to come this season with his ability to break tackles. Great downhill runner who will be asked to catch passes out of the backfield in a new spread offense. Has a few gears that makes him a top weapon.
No. 4 Tawee Walker, Peoria Centennial, 5-10, 195, Sr.
This was a gift from Las Vegas heaven for coach Richard Taylor, who was wondering how he was going to replace two-time, 2,000-yard rusher Zidane Thomas. Walker, who recently moved in from Las Vegas, fills those shoes with power and speed. He ran for more than 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns last season at Mohave in Nevada.
No. 5 Israel Benjamin, Scottsdale Saguaro, 5-9, 190, Jr.
He has transformed his body during the off-season, becoming much stronger and faster, according to coach Jason Mohns. Understands the offense after transferring in last summer from Brophy Prep. Very good coming out of the backfield to catch passes. Watch for a big season from one of the best students in the classroom.
No. 6 Jakim McKinney, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 5-8, 170, Sr.
Fast, elusive, great cutback moves, he ran for 1,334 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. Averaged nine yards a carry. Great at catching the ball. A threat to score every time he touches the ball with his breakaway speed.
No. 7 Juwuan Price, Peoria, 5-10, 180, Sr.
Electric player who runs under 11 seconds electronic in 100 meters. Ran for more than 1,600 yards, averaging nine yards a carry, during a breakout junior season. He also is a threat to take it back on kickoffs, averaging 40 yards a return in ’17. He scored more than 20 touchdowns for the Panthers.
No. 8 Ali Mohammad, Glendale Apollo, 5-10, 180
Mohammad should be even better after he ran for 1,530 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. Quick, fast, elusive, he has gotten stronger in the weight room without losing speed and agility.
No. 9 Deonce Elliott, Mesa Red Mountain, 5-10, 180, Jr.
Red Mountain found an answer to its run game with Elliott recently transferring from Mesa Desert Ridge. But he may have to sit out the first five games because of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s transfer rules. To have this speedy athlete for the second half of the season should help the Lions in their push for the 6A playoffs.
No. 10 Marqui Johnson, Saguaro, 5-8, 160, Sr.
A recent transfer from Chaparral, Johnson will likely sit the first five games with the move. But he’ll probably play nine games with the Sabercats again the favorite to win 4A. He is lightning, great in space, has moves that make it tough to get a good hit on him.