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August 11, 2013
Each and every year, the Tidewater region produces a profuse amount of athletes capable of competing with the best across the nation. This coming season will be no exception as there are numerous standouts all over the talent-rich Hampton Roads area.
With the 2013 campaign right around the corner, VirginiaPreps.com has decided to identify the players to watch at each position offensively and defensively at public schools throughout the '757' area code, listing them alphabetically by last name.
We'll continue our countdown with Running Backs . . .
Jahlil Green, Lafayette (2014) - - The future Richmond Spider is all about academics and football, and that combination garnered him quite a few offers from Division I schools. In his first season with the Rams in 2012, Green excelled by rushing for 1546 yards and 20 touchdowns, and a 2000-yard campaign is not out of the question for his senior year.
Isaiah Harper, Grassfield (2014) - - Verbally committed to play his College Football at Old Dominion, Harper rates as one of the fastest players in all of Virginia, possessing great feet and some make-you-miss moves as well. In 2012, Harper racked up 1056 yards of offense and of the nine touchdowns he scored last season, seven of them went for 60 yards or longer.
Vincent Lowe, Grassfield (2014) - - It's tough to say who would win in a race between Lowe and his teammate Harper, but rest assured there's very few people in the entire state that could beat either one since each is a blur when on the run. In addition to his offensive exploits, Lowe, who holds offers from ECU and ODU among others, was an All-Eastern Region First Team selection at defensive back.
Deshawn McClease, Oscar Smith (2015) - - An instinctive and versatile back with excellent vision, McClease rolled up 1033 yards and 15 touchdowns on 109 carries, good for an average of 9.5 yards per attempt, as a sophomore while being limited due to a shoulder injury. That made him a First Team All-Southeastern District selection, and it'll be a surprise to no one if he goes over the 1500 yard barrier, maybe even before the playoffs start.
Terence Ricks, Western Branch (2014) - - Able to hit the hole and go with great awareness, Ricks gained 292 yards and scored 4TD's on just 26 attempts because he played behind UCONN tailback Josh Marriner a year ago. The Wake Forest commit who also stars on defense, where he had 15 sacks, played half his junior season on a broken toe and this year should be healthy and even more lethal.
Latrell 'Vegas' Sandifer, Nansemond River (2014) - - Elusive and electric, the guy they call Vegas out in Suffolk has big-time burst as he illustrated during his junior year when he rushed for 1322 yards, fourth most in the Eastern Region during the regular season, and 12 touchdowns on 229 attempts. Despite his diminutive stature, he's proven to be durable and remain a breakaway threat for Tracey Parker's Warriors.
Anthony Scott, Green Run (2014) - - Recruited to play defensive back or running back at the next level, Scott was a bright spot on a 2-8 team by running for 938 yards and 11 touchdowns on 143 attempts, showcasing elite speed. Under new Head Coach Jeff McGowan and offensive coordinator Marcus Ferebee, look for Scott to only raise his numbers while performing at a high level on both sides of the ball.
Brandon Simmons, Ocean Lakes (2014) - - Still searching for his first offer, Simmons served as a catalyst for the Dolphins on offense at times during a breakout junior campaign, where he rushed for 1300 yards and 16TD's on the school's first Eastern Region Championship team. What stands out about him is how he seemingly runs harder as the game progresses, churning out the tough yards to get to extend drives.
Deshaun Wethington, King's Fork (2016) - - As a freshman, Wethington burst onto the scene by running for nearly 600 yards in the regular season for a Bulldogs team where he wasn't the primary weapon because they had D-1 weapons like Charles Clark (Va. Tech) and Davon Grayson (ECU) as well as a quarterback who can run in Uriah Adams. Wethington is a pretty tough customer and can get to the next level of the defense with one cut.
Marshawn Williams, Phoebus (2014) - - After rushing for 1809 yards on 259 carries the past two seasons, Williams has transferred to the Phantoms, a place that annually produces 1000 yard - and sometimes 2000 yard - rushers. He's a bruiser that dos damage between the tackles and moves the chains.
Others in the Mix:
Senior Daijon Bland with the Salem SunDevils came on towards the end of 2012 and he'll probably carry that over into the start of the upcoming season. Over the last four games of the regular season, Bland rolled up 661 yards on the ground. Now much of the Salem offense will go through him.
Deep Creek's Armond Askew (2015) will be the central source of the Hornets' offense toating the rock. Askew has gotten plenty of exposure to running the ball on varsity the past two years and is primed for an uptick in his stats.
A factor running the ball each of the last two seasons, Woodside senior JayQuan Lassiter figures to be featured in Danny Dodson's ground attack even more as a senior with a shot to challenge for 1000 yards.
One of the fastest running backs around will be Booker T. Washington's Lamont Mayo (2014), who can also use that speed in the return game and catching passes out of the backfield.
If you're looking for a breakout running back, Great Bridge sophomore Tyain Smith fits the bill. For a sophomore, he's well-built at 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, and he's got the promise to be one of the rushing leaders in a Southeastern District with no shortage of quality backs.
Delveon Little (2016) of Maury ran for 725 yards and 8TD's during the regular season last year. His workload will certainly increase for his sophomore year.
Matthew Hatfield has covered Eastern Region Football since 2005 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related info and updates. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him on the VirginiaPreps.com Hour every Saturday at 11AM on ESPN Radio 94.1 and watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.