As the 2010 prep football season approaches, the Times will break down each position in the county. Today we take a look at running back.
1. Rashad Lewis, St. Petersburg: Used more as a complementary back last season, Lewis will be thrust into the spotlight as the Green Devils’ featured ball carrier this fall. Blessed with great speed and vision, Lewis has the potential to reach 2,000 yards considering his offensive line returns nearly intact and St. Petersburg plays just three teams that had winning records last season. He already showed what he could do in the spring with 235 yards rushing and three touchdowns vs. Countryside.
2. Darius Daniels, Tarpon Springs: Though he split time with Adrian Golden last season, Daniels still rushed for more than 1,000 yards. Now that Golden is gone, Daniels will be workhorse. He showed in the spring that he can handle the load with more than 100 yards rushing and nearly 50 receiving against Lakeland.
3. Emmanuel Stewart, Gibbs: As a freshman, Stewart earned a starting spot and gave the ground game enough oomph to keep the Gladiators balanced. Stewart will have a more prominent role this year in a ball-control offense.
4. Tavares Dunlap, Northeast: Because of injuries and ineffectiveness, the Vikings’ ground game didn’t get on track last year. That should change, with Dunlap leading the way.
5. Mike Smith, Pinellas Park: The Patriots’ top returning rusher, Smith added bulk so he can be counted on again this season.
6. Byronton Jackson, Lakewood: A heavy dose of carries will likely go to Jackson, who showed flashes of brilliance in a limited role a year ago.
7. Trevor Sand, Seminole: A bruising runner, Sand can line up as a tailback or fullback and gain the tough yards between the tackles.
8. Kelvin Smarwt, Boca Ciega: The Pirates will use a backfield by committee with Denzal Dillard and Caleb McCullough also getting carries. But Smarwt will get the start based on his experience.
Top private school backs
1. James Goodwin and Brent O’Neal, Canterbury: They each ran for 1,000 yards last season and form one of the best rushing tandems, public or private, in the county.
2. Justin Goodloe, Clearwater Central Catholic: Taking over as a full-time starter at tailback, Goodloe is poised for a breakout season.
3. Toddrick Macon, Admiral Farragut: With speed to get around the edge, Macon is the best weapon in a talented backfield.
4. Jeremy Smith, Northside Christian: The small but sturdy runner has big shoes to fill, replacing 1,000-yard rusher Chris Culbreth.
5. Jules Jouffroy, Shorecrest: Had a monster game in the spring with three scores against Bradenton Christian.
Keep an eye on
1. Jace Browne, Osceola: With Edwin McKinney graduating, Browne becomes the Warriors’ top ball carrier and could reach 1,000 yards.
2. Joey Lombardi, Countryside: Another back who replaces a big-time star (Alton Taylor), Lombardi switches from receiver and should have big holes to run through behind a massive offensive line.
3. Bennie Niles, Clearwater: Because of his versatility, the Tornadoes plan to put Niles in the backfield as a rushing/receiving threat.
4. Claxton Boykin, Largo: The former youth league standout hopes to become the next in a long list of stellar runners at the school.
5. Tyler Lane, East Lake: Eagles coach Bob Hudson likes his new tailback, who takes over for Jamaal Wilburn.
6. Kenny Blanch, Palm Harbor University: A shifty back, Blanch should post better numbers this year running behind a more experienced O-line.
7. Trevonte Anderson, Dunedin: The Falcons plan to go with a more traditional, run-oriented attack, and Anderson will be a key component.
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