ATLANTA - Our look at the best high school football players in Georgia continues today with 10 running backs.
Remember that these are not recruiting rankings. These players have been selected primarily on their high school production and their value to their high school teams.
Let us know who you think we missed.
- Kwan Brooks, Monroe Area: Brooks rushed for 1,916 yards and 18 touchdowns for a 12-2 team in 2012. It was Monroe Area’s first trip to the state semifinals. Brooks had seven touchdown runs of longer than 50 yards. Brooks is 5-9, 165. He’s not getting the same recruiting attention as his backfield mate, quarterback Stanton Truitt, but that will change if he gets his academics in order.
- Kawon Bryant, North Oconee: A rising junior, Bryant played only seven games last season on a 10-2 team because of injuries. He for 1,146 yards and 14 touchdowns. He rushed for 204 yards against Jefferson as a freshman.
- Esaias Chapman, Harris County: Chapman rushed for 2,124 yards and scored 22 touchdowns for a team that finished 8-5 and lost to eventual champion Gainesville in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. He was a big reason that the team won eight straight after an 0-8 start. He’s 5-9, 190. He is being recruited by East Carolina and Pitt, although neither has offered.
- Nick Chubb, Cedartown: Chubb rushed for 2,721 yards and 38 touchdowns on 312 carries in his record-setting junior season. He did it in 10 games, as Cedartown failed to make the playoffs. It’s the best regular season for rushing yards in state history. Only two Georgia running backs have hit 3,000 yards rushing in a season. They are Daccus Turman and Herschel Walker. Chubb is the consensus top running recruit in the state.
- Jeremiah Kirkland, Lovejoy: Kirkland rushed for 2,007 yards and scored 26 touchdowns on 263 carries (over 20 per game) last season for Landmark Christian, which made the Class A private semifinals. Now he’s at Class AAAAAA runner-up Lovejoy, where he’ll help fill the graduation void of Travis Custis (Georgia Tech).
- Treyvon Paulk, Milton: Paulk rushed for more than 1,100 yards last season and scored 17 touchcdowns. It would’ve been much more except that Milton’s feature back was Peyton Barber (1,713 yards), who signed with Auburn. Paulk, who is 5-10, 190, is committed to Tennessee.
- Dallas Rivers, Stephenson: Rivers rushed for 1,110 yards and scored 14 touchdowns on 163 carries last season for Tucker while sharing the load in the Wing T. He transferred in January to Stephenson, which could make him the focus of the offense. Rivers has committed to Vanderbilt.
- Rodney Smith, Mundy’s Mill: Smith tore an ACL in the first half of the ninth game last season. He already had 196 yards on seven carries in the game. He wound up with 1,575 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season, averaging 9.2 yards per carry. His team finished 4-6, which helps keep Smith under the radar. “Rodney is an SEC running back,’’ said his coach, Greg Manior. “Everybody is just waiting to see [about his knee]. He’s 80 percent, still doing therapy. He hopes to be ready end of July, start of August. Whoever gives him a shot is going to get a steal.’’ Georgia Tech, Georgia and Virginia Tech are among those that have visited and expressed interest.
- Eric Swinney, Sandy Creek: Swinney rushed for 1,414 yards and 23 touchdowns on 161 carries (8.8 ypc) as a sophomore on a state championship team. Perhaps the top junior RB prospect in the state, Swinney has offers from Minnesota, Tennessee, Ole Miss, UNC, N.C. State, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech.
- Stanley Williams, George Walton Academy: Williams rushed for 1,948 yards and 24 touchdowns on 182 carries (over 10 ypc) in 2012 as George Walton advanced to the Class A private semifinals. He’s 5-8, 185. He had the fastest 100-meters time in the state this year at 10.92 seconds. Williams has several major college offers and once was committed to Georgia.