Last season a very solid group of skill players brought their game to the football fields of Colorado. Many of those talented, runners, receivers and quarterbacks will take their game to the next level for various D1 programs starting this upcoming fall. With the absence of players such as Nigel Nelson and Phil Morelli, a new crop of running backs for the class of 2008 should emerge to see if they can fill the void. Here is a quick look at some of the running backs to keep an eye on.
Darius Turner has seen adversity, after Hurricane Katrina, the 6'0 190 pound running back found a home at Doherty High School in Colorado springs. With 4.4 speed and good size, and the ability to make people miss, Turner is the latest edition of recent Doherty backs to post big yards. Last season, for the Spartans, Turner rushed for 1,800 yards and twenty-four scores. With a seasoned offensive line in front of him, look for Turner to flirt with the 2,000 yard mark for the Doherty this upcoming season.
Along with Turner, Colorado boasts a solid group of returning senior backs. Ryan Misare of Douglas County banged his way to over 1,400 yards and eighteen touchdowns last season as Douglas County went 11-2. Other runners from the Continental league looking to build on last year's success are Eric Longoria of Mountain Vista. Longoria rushed for 1,600 yards and fifteen scores. Also in the Continental League is Ryan Skogg of Heritage. When you talk to players from the Continental League, Skogg's name is often mentioned as one of the best. At 5'10 170 pounds Skoggs does not have prototypical size, but his stats speak for the themselves. Last season, Skogg rushed for 1,655 yards and sixteen touchdowns.
Of the players listed, the one returning with the most yards is Bo Bolen of Grandview. Last season for the Wolves, Bolen rushed for over 1,800 yards, helping to lead his team to a 9-2 record in the tough Centennial League.
When it comes to running the ball, speed kills and all of the above runners have speed, but few may be quicker than Jonathan Gaye of Mullen and Jesse Lewis of Loveland. Last season, Gaye was injured and Mullen was well stocked at running back as Phil Morelli rushed for over 2,000 yards. This season may give Gaye his shot. With sprinters speed, good size and one of the best returning lines in the state Gaye could be poised for a break out season this upcoming fall. Along with Gaye, Jesse Lewis of Loveland has speed to burn. Only 5'6 and 161 pounds, Lewis is a threat as a runner, receiver and kick returner. Last year for the Indians, who were the runners up in 4A, Lewis rushed for 1,199 yards, had over 300 receiving yards and was a constant threat as a returner. With the graduation of Daniel Freismuth, Lewis should see more carries this upcoming season.
This group along with others from across the state, should make for exciting gridiron action in Colorado this fall.