Sports Recruiters presents a list of the top senior running backs in Central Pennsylvania. These players are considered the top players in Central PA according to Sports Recruiters and college coaches across the country. I have seen most of these prospects play in-person.
This eight-part series will take a look at the area’s top quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers/tight ends, linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, underclassmen, top newcomers, as well as a list of honorable mention student-athletes.
Bill Williams – Running Back – 5’6”, 170 – Camp Hill H.S.
Williams is one of the most scintillating and explosive athletes in the area. Bill may be lacking in ideal size but he definitely makes up for it in terms of athletic talent. He darted for 1,203 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground and over 500 yards receiving to go along with 8 touchdown receptions last season. Williams has great quickness, excellent acceleration, and outstanding change of direction. Bill is extremely elusive in the open field and has the speed to hit the home run on any given play. He was selected as one of Sports Recruiters Combine Showcase’s overall co-MVP’s this past spring and displayed his fantastic speed, running a blazing 4.39 hand-held forty-yard dash time to claim the fastest man title at the combine showcase. Williams was a 2015 Second-Team Mid-Penn Capital Division all-star selection as an athlete and was nominated for the Mr. PA Football Class A/AA award in 2015. He is one of the most complete football players in the mid-state and is receiving heavy interest from FCS programs in the region as well as interest from FBS colleges including West Virginia and others.
Tyler Horst – Running Back/Linebacker – 6’1”, 220 – Elco H.S.
The powerfully built Horst is a workhorse in the Raiders backfield. Tyler, a two-way ace, bulldozed for 1,345 yards and scored 16 touchdowns in 2015. He should exceed those numbers this fall with another tremendous season as Elco’s feature back. Horst is a physical runner who combines having good instincts with excellent balance, speed, and vision. Tyler has garnered the interest of several FCS colleges in the region, and Division II programs are definitely taking notice and vigorously waiting in line. He was nominated for the Mr. PA Football Class AAA/AAAA award in 2015 and was a 2015 First-Team Lancaster-Lebanon Section 3 all-star at running back.
Bryan Malone – Running Back– 5’9”, 180 – Boiling Springs H.S.
Bryan, a rising senior, is one of the area’s leading returning rushers which is a great achievement in its own right. Malone had outstanding numbers last year rushing for nearly 1,400 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns. He is a wonderful running back who demonstrates good speed, strength, vision, and instincts. Bryan is a battling ram in the Bubblers backfield and gets stronger as the game goes on. The shifty Malone is starting to catch the attention of more college programs across the region; Bryan recently received a scholarship offer from Millersville, and he’s been in contact with several FCS programs. Malone was nominated for the Mr. PA Football Class A/AA award in 2015 and was a 2015 First-Team Mid-Penn Capital Division all-star selection at running back.
Jaelen Thompson – Running Back – 5’11”, 185 – Middletown Area H.S.
The shifty Thompson burst on the scene rushing for 1,132 yards last year and will surely improve upon those numbers this fall. Jaelen changes directions exceptionally well and has very good vision. He is explosive, accelerates smoothly, and can make defenders miss in the open field. Thompson is definitely one of the top talents in Central PA, and colleges are definitely taking notice of his talents which include his excellent combination of speed, balance, and strength. Jaelen added weight and improved his strength in the off-season which should garner even more attention of the FCS programs across the region. Even though he shared the bulk of the carries last season with Brady Fox, he was still was able to reach the endzone 13 times. Thompson was a 2015 First-Team Mid-Penn Capital Division all-star selection at running back, and he is expected to again share the carries this year as Fox is back as his running mate. One can only speculate the statistics Thompson would accumulate if he was the feature back in the Blue Raiders offense.
Jahad Jeffers – Running Back/Linebacker – 5’11”, 225 – Garden Spot H.S.
The versatile Jeffers is a thoroughbred in the Spartans backfield. Jahad rambled for 1,263 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in 2015. He is a strong runner who has the combination of great size and fine speed to go along with tremendous balance, and vision. Jahad is currently receiving a lot of attention from FCS programs. The powerful Jeffers hits the running lanes quickly and shows good burst in getting to the second and third level. He averaged a remarkable 7.5 yards per tote last fall. Jahad was nominated for the Mr. PA Football Class AAA/AAAA award in 2015 and was a 2015 First-Team Lancaster-Lebanon Section 2 all-star at running back.
Justin Johnson – Running Back – 5’7”, 195 – Red Land H.S.
Justin is one of the most exciting and shifty athletes in the area. The compact built Johnson has good speed, acceleration, and change of direction which has caught the eye of numerous Division II and III colleges in the off-season. He piled up 1,238 yards on 230 workmanlike carries with 11 touchdowns last year and those numbers should only increase this year. Justin is slippery in the open field and also has the power to run through tackles and gain yards after contact. Johnson has fine vision, balance, quickness, and is very explosive downfield. He was nominated for the Mr. PA Football Class AAA/AAAA award in 2015 and was a 2015 Second-Team Mid-Penn Keystone Division all-star selection at running back.