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Nevada Preps running back countdown — No. 1

Desert Pines’ Cameron Wiley comes in at No. 1 on our list of Southern Nevada’s top five running backs.

To create the list, we spoke with coaches from the Mountain and Desert Regions. A couple of the base questions were: “Who is the top high school running back today?” and “Who would you pick to start a team?”

Then we grabbed the statistics from last season, looked at the player’s collective rankings on recruiting websites and used our own judgment to fill holes.

Stay tuned for our wide receiver/pass catcher and defensive player lists that will be unveiled each week until the end of July.

Nevada Preps Running Back Rank: Desert Pines’ Cameron Wiley No. 1

Class

2019

Vitals

6 feet, 2 inches; 205 pounds

Honors

N/A

Recruiting

A three-star recruit according to 247sports.com and Rivals.com, Wiley has scholarship offers from more than a dozen teams, including Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Brigham Young.

Last year’s stats

Wiley was ineligible to play as a junior after transferring from Silverado.

What they are saying

— “I had a chance to see him at UNLV’s passing camp,” a Mountain Region coach said. “He’s the real deal. He has the speed (and) explosiveness.”

— “He’s probably better than both (their RBs) last year,” a Mountain Region coach said. “He’s a 6-2, 205-pound, 4.4 running back who is being heavily recruited by schools like Oregon and Minnesota. He’s a big-time talent that we expect to have a breakout year.”

— “Cameron is going to probably surprise a lot of people,” a Mountain Region coach said. “He’s definitely a speed guy. When it comes to Cameron, he’s just a competitor, as well. He’s a workhorse, too.”

Nevada Preps Running Back Rank: Arbor View’s Kyle Graham No. 2

Class

2019

Vitals

5 feet, 11 inches; 170 pounds

Honors

All-state honorable mention (2017); All-Northwest League first team (2017)

Recruiting

N/A

Last year’s stats

Graham was the team’s fullback in its’ double-wing offense and was third on the team with 634 rushing yards. He averaged 9.5 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for a team-high 271 yards and five scores.

What they are saying

— “He definitely was productive,” a Mountain Region coach said. “It kind of is what it is with their system.”

— “He’s a patient runner,” a Mountain Region coach said. “He runs trap extremely well for them, but he’s dangerous out of the backfield. He can go up and get it. Once he’s got the ball in open space, you can forget about it.”

— “He’s a good football player. The valley just had a tough time defending that offense,” a Desert Region coach said. “His scout film looks really good. It’s just as far as playing against them, I don’t think much of their scheme.”

— “He’s a tough runner,” a Mountain Region coach said. “With that system they always have a quality offensive lines. He should have another great year.”

Nevada Preps Running Back Rank: Bishop Gorman’s Amod Cianelli No. 3

Class

2019

Vitals

5 feet, 10 inches; 195 pounds

Honors

N/A

Recruiting

N/A

Last Year’s Stats

Cianelli just missed 1,000 yards, leading the Gaels with 997 rushing yards on 163 carries. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry and scored 19 rushing TDs. He also caught 12 passes for 98 yards and a TD.

What they are saying

— “The numbers come with the surrounding cast,” a Desert Region coach said. “We’re at a spot right now that Bishop Gorman is a mental thing more than anything with these kids. If you’re going to stop a running back like that you’ve got to believe you can get the job done.”

— ”He’s just a solid, really good high school football running back,” a Desert Region coach said. “He has great vision. He’s got above-average speed. One of the things that Gorman does to you, they make it pretty much impossible to take away one thing … We’ll see how it plays out this year … If they have a (big-time) passing game, then he’s going to flourish on the ground for sure.”

— “I think he’s a very good back,” a Mountain Region coach said. “Always downhill, always falls forward. Great balance. He’s not a flashy player, but he gets the job done.”

Nevada Preps Running Back Rank: Durango’s Tau Fotu No. 4

Class

2019

Vitals

5 feet, 9 inches; 185 pounds

Honors

All-state honorable mention (2017); All-Southwest League first team (2017, 2016 at OLB); All-Southwest Team second team (2017 at RB)

Recruiting

N/A

Last year’s stats

A two-way standout, Fotu led Durango with 1,011 rushing yards on 107 carries (9.5 yards per carry). He rushed for six touchdowns and caught eight passes for 93 yards. On defense, he led the Trailblazers with 65 tackles.

What they are saying

— “His big thing is his acceleration,” a Desert Region coach said. “His acceleration is at the top of the city, no doubt.”

— “He’s a good back,” a Desert Region coach said. “I think he’s a three-year starter. He’ll be a really solid player for them.”

— “He has all the swag as a player,” a Mountain Region coach said. “He’s an ultimate competitor out there. He plays at a high level every play.”

Nevada Preps Running Back Rank: Canyon Springs’ Jayvion Pugh No. 5

Class

2019

Vitals

5 feet, 9 inches; 180 pounds

Honors

All-Northeast League second team (2017); All-Northeast League first team (2016)

Recruiting

N/A

Last Year’s Stats

Pugh was Canyon Springs’ second-leading rusher with 69 carries for 597 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 203 yards and a score.

What they are saying

— “He’s definitely one of the top ones,” a Mountain Region coach said. “He’s a leader. He’s the total package.”

— “Very athletic,” a Desert Region coach said. “If they got some of those (offensive linemen) guys coming back, that’ll definitely help him.”

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