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#NVprepsfb top running back countdown — No. 1

Las Vegas High’s Elijah Hicks comes in at No. 1 on our #NVprepsfb list of Southern Nevada’s top five running backs.

To create the list, we spoke with coaches from the Sunrise and Sunset Regions in both Class 4A and 3A. 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.

This resulted in the #NVprepsfb running back rank. The list is based off high school productivity and not college or professional potential. Stay tuned for our wide receiver/pass catcher and defensive player lists that will be unveiled each week until the end of July.

#NVprepsfb Running Back Rank: Las Vegas High’s Elijah Hicks No. 1

Class

2018

Vitals

5 feet, 10 inches; 180 pounds

Honors

First-team All-Northeast League (2016, 2015, 2014); All-state honorable mention (2015)

Recruiting

Hicks has one scholarship offer from Adams State (Colorado). He also has received interest from California, Colorado, Florida State, San Diego State, Utah, Utah State and Washington, according to Rivals.com.

Last Year’s Stats

A four-year varsity player, Hicks rushed for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns on 108 attempts (7.1 yards per carry) last season while splitting carries with teammate DiQuan Brown. He also caught 10 passes for 195 yards and two scores. He will be looking to surpass 3,000 career rushing yards this fall for the Wildcats.

What they are saying?

— “He’s an explosive player,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s a touchdown waiting to happen. He’s done special things with the ball in his hand, and that’s something you can’t shy away from. He’s a kid that he can go to any school in the city and play there, start, and compete at a high level.”

— “Definitely, when I think about running backs in the valley, you can’t think of them without Hicks,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s definitely a playmaker. We have to game plan for a kid like that.”

— “He’s lightning,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He reminds me of (Desert Pines graduate) Isaiah (Morris). He can cut on a dime. The only problem with him is durability. He’s a smaller guy and he gets dinged up pretty good.”

— “He’s awesome,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s just athletic. Doesn’t have blazing speed, but he can cut without losing speed. Good vision. Competitor.”

— “He’ll shake you out of your shoes, but he’s not a downhill runner,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He finds a seam and cuts it up on you. He’s not a physical runner.”

— “He’s probably the best one,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s fast, strong … just really good.”

— “He probably is the best returner (in town),” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s quick, shifty and has the ability to reverse the field on you. He’s got great vision.”

— —

#NVprepsfb Running Back Rank: Arbor View’s Deago Stubbs No. 2

Class

2018

Vitals

6 feet, 2 inches; 170 pounds

Honors

All-state honorable mention (2016), second-team All-Northwest (2016)

Recruiting

Stubbs recently got his first scholarship offer from Southern Utah and is also receiving interest from Idaho, according to Rivals.com.

Last Year’s Stats

Stubbs rushed for 783 yards and six touchdowns on 138 carries (5.7 yards per carry) and caught 45 passes for 748 yards and 13 TDs last season to lead the Aggies to a Class 4A Northwest League title. He led the team in both categories.

What they are saying?

— “I love him. He’s a throwback,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He can play offense, defense. I have recruiters coming in and they ask me about him and I tell them all he can play. He’s a pain in the ass for us. That kid plays football. He’s a football player.”

— “He’s a stud,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “I remember when he was a sophomore, the kid who was their starter got hurt, and he came in and rushed for like 200 yards. He’s going to be good, for sure.”

— “He’s another one who’s just an athlete,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He can catch and he’s just a quiet ‘Yes sir, no sir’ kid. He makes big plays. He was their guy you had to worry about on offense.”

— “I felt he was a good running back, but didn’t see a lot of what everybody was saying about him,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “With the offense they run, it’s hard to gauge a kid like that — big lineman, they run a double wing, they’re playing a team much smaller than them, and you don’t know who’s touching the ball. It’s hard to evaluate. He’s got good speed and handles it all very well. He’s a very productive back.”

— “We prefer him at running back. He’s more dangerous as a receiver,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He’s a Swiss Army Knife-type player. They use him a lot. Real valuable athlete. Doesn’t do any one thing spectacular, but does everything really, really good.”

— “I think primarily his position at the next level would be as a wide receiver, but he shows he can do a lot for them, and he’s definitely one where you have to know where he is at all times,” one Sunset Region football coach said.

— —

#NVprepsfb Running Back Rank: Virgin Valley’s Jayden Perkins No. 3

Class

2018

Vitals

6 feet, 2 inches; 185 pounds

Honors

All-state honorable mention (2016), Class 3A Sunrise League Player of the Year (2016); Class 3A first-team all-state (2016), first-teamAll-Southern Region (2016)

Recruiting

Perkins has no formal scholarship offers, but has received interest from Brigham Young, UNLV and Utah, according to Scout.com.

Last Year’s Stats

Perkins rushed for 1,369 yards and 16 touchdowns on 276 attempts last season to lead the Bulldogs to a Class 3A Sunrise League title.He also had 113 yards receiving and a score on nine catches and was a standout linebacker for Virgin Valley.

What they are saying?

— “You knew he was going to get the ball on offense, and he was their best player on defense,” one Sunset Region football coach said.“He never got tired, never stopped playing, and played every down like it was the very first play of the game. He got after it. I was veryimpressed. For a small-town kid, you kind of have to expect that. I want to say something bad about him, but the kid is good. I don’tknow if he’ll play Division I football, but he could definitely play at a small school and be productive.”

— “He’s definitely a physical, strong kid,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s probably got a chance to be our league’s MVPagain. Right now, he’s probably the best player (in Class 3A).”

— “Very powerful and durable,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He’s the kind of kid that runs 40 times a game. He basicallywon them that (Sunrise) division last year, which is a big deal. They put a lot of weight on his shoulders. He’s their workouse. I can seehim playing Division II somewhere. He just doesn’t have that breakaway, elite speed that they’re looking for.”

— “He’s a dude,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s one of the best players in our league coming back. From what Iunderstand, he’s put on 10 or 15 pounds and should be a real handful for everybody.”

— “Stud kid,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s one of those kids that has everything.”

— —

#NVprepsfb Running Back Rank: Del Sol’s Taariq Flowers No. 4

Class

2018

Vitals

5 feet, 9 inches; 185 pounds

Honors

All-state honorable mention (2016); second-team All-Southern Region (2016); first-team All-Sunrise Region (2016)

Recruiting

N/A

Last Year’s Stats

Flowers rushed for 1,282 yards and 10 touchdowns on 178 attempts (7.2 yards per carry) last season to lead the Dragons to their firstplayoff appearance since 2010. In a 39-7 road win over Boulder City, he ran for 290 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.

What they are saying?

— “He’s shifty, strong, very talented,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “I’d take the Flowers kid over (Virgin Valley’s JaydenPerkins). He has top speed and he’s very elusive.”

— “He’s good,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “I saw him in a passing league and I was like, ‘Damn, who is that kid?”

— “He was pretty good,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “For them, it all depends on what they have up front.”

— “He was one last year where you watch film and game plan,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “And he was a hurt a couplegames. You’re like ‘Man how did they not beat this team?’ Then you look and see (that) he was out and you go, ‘Oh, different team.’He’s going to be a stud.”

— “I definitely feel like in the (Class) 3A, he’s one of the better returners, for sure.”

— —

#NVprepsfb Running Back Rank: Bishop Gorman’s Amod Cianelli No. 5

Class

2019

Vitals

5 feet, 10 inches; 185 pounds

Honors

N/A

Recruiting

N/A

Last Year’s Stats

Cianelli rushed for 793 yards and five touchdowns on 105 carries (7.6 yards per carry) as a backup to California signee Biaggio Ali Walshlast season to help Gorman win its eight consecutive state title and third straight mythical national championship. He ran for 116 yardsand a touchdown in a highly-publicized matchup with St. John Bosco (California), and added 157 yards on 23 carries versus Kahuku(Hawaii) last season.

What they are saying?

— “We got a taste of him after Biaggio (Ali Walsh) got his 175 (yards) against us,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He’s smallerin stature, but more of a powerful runner than Ali Walsh. I don’t feel like he has that breakaway speed, but he can run through a fewguys. If he gets loose, he can take it, and with (Kirby Bennett) gone, he’ll get his chance.”

— “He was impressive,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He got some good playing time last year when Biaggio (Ali Walsh) wasbanged up. He’s athletic and can break tackles when he has to. It just seems like they keep reloading.”

— “Everybody got to see a glimpse of what he was capable of,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “I don’t see (Bishop Gorman)skipping a beat.”

To get involved in the discussion, use #NVprepsfb on Twitter. You also can follow along @nevadapreps.

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