To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended. The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined). Not on the list? Good thing it’s not even preseason yet. Prove us right or prove us wrong.
Without further ado…
Trey Sine (Martinsburg) 2020
Caden Easterling (Riverside) 2020
Tyler Moler (Parkesburg) 2019
Christian Hill (Hurricane) 2020
#5 Blake Hartman
HT/WT: 6’0 / 175 lbs
Just as the school’s all-time leading rusher departs, a new one stands ready to take his place. Last season Hartman made an immediate impact as a freshman. Though a little skinny at the moment, Hartman has great shiftiness. This is what allowed him to rush for over 1000 yards and catch for another 600+. He is a do-it-all back that is only going to get better and better. Look for him as a shoe-in for all-state.
#4 Quisean Gray
HT/WT: 5’11 / 185 lbs
Gray might get a little overshadowed with the immense amount of talent on the Cougar offense, but we notice. He might have the best jump cuts of any runner in the state. Plenty of the times it seems that he’ll just have to lower his shoulder and take three-yards, but he somehow manages to jive out of it for a 20+ yard game. Gray should have an awesome senior season and be integral in a loaded offense.
#3 Owen Chafin
School: Spring Valley
HT/WT: 5’10 / 190 lbs
In 2017, Chafin battled some injuries and battled for carries in a deep backfield. With a new quarterback and only one other primary runningback, Chafin will get the load he wants. He is a little shorter in size, but he possesses great straight-line speed and enough strength to break a lot of tackles. You match this up with a run-happy system and arguably the best offensive line in the state and watch out.
#2 Dewayne Grantham
HT/WT: 6’0 / 185 lbs
Grantham heads into the 2018 year already as a Mountaineer. Similar to former Bulldog, Deamonte Lindsay, he will most likely play defense at the next level but for now, his main load is in the backfield. Grantham has the deepest skill set of any of the players on the list. He doesn’t rely on juking, trucking, stiff arming, or spinning- he does them all in a creative fashion. With a new quarterback and amtough out-of-state schedule, his responsibilities will be at an all-time high.
#1 Ivan Vaughn
School: Cabell Midland
HT/WT: 5’9 / 185 lbs
Our top runningback going into the season is Ivan Vaughn. This kid is something special to watch on film. His best feature is his attitude when running the ball. Usually found in more experienced backs, once he sees a lane he will plant his foot and go. When he does that he has the low-built strength and both great speed/agility to escape an allure of tacklers. He’s been doing it since a sophomore. Time to eat.
Who did we miss? Let us know! We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids! Our next Feature Five Friday will take on the top returning runningbacks in AA/A! Let us know who should be in there!