*South Charleston’s Mondrell Dean and Cabell Midland’s Jackson Fetty will be listed at another position
49 – Evan Tewell (Jefferson) 2023
50 – Isaiah Smith (Lincoln County) 2022
54 – Jace Caldwell (Spring Valley) 2022
5. Shawn James
James has slightly been forgotten due to Capital’s state-low of three games played in 2020. That should not detract from what he put on film as a freshman and sophomore. He has a good build and acceptable athleticism. Over his early years he showed a lot of intuition in the backfield with being patient, following blocks, and going north-south at the first opportunity. James should have a ‘breakout’ season this year returning as a senior on an always talented Cougar offense.
4. Amellio Miller
The Black Eagle pool of talent does not seem to be drying up anytime soon. Miller fought for touches all 2020 on the top offense in AAA that featured multiple players headed for college rosters. He did enough to check several boxes with his film. Already a decent size for a back his age, his acceleration is very advanced. This cutting speed is a perfect compliment to the high-powered South Charleston pass game. Miller should continue to accumulate more touches and. in doing so, grow in all aspects.
3. Joey Ramsey
Ramsey took the lead for the Vikings in 2020- helping to be the horse of a team only returning three starters. He performed and then some. With incredible size for a runningback, let alone a sophomore, he was a punishing runner in between the tackles. Ramsey has pretty well-adapted speed and agility for his size which just add a layer to his abilities- also finding ways to damage in the passing game. As with other young and big high school backs, Ramsey should be an excellent H-back type prospect by the time he is a senior.
2. Amari Felder
Felder made it on our sleeper list going into his tenth grade year and exceeded those expectations. He became a key leader for a young and ever-improving Highlander team in 2020. Though a tad short, he appears to be both developed in the weightroom and on the track. Felder could be ranked in the Top 5 as a defensive back as well but offense seemed more fitting as he really asserted himself as a three-down back. He fights for yards, usually causes at least one missed tackle, and has the speed to turn three yards into six- and maybe even more.
1. Braxton Todd
Todd has been a noteworthy linebacker prospect since his freshman year, however, his offensive film as a junior was beyond impressive. He will be the only runningback or wide receiver we have seen that has that next-level speed separation from his opponents. Blended with a 200-pound frame and an 89 rating (the highest rating awarded yet) is earned. Last year he split time with two first-team all-state backs, and it will be exciting to see what damage he can do with three times the touches. Do not be misled either, he is a serious candidate for the best defensive player in the state as well. It will be surprising if he does not acquire a few high-level offers by August.
Keep An Eye Out
Todd will not be alone as the Bulldog pipeline of athletes continues pumping. Xavion Kendall (2023) is a perfect scatback-type with track speed and a gift for agility. Xadrian Snodgrass (2022) has been a useful back for Parkersburg but has gotten overshadowed at times due to their successful pass offense. In the Kanawha Valley, two programs continuing their rise will have hard-running backs worthy of note: Hunter Payne of St. Alban’s (2022) and Jacob Wisen of Riverside (2023). We plan to see several more breakouts during the 2021 season.