WHAT COLLEGE COACHES LOOK FOR IN A DIVISION ONE PLAYER: RUNNING BACK
Much like the wide receiver position, the evaluation of the running back position at the high school level is often entirely based on speed. College is a fast paced game in which speed kills. In most high power programs throughout nation speed is coveted, but there are other qualities.
Qualities such as quickness through the hole, run vision, pick and slide, good balance, and change of direction skills are every bit as important.
While speed is nice, quickness is the greatest asset a back can have. There are a lot of great running backs at the college level that lack great speed, but have exceptional quickness.
Also today's running backs must be versatile enough to have run skills and catch the ball out of the backfield. Most offenses today use a spread offense which utilizes a back with the ability to split out wide and create matchups in the passing game. It also helps if they have some skills as return specialists.
There are plenty of other areas used to judge running backs. Which are listed below. Please use these areas as a list to work on. These skills become evident on film or in person at games and combines for high school players. Fortunately some of these traits can be taught and honed over time with assistance of a personal trainer.
Coaches will evaluate the running backs on the following criteria:
1. Inside Runner: Can they pick and slide? Do they have the vision to be quick to the hole? Do they show the ability to cut back?
2. Outside Runner: Do they have the speed to turn the corner? Do they make sharp and quick cutbacks? Are they a home-run threat?
3. Elusive Runner: Can they avoid tackles and constantly avoid taking big hits? How is their change of direction? Do they have good moves in space? How is their overall vision?
4. Power Runner: Do they run with good balance? Do they break tackles, or do they go down on first contact? Do they fall forward after contact?
5. Blocker: Are they willing to be a blocker? How are their instincts in pass protection? Can they run block?
6. Hands, Routes: Can they make both easy and tough catches out of the backfield? Do they have fumble problems? Do they expose the ball too often, and are the problems correctable?
7. Durability: Can they take a hit? Do they show the toughness to stay in a game when not 100 percent healthy? Do they wear down too much over the course of a game?
8. Running Style: Are they a slasher, darter or power back? Do they show the ability to kick it into a second gear?
9. Size and Strength:
10. Do they run with leverage? Here we are referring to pad level when running the ball and being exposed to contact.
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