Who’s the top running back in Texas high school football? Which back will spend the most time in the end zone this season, and who will lead the state in rushing yards this year?
We’ll aim to answer these questions and more by breaking down the top 10 players at every position in Class 6A, 5A and 1A-4A/Private Schools throughout the 2021 Texas high school football season.
Last week we ranked the top 10 running backs across Texas in Class 6A. Now we’ll count down the top 10 rushers in Class 5A throughout Texas high school football this season:
MORE POSITIONAL RANKINGS:
RUNNING BACKS — Class 6A Top 10 RBs
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TOP 10 CLASS 5A RUNNING BACKS
1. Tavorus Jones, El Paso Burges
Jones leads this list as El Paso’s leading returning rusher this season. He ran for 466 yards and eight touchdowns on 45 carries during a condensed six-game season due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jones, however, has been making a name for himself as one of the toughest runners in West Texas since bursting onto the high school football scene as a sophomore in 2019. That’s when he was named District 2-5A DII’s All-Purpose Athlete of the Year and ran for 1,134 yards and scored 15 rushing touchdowns on 116 carries as the workhorse back in Burges’ backfield. He’s also demonstrated his ability to be a dangerous pass-catching option by tallying a combined 42 receptions for 701 yards and eight receiving TDs as a sophomore and junior. Jones has hauled in 26 total offers from DI programs like Alabama, Florida, Michigan and USC among many others, and committed to Missouri in early July shortly after being offered by the Tigers during an official visit to Columbia. Jones, a four-star recruit, has been ranked by 247 Sports as a one of the top 30 Class of 2022 prospects throughout Texas and a top 15 running back recruit nationally. He should vy for the state’s overall rushing title this year as one of the most dynamic and experienced backs at any level of Texas high school football with a chance to hit 3,000 career rushing yards before the end of the season. Jones has already run for 495 yards and five TDs on 58 carries and caught 14 passes for 327 yards and three receiving touchdowns through four games this fall.
2. Jadarian Price, Denison
Price checks in as the top North Texas running back on this list and one of the most experienced backs around the state with 525 career carries under his belt. He’s entering his fourth season as Denison’s primary rusher and bell-cow back ready to cap off a prolific career. Price rushed for 1,421 yards and 16 touchdowns on 210 carries during a sensational freshman year that netted him District 7-5A DII’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year award. He continued upping his game by earning his first career first team all-district nod after accounting for 711 yards and four total touchdowns. Denison’s star back outdid himself again in 2020, topping the 1,000-yard mark on the ground again and boasting new career highs in rushing TDs (18) and yards per carry (6.6). Price, a four-star recruit, is regarded as one of the 40 seniors throughout the state and a top 25 running back prospect nationally. He has collected offers from 19 different DI programs, but closed his recruitment by committing to Notre Dame in late February.
3. Dareion Murphy, Floresville
Murphy, the first South Texas player to earn a spot on this list, has been a speedy, explosive threat out of the backfield for Floresville since his earliest days on campus. He ran 45 times for 293 yards and a touchdown in his debut season as a freshman, but missed the entirety of the following season. Murphy rebounded with an incredible junior year in which he topped the 100-yard mark on the ground in seven of nine games. He tallied 1,664 rushing yards and 22 TDs on 245 carries as well as 164 yards and a receiving touchdown on 17 catches to earn honorable mention all-state recognition from the Texas Sports Writers Association in 2020. He’s come roaring back again for the Tigers as a senior this fall with 115 rushing yards or more in four consecutive games to start the season. Murphy has already rushed for 585 yards and 11 TDS — including a six-touchdown performance during Floresville’s season-opening win over San Antonio Antonian — so far this year as the most dangerous 5A back in Region IV. Murphy is rated by 247 Sports as a three-star recruit and one of the top 160 Class of 2022 prospects around Texas. He committed to Princeton after receiving offers from 26 DI programs including all three service academies and six of eight Ivy League schools among many others.
4. Major Everhart, Amarillo Tascosa
Everhart is one of the fastest backs to make an appearance on this list as an established track star. He finished sixth in the 100-meter dash finals and fifth in the 200 during the 5A state meet last spring. That quickness has translated well to the gridiron for Everhart, who now enters his third year as an elusive ball carrier with game-breaking speed in Amarillo Tascosa’s offense. His debut season featured 816 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 52 carries as well as 154 receiving yards and two TDs on four catches as a sophomore in 2019. That performance helped Everhart land the first of back-to-back first team all-district selections in District 2-6A in 2019 and 2-5A DI in 2020. He ran 70 times for 831 yards and eight rushing touchdowns as a junior and his elite speed also secured him a TSWA honorable mention all-state selection as a kick returner. Everhart is ranked as a three-star prospect by 247 Sports as well as one of the top 100 players around the state in the 2022 recruiting class. He’s received interest on the recruiting trail from powerhouse college programs across the country drawing offers from 18 schools so far. He has taken official visits to Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech in June and visited Notre Dame last weekend during Tascosa’s bye week, but remains one of the top uncommitted backs throughout Texas high school football
5. Isaiah Broadway, Lancaster
Broadway played his first two seasons of varsity football at Carrollton Hebron, where he made a big splash right away. He earned District 6-6A’s Co-Newcomer of the Year as a freshman and finished his two-year stint at Hebron with 1,056 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 207 carries as well as 23 catches for 269 yards and two receiving TDs. Broadway transferred to Lancaster in time for his junior year and tallied 12 carries for 203 yards and four touchdowns on the ground before his 2020 campaign was cut short by injuries. That hasn’t stopped him from hauling in offers though. Broadway, a three-star prospect, currently holds 18 offers from DI programs including Baylor, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Utah and Washington State among others, but remains uncommitted. According to 247 Sports, Broadway is regarded as one of the top 50 running back recruits nationally and a top 100 player within the state of Texas in the 2022 recruiting class. He should be in line for his first 1,000+ yard year as the versatile featured back on a Lancaster squad looking to defend its district title in a big bounce-back season.
6. Kedrick Reescano, New Caney
Reescano is the first Houston area running back to clock in on this list and he’s one of the top junior backs throughout Texas high school football. He announced his presence as New Caney’s newest backfield standout loudly by running for 1,157 yards and 14 touchdowns on 152 carries to help lead the Eagles to a 5-6 record and bi-district 5A DI playoff appearance. That breakout sophomore season earned him first team all-district recognition in District 8-5A DI and set him up for a memorable offseason on the recruiting trail. He has collected seven FBS offers from Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and others since the end of his debut varsity season and is still uncommitted. Reescano, a four-star recruit, has been evaluated by 247 Sports as a top 15 back nationally and one of the top 40 Class of 2022 prospects across Texas. He’s off to a phenomenal start to his junior season too. Reescano has eclipsed the 130-yard mark in three straight games to start the year and has scored at least three touchdowns in every game so far this season. He has accounted for 596 total yards and 11 TDs on 72 touches to help propel New Caney to a 3-0 opening month of the season and should help the Eagles contend for a district title this fall.
7. Braylon Stewart, Texarkana Texas High
Stewart hasn’t been in the mix at Texas High as long as some of the other players on this list have been putting up eye-popping numbers, but he’s been one of the most effective backfield weapons in the state since stepping into his current role. He took over as the Tigers’ top back last year as a junior and ran for 1,151 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. His prolific performance as the team’s bell-cow back netted him a first team all-district nod and helped propel Texas High to an 11-1 record, district championship and area-round playoff appearance in the 5A DII playoffs. Stewart started garnering interest on the recruiting circuit after his breakout junior year and welcomed a flurry of offers in January and February shortly after the 2020 season wrapped up. He now holds offers from seven FBS programs including Colorado, Kansas and UTSA among others with more soon to follow with another huge statistical season likely on the horizon. Stewart, a three-star prospect, has been tabbed one of the top 200 Class of 2022 recruits throughout Texas by 247 Sports. He’s on pace for an impressive encore performance two games into his senior year. Stewart ran 21 times for 94 yards and four rushing touchdowns in the Tigers’ 34-13 win over Forney, which puts him on track to set new single-season career highs in all three categories this fall.
8. Che Nwabuko, Manor
Nwabuko is the first Central Texas running back to earn a spot on this list as one of the state’s most reliable offensive playmakers in 5A. He’s back as a third-year starter in Manor’s backfield this season with a potent combination of experience and explosiveness. Nwabuko made a big splash during his sophomore campaign, when he ran 66 times for 595 yards and nine rushing TDs and caught seven passes for 94 yards and a receiving touchdown. The Mustangs’ workhorse back, however, elevated his game to an entirely different level as a junior and became an equally dangerous pass-catching threat out of the backfield and as a slot receiver. He rushed for 471 yards and three scores on 44 carries, but added 700 yards and six touchdowns through the air on 42 receptions. He’s developed into an ultra athletic and versatile offensive weapon with good hands and breakaway speed in the open field. Nwabuko, who also stars as a sprinter on the track, placed fourth in the 100-meter dash and third in the 200-meter dash at the 5A state meet in May. He’s considered one of the top 115 seniors across Texas and a top 65 running back recruit nationally in the Class of 2022 by 247 Sports. Nwabuko, a three-star prospect, has received offers from 14 FBS programs including four Big Ten teams. He took official visits to Marshall and Pittsburgh in June, and committed to the Panthers days afterward. Nwabuko has tallied 304 yards and three touchdown catches on 19 receptions through three games so far this season.
9. Kalib Hicks, Denton Ryan
Hicks has been one of the most heavily recruited Class of 2023 running backs throughout the state to this point and for good reason. He broke onto the scene last year as a sophomore when he caught nine passes for 75 yards and a score and ran for 851 yards and seven touchdowns on 119 carries to help Ryan secure the 5A DI state championship and finish the 2020 season with a 15-0 record. He’s become a fixture on a high-scoring Raiders’ offense loaded with skill position talent and shares Ryan’s backfield with two-way junior standout Anthony Hill Jr, an elite linebacker recruit. He’s off to an even more impressive start to his junior campaign with more than 100 rushing yards in each of the team’s first three contests. He’s already run for 523 yards and seven touchdowns on 70 carries through four games highlighted by a 209-yard performance against Frisco Reedy and his 139 yards and three TDs on nine carries versus Longview. Hicks, a three-star running back prospect, has been labeled a top 25 back nationally and a top 65 player throughout Texas in the 2023 recruiting class. He has collected 10 offers already from FBS programs like Colorado, Missouri, TCU and Wisconsin, a number that should continue to climb given his role in Ryan’s elite offense.
10. Jalen Washington, Montgomery
Washington claims the final spot on this list as one of the state’s most underrated running backs in 5A. He’s been a major contributor for Montgomery out of the backfield since his varsity debut as a freshman in 2018, when he rushed 101 times for 569 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 266 yards and three scores. Washington’s progress was slowed by injuries that limited him to 30 touches, 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a sophomore, but had a bounce-back junior season that established him as one of the most prolific rushers throughout East Texas. Last year he ran for 1,499 yards and 18 TDs on 191 carries — all new single-season career highs — and caught 11 passes for 127 yards and another score in 12 games for the Bears. He also surpassed 100 yards on the ground eight times as a junior. He’s on pace to top those marks through three games of his senior season, though. Washington has already run for 448 yards and three touchdowns on 53 carries to help Montgomery jump out to a 3-0 start. He currently holds offers from Central Arkansas and Houston Baptist, a pair of FCS programs, and should start to see additional opportunities floated in his direction as the season progresses.
Other 5A running backs receiving consideration: Seth Texada, Grapevine; Jacob Brown, Katy Paetow; Trenton White, Lubbock Monterey; Max Alaniz-Choy, McAllen Memorial; Javier De La Rosa, El Paso Ysleta; EJ Moore, Leander Rouse; Qualon Farrar, South Oak Cliff; Justin Freeney, Montgomery Lake Creek; Ty Harris, Manvel; Kyle Kennard, Saginaw; Jonathen Wilson, Everman; Preston Alford, Dripping Springs; Iverson Young, Red Oak; Marquise Collins, College Station; JC Solitaire, San Antonio Veterans; Jaylon McClain, Huntsville; Demonte Seymore, Manvel; Noah Long, Liberty Hill; Rundrick Dudley, Fort Bend Marshall; Anquan Willis, Wichita Falls Rider; LJ Martin, Canutillo; Alex Rodriguez, Boerne Champion; Ernie Garcia, Clint Horizon; Aaron McGowen, Fort Bend Marshall; Ahmon Dozier, Royse City; Chris Abron, Crandall; Brandon Tullis, Frisco Memorial; Donovan Shannon, Prosper Rock Hill; Matthew Mainord, Lucas Lovejoy; Anquan Willis, Wichita Falls Rider; Christopher Clayton, Fort Worth South Hills; Ernie Garcia, El Paso Horizon; Justin Freeney Montgomery Lake Creek; Joey Shaw, Mesquite Poteet; Coco Brown, Denton; Ethan Castillo, McAllen Memorial.