By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
There are many talented running backs across our coverage area that features more than 60 teams. Below are some of the top running backs to watch this season
NOTE: Some worthy players may appear on one of our other four football watchlists. A player can only appear on one list.
This watchlist can be found in print in the Fall O-Zone Preview Magazine available this week at all southwest Missouri Casey’s general stores.
Shen Butler-Lawson, Waynesville, Senior
Butler-Lawson is the highest-rated prospect in the Ozarks, currently holding a Big 10 offer from Purdue. His numbers won’t jump off the page (910 rushing yards, 327 receiving yards, 14 total touchdowns), but his game will. His 200-pound frame is full of dynamic, play-making ability. He has college-level vision already. He’s due for a monster season in Year Two under Joe Haynes.
Isaiah Davis, Joplin, Senior
The “Za Train” rolled all throughout the Ozarks last year with the 225-pound back racking up 1,676 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns to earn Class 6 All-State honors. He rushed for 673 yards and 11 scores in Joplin’s four playoff games, setting the stage for what could be a huge senior year. He’s already committed to D1 South Dakota State.
Nick Johnson, Miller, Senior
He’s not a household name, but he should be. His junior season saw him rush for 1,505 yards and 24 touchdowns on just 141 carries. Basically, every sixth carry was a touchdown. That’s ridiculous. He’s a home-run threat every time he touches the ball. Also added six interceptions defensively and is one of the area’s top kickers.
Brayden Lidgard , West Plains, Senior
Better known as Mr. 2K, Lidgard has posted back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons and is now on a mission to become the seventh player in Missouri history to rush for 7,000 yards. Another back with burst and power, Lidgard also is an amazing threat in the passing game. He’ll try to build on his 12, 200-yard games over the last two seasons.
Tyler Mueller, Carthage, Senior
He doesn’t have a ton of size or insane speed like other guys on this list, but Mueller has become one of the most-productive backs in the area by using what he does have. He has incredible vision, he runs extremely hard and he makes one cut and gets up field. He was banged up for much of the regular season in 2018, but still rushed for 987 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Devrin Weathers, Webb City, Junior
Weathers will have a chance to go down as one of Webb City’s best running backs ever. Mizzou and Kansas State already have expressed interest following his 978 yards and 12 touchdown sophomore season. Injuries were the only thing that kept him from a 1,000-yard season and Webb City from another state championship.
Trey Wilson, Seneca, Senior
He’s an absolute battering ram with the ball in his hands; not many guys run as hard as Trey Wilson. As a junior he rushed for 1,086 yards and 15 touchdowns, earning All-Big 8 honors. At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, he looks the part; he’s not just small-school good.
Quameire Wright, Lebanon, Senior
You may wonder why he picked No. 27 until you see him play. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound bowling ball exploded onto the scene last year with 1,217 yards and 12 touchdowns. He runs angry. Look for him to build on his seven 100-yard games from last season.
Others to Watch
Ian Bareis, Strafford, Senior
Nathan Glades, Joplin, Junior
Jamie Guinn, Monett, Senior
Gage Gunter, Skyline, Senior
Gage Kelley, Neosho, Senior
Tanner Marshall, MV-BT Liberty, Senior
Michael Maugans, Kickapoo, Senior
Trey Sagehorn, Pierce City, Senior
Riley Sigman, Republic, Senior
Jeremy Vickers, Marionville, Senior