1.) Drew Turner (Kalispell Glacier) - 6'0", 210 lbs.
2.) Levi Janacaro (Missoula Big Sky) - 6'1", 220 lbs.
3.) Lane Sumner (Huntley Project) - 5'8", 186 lbs.
4.) Ben Voss (Billings Central) - 5'10", 165 lbs.
5.) Seth Schneider (Helena Capital) - 5'10", 215 lbs.
6.) Bridger Bauder (Hamilton) - 5'10", 195 lbs.
7.) Alec Lovegren (Sidney) - 5'9", 175 lbs.
8.) Nate Brunett (Jefferson) - 5'9", 175 lbs.
9.) Kadin Lahti (Missoula Big Sky) - 5'8", 160 lbs.
10.) Kyle Tabbert (Helena High) - 5'6", 150 lbs.
Missed the cut (no order): Riley Linder (Scobey), Logan Rodacker (Billings Skyview), Sawyer Thogerson (Sidney), Ryan Moodry (Butte Central), Corbin Wood (Ennis), Chadd Naillon (Colstrip), Dalton Macy (Billings Skyview), Bo Mortenson (Butte), Zach Torgerson (Shelby), Graden Greenslade (Dillon)
Notes: I evaluated Janacaro as a RB as I mixed the FBs in with the RBs.
1.) Drew was phenomenal his junior and senior seasons for Kalispell Glacier. On top of his speed, he does an excellent job of keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage so there isn't a lot of "east/west" to his game. Drew is a "north/south" power-runner with sprinter speed. A scary combination and the reason he is the #1 RB.
2.) Levi Janacaro led AA in rushing his senior season. Even though he played QB, Levi and the Big Sky Eagles ran power with Levi as the ball carrier over and over again this past fall. In fact, it was probably their most-ran play. Every defense knew Levi was coming at them and AA teams still struggled. Levi has underrated elusiveness on top of being a power-runner and is definitely a player who "put his team on his back" in 2017.
3.) Lane Sumner has been a special runner since his sophomore season for the Red Devils. Despite being only 5'8", Lane has plenty of "pop" when runs the football. He turns the corner better than any running back in this class and his lateral quickness makes him very hard to tackle in space. Lane also has excellent leg strength and balance. But, like Drew Turner, his best attribute is top-end speed which is why he is going to a FCS school and not a Frontier school. Lane also might be the best "pass-catching" back in this running back crop as he is a smooth receiver out of the backfield or split-out wide.
4.) If Ben Voss was about 20-30 lbs. heavier and a little faster, he would be a scholarship FCS recruit. Despite the size, Ben was a man among boys in Class A this past fall. He dominated in every game he played and led Class A in rushing yards. His big-play ability nearly led Billings Central to another Class A title game but they fell short in the semifinals to Hamilton. Ben shows good awareness when running the ball as he has a knack for feeling the cut-back lane. This makes him a tough runner to contain when he gets in the open field. Mix in good power/speed and you get a player with a great all-around skillset at the running back position. Montana Tech is getting a great Montana RB in Ben Voss.
5.) Seth Schneider broke Helena Capital rushing records during his career as a Bruin. He has near identical size to Drew Turner and Levi Janacaro but he doesn't have the speed of Turner. He still has a good mix of power and elusiveness as a runner. Seth ran behind arguably the best offensive line in the state but, like these top runners, he still broke a ton of tackles during his junior and senior seasons and was one of the top players on the field every game he played. I view Seth as a better linebacker but he can be an effective running back at the next level...whatever level that might be.
6.) Bridger is a comparable back to Lane Sumner only he doesn't have Lane's speed. Bridger played multiple positions during his high school career from WR to QB to finishing as a RB his senior season. As a full-time running back, Bridger finished #2 to Ben Voss for top rushing honors in Class A. Like Sumner, Bauder is an effective receiver which makes him hard to contain for any defense.
7. & 8.) Alec Lovegren and Nate Brunett are similar players in stature and playing style. Alec was Sidney's #1 running back in an offense that heavily featured the run game. Nate has been one of Class B's top running backs the past two years. Despite their size, both of these backs can mix it up between the tackles just as well as they can bounce it outside for big runs. Alec's shining moment was a 213 rushing yard performance against Dillon in the 2017 Class A quarterfinals (a huge win for the Eagles). Nate's final game was his best as he put up 343 rushing yards on only 17 carries.
9. & 10.) The final two backs are more "scat backs" than tradition running backs. Kadin Lahti and Kyle Tabbert are the smallest runners on the list but both have excellent speed and added another dimension to each of their offenses. A big reason for Levi's success the past few years has been Kadin's ability to be a threat out of the backfield on jet sweeps or on read options with Levi as QB. Kadin was oddly selected as a 1st-Team AA All-State WR but his rushing output outweighs his receiving by about 80/20. Kyle took over for the best running back Helena High has ever seen in Ryan Arntson and Kyle seized the opportunity by having an All-State season for the Bengals. He and Kaleb Winterburn were a tough 1-2 combo out of the backfield when Helena High wanted to ice games.
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