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January 14, 2011
I will begin posting evaluations of the Top Players from the Class of 2011 here on SCVarsity.com. Shon Carson is one of the top prospects from the Palmetto State in both football and baseball. AS the NO. 7 ranked player in the SCVarsity.com's Top Thirty Players and today, we take a look at why he is ranked where he is at and what makes him so special as a player.?
Speed kills. Unfortunately, much like the wide receiver position, the evaluation of the running back position at the high school level is often entirely based on speed.
However, qualities such as quickness through the hole, run vision, pick and slide skills, balance and change of direction skills are every bit as important. A player termed an all-purpose back with excellent size and power is the ideal prospect for most programs.
While speed is nice, quickness is great. There are a lot of great running backs at the college level who lack great 40 speed, but have exceptional quickness.
Also, with so many spread offensive sets, today's running backs must be versatile enough to catch the ball out of the backfield. The running back with the ability to split out wide and create mismatches in the passing game is the ideal choice. It also helps if they have some skills as return specialists.
There are plenty of other areas used to judge running backs. The ability to make tacklers miss and eliminate a lot of head-on collisions is a great indicator of a back's ability to stay healthy.
Blocking is another under-evaluated skill when it comes to grading backs. Most freshmen entering college have not spent a lot of time working on their blocking skills. If you ask any college coach, a freshman running back is more likely to sit on the bench or come out on passing downs - not for his inefficiencies as a runner, but for his lack of success as a blocker and his inability to pick up the blitz.
It is very rare when you get a back who can do everything: run, catch and even return. These guys give opposing defenses nightmares, and they can change the personality of an offense.
I have eight specific criteria I look at when evaluating running backs and I won't go into specifics of everyone of them right now, but here is my evaluation of Shon Carson based on my criteria.?
Concern over Carson is his baseball career. Right now, in my opinion, his arm is little more than average for the next level. For him to develop into a big time player on the diamond, he would almost have to be full time baseball. I don't see him doing it otherwise. That said, it is probably eventually going to come down to a decision on how far he wants to progress in either sport.
I believe he is a player who can be a great contributor in the football program. He is not going to be a 20-25 carry a game guy, but I could see him being dangerous in the one-back set coming out of the backfield as a receiver and as a guy who could spell Lattimore in a part time capacity.
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