Even though teams are passing the ball in increasing numbers, running backs are an invaluable weapon.
Leading this year's group is Sean McGrew of St. John Bosco. The Washington commit rushed for 1,814 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior and 2,076 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore. He's faster, stronger and will be running behind a highly regarded offensive line.
Melquise Stovall of Paraclete used to be a USC commit but has opened up his recruiting. He rushed for 1,603 yards as a junior. The versatile Zion Echols of Charter Oak is headed to Cal and can cause problems for defenses in a variety of ways.
UCLA commit Jalen Starks of Crespi is a 6-foot-1, 240-pound punishing back. Chase Jasmin of Westlake, J.J. Taylor of Corona Centennial and Dylan Thigpen of Damien are all big-play runners.
Leo Lambert III of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, T.J. Pledger of Chaminade, Alex Mattson of San Bernardino and Edward Vander of Paramount are all poised for big seasons.
In the City Section, Sean Riley of Narbonne will try to pick up where he left off, which means running for touchdowns with long runs. Deonte Perry of Canoga Park has the speed to be a top player. Greg Johnson of Hawkins will try for another 2,000-yard season. Sterling Salguero of Birmingham will be a four-year standout.