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2022 Football Preview: Top 10 Running Backs
From power runners to dual-threat backs, our Top 10 list is impressive
Published: 7/19/2022 10:20:51 AM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster
brandon@idahosports.com

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

As we head towards a new football season in the fall of 2022, IdahoSports.com is getting fans ready by unveiling the Top 10 players at each position.  These lists feature players from all corners of the state, and from all six classification levels.  Each week, we'll publish a new list of Top 10 players.  Here's the schedule:


July 7 (Offensive Linemen)

July 13 (Defensive Linemen)

July 20 (Running Backs)

July 27 (Linebackers)

August 3 (Wide Receivers/Tight Ends)

August 10 (Defensive Backs)

August 17 (Quarterbacks)


Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Running Backs to watch out for in 2022.  These selections have been made by the editorial staff at IdahoSports.com, and are listed in alphabetical order by school.  We made these selections based on a number of factors, including: returning All-State or All-Conference pedigree, college recruiting hype, and the good old-fashioned eye test.


Austin Ramirez, Blackfoot (Sr.)

Ramirez is a 5-foot-9, 170 pound wrecking ball.  He entered his junior season in 2021 with heavy expectations, as he was replacing Teegan Thomas, one of the best Blackfoot running backs in school history.  So how did Ramirez do?  1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns later, he has Blackfoot fans excited about the potential of their 2022 squad.  Blackfoot reached the 4A semifinals a year ago, and a lot of fans know about the exploits of senior wide receiver JaVonte King (spoiler alert: you'll see him on a future list).  But it's time fans start noticing Ramirez as well.


Parker Rushton, Borah (Sr.)

Rushton wasn't on anyone's radar heading into the 2021 season.  After leading the Southern Idaho Conference in rushing with 1,227 yards and 16 touchdowns, he is public enemy number one for opposing coaches as he approaches his senior year.  Rushton could have qualified for our Top 10 list at linebacker, as well, and his two-way versatility has several SIC coaches listing Borah as a team to watch in 2022.


Treyton Miller, Butte County (Sr.)

Butte County was not a fun team to face last year, especially if you were a defensive coach or player.  The Pirates routinely punished opponents with a power run game that only got stronger as the game went along.  Treyton Miller was the lynchpin to the attack, rushing for 1,274 yards and 17 touchdowns.  The 1st Team All-State selection will once again be the focal point of the Butte County offense.


Conner Simpson, Carey (Sr.)

Simpson is one of the few players who made this list as an underclassman.  The 5-foot-3, 150 pound Simpson finished eight yards shy of 2,000 last year as a junior, finishing with a school-record 1,992 rushing  yards.  Simpson was named the Class 1A Division II Player of the Year, and also chipped in 34 touchdowns on the ground.  We're not sure how Simpson can top last year's stats, but we can't wait to watch him try.


Deegan Martinho, Eagle (Sr.)

Martinho stands 6-feet even and checks in at 185 pounds, and is dripping with athletic potential.  Martinho previously lived in California, and moved to Eagle last year, to the delight of Mustangs coach John Hartz.  Martinho started the season as a slot back in the Mustangs' offense, but moved to the more traditional running back spot midway through the year.  He rushed for over 700 yards on just 85 carries.  Imagine what he could do with a heavier workload.


Vander Brown, Lakeside (Sr.)

The Lakeside senior received a lot of attention last year for averaging 30 points per game in basketball, and scoring 50 points in a single game against Wallace.  But Brown also had a nose for the end zone in football.  In the Knights' season opener a year ago, Brown scored five touchdowns in a win over Lewis County.  He bettered that performance with a six-score game later in the year against Kootenai.  Brown can run between the tackles or from the slot back position, and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.


Jafeth Bendele, Minico (Sr.)

After taking his sophomore year off to compete for the Minico swimming team, Bendele returned to the field last fall with a flourish.  The Great Basin Conference Offensive Player of the Year rushed for 1,054 yards and 13 touchdowns.  He averaged 7.8 yards per carry and 131.8 yards per game as part of Minico's Wing-T offense.  A relative unknown last year, it will be fascinating to see how Bendele does this year, as he is firmly on every coach's radar.


Carter Woodland, Notus (Sr.)

Woodland was the Western Idaho Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2021, and for good reason.  The speedy back rushed for over 1,500 yards, and accumulated 2,200 yards of total offense.  A lot of that additional yardage came in the return game, where, despite opponents' best efforts to kick away from him, Woodland took five kicks back for touchdowns.  The most impressive stat from Woodland last year, though, was the fact that he carried the ball 115 times and committed zero fumbles.


Ryken EchoHawk, Pocatello (Jr.)

In 2020, a skinny freshman named Ryken EchoHawk grabbed Pocatello's starting running back job and dazzled fans and coaches alike with his home run ability and lateral movement.  In 2021, a noticeably stronger EchoHawk added a power running game to his arsenal.  When you look at EchoHawk's stats from a year ago, they look impressive: 1,229 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.  But then consider that Pocatello rested their star back in a lot of lopsided contests, and the numbers take on even greater significance.


Ryker Clinger, Shelley (Sr.)

The Runnin' Russets had a bevy of talented ball-carriers last season, but Clinger stood tall above the rest.  Most people look at Clinger's 6-feet even, 190 pound frame, and assume he's a bruiser between the tackles.  But Clinger is fleet of foot, clocking in at 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash.  Clinger piled up 1,257 rushing yards, 1,872 all-purpose yards, and 17 total touchdowns in 2021.  And if that wasn't enough: for his senior project, Clinger helped raise over $100,000 dollars to save a local food pantry.









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