Rick O'Brien: What a rush: Listing area's top running backs

Posted: October 02, 2011

Since we graded the area's quarterbacks in our preview guide, we begin our top-10 football rankings with the best running backs in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

With 130 teams in the region, we felt compelled to bump this list up to 15. We've also thrown in the names of 15 other highly dangerous ballcarriers.

Please note that some two-way standouts, such as Ridley's Jalen Randolph, also a top outside linebacker, will not be listed here. They will get their due when we rank the premier defenders.

1. Drew Harris, Downingtown East, senior, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. Durable and quick, Harris committed to Virginia Tech on Tuesday. Miami, South Carolina, and Arkansas, among others, were also in the running.

Through four games, Harris, a 4,977-yard career rusher, has carried 104 times for 617 yards and nine touchdowns. He sat out Saturday's game vs. Avon Grove with a leg injury suffered in Week 4 against Downingtown West.

2. Desmon Peoples, Archbishop Wood, senior, 5-7, 170. Peoples, clocked at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash, was averaging 100 yards rushing per game. The Rutgers recruit sat out two contests with a high ankle sprain.

3. Dae-Hon Cheung, Coatesville, senior, 5-10, 170. In the Raiders' pro-style/spread offense, Cheung was averaging 163 yards per game. He has a scholarship offer from Division I-AA Tennessee-Martin.

4. David Williams, West Catholic, junior, 6-0, 185. The speedster has scholarship offers from seven Division I-A programs, including Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and Virginia.

5. Hakeem Sillman, George Washington, senior, 5-8, 190. Before Saturday's game at Germantown, Sillman had carried 67 times for 584 yards and 11 scores.

6. Cimirrow Moat, Marple Newtown, senior, 5-8, 175. Moving over from halfback, the speedy fullback has rushed 88 times for 844 yards and 14 TDs.

7. Brandon Peoples, Archbishop Wood, senior, 5-10, 180. A fullback and Temple recruit, he filled in nicely for the Vikings last season when Desmon Peoples, his cousin, was lost to an injury.

8. Sean Ulmer, Neshaminy, senior, 5-10, 165. As the go-to guy for the Redskins, Ulmer, a 1,037-yard rusher last season, was averaging 132 yards per game.

9. Ray Schreiner, Abington, senior, 5-7, 165. It might seem as if the elusive Schreiner came out of nowhere for the Ghosts, but he did run for 900-plus yards last season.

10. Zach Barr, Downingtown West, senior, 6-1, 190. Overshadowed somewhat in the Ches-Mont League by Harris and Cheung, Barr is averaging 165 yards a game.

11. Cedric Madden, Chestnut Hill Academy, senior, 5-10, 185. Madden has been a constant for the Blue Devils, averaging 160 yards and two TDs per game.

12. George Walker, Glen Mills, senior, 5-9, 190. A newcomer for the Battlin' Bulls, Walker entered the weekend among the area's leading rushers, with 694 yards.

13. Marcus Kelly, Roman Catholic, senior, 5-9, 170. Kelly, who struck for 324 yards and three TDs against Cardinal O'Hara, is hearing from the likes of Lafayette and Lehigh.

14. Eric Neefe, Penn Charter, junior, 5-10, 215. Neefe showed his mettle and leg strength against Interboro, carrying 20 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns.

15. J.T. Blyden, Avon Grove, sophomore, 5-10, 185. Keep an eye on this speedy underclassman. In the Red Devils' first four games, he averaged 155 yards rushing.

Fifteen others to watch (listed alphabetically): Corey Baker, Pottstown, senior; Tymere Blue, Roxborough, senior; Demetre Carter, Academy Park, senior; Clay Ewell, Springfield (Montco), senior; Kyle Mayfield, North Penn, junior; Rob Murphy, Springfield (Delco), junior; Jon Neiman, Boyertown, senior; John Olson, Upper Perkiomen, senior; Raul Quinones, Father Judge, senior; Rolando Ransom, Communications Tech, senior; Shaquil Sammons, Bok, senior; Tim Wade, La Salle, senior; Shawn Wilson, Malvern Prep, senior; Larry Winton, Harry S Truman, senior; Keith Young, Bishop McDevitt, senior.

Coach reinstated. Jason Bresnen will be allowed to rejoin Morrisville's coaching staff after serving a two-game suspension, Morrisville School District officials decided last week.

On Sept. 10, in Morrisville's 29-6 loss to Bicentennial Athletic League rival New Hope-Solebury, Bresnen, the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator, was accused by New Hope-Solebury parents of placing a $100 bounty on a Lions player.

Four days later, Bresnen offered his resignation, citing personal reasons. The Morrisville School District said in a statement that "this matter has been resolved in the best interests of all parties."

Since then, Bresnen supporters had asked board members to reconsider accepting his resignation and appointing a new assistant.

Bresnen, 34, was a quarterback and linebacker for the Bulldogs in the early 1990s. He did not return a call seeking comment.

Quotable. St. Joseph's Prep coach Gabe Infante, on the speed of Prep wideouts Jawan McAllister and Jim Hurley, and halfback John Reid:

"It's like being at Belmont Park and watching three thoroughbred sprinters."

Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com,

or @ozoneinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "The O'Zone,"

at www.philly.com/ozone.

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