With spring football in full swing, here’s a look at some of the top returning running backs in Middle Tennessee for the upcoming 2016 high school football season, as ranked by The Tennessean’s Michael Murphy:
Classes listed are for 2016 season.
10. Austin Collier
Mt. Juliet Christian, Senior
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 215
Why chosen: Collier, a 2015 All-East/Middle District 1 selection, ran for 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns on 135 carries for the Saints last season.
9. Emari Barton
Cane Ridge, Senior
Ht: 5-9 Wt: 175
Why chosen: Barton, a 2015 All-Region 6-5A selection, racked up 1,207 yards rushing, 338 yards receiving and scored five total touchdowns for the Ravens, who reached the eight-win mark for just the second time in program history.
8. Taveruis Travis
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 200
Why chosen: Travis, a 2015 All-Region 3-6A selection, carried 143 times for 931 yards and three touchdowns last season, helping lead the Bobcats to a 7-5 record and a Class 6A second-round playoff appearance.
7. Ke’Juan Vaughn
Ht: 5-8 Wt: 170
Why chosen: Vaughn, the younger brother of Illinois freshman Ke’Shawn Vaughn, tallied 1,253 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on 195 carries a season ago, and the 2015 All-Region 5-4A selection also hauled in 10 receptions for 123 yards.
6. Lazarius Patterson
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 190
Why chosen: Patterson, a 2015 All-Region 2-6A selection, carried 223 times for 1,441 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, helping lead the region champion Patriots to a 12-2 record and a Class 6A semifinal appearance.
5. T.J. Carter
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 180
4. Casey Perkins
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 205
Why chosen: Perkins, a three-star prospect and 2015 All-Region 2-6A selection, racked up 1,422 yards and 24 touchdowns on 222 carries a season ago, helping lead the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record and a Class 6A quarterfinal appearance.
3. Jordan Mason
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 205
Why chosen: Mason, a three-star prospect according to 247Sports, ran for 1,606 yards and 19 touchdowns for the 4-6 Green Wave last season, and the 2015 Region 6-5A Offensive MVP also hauled in six receptions for 100 yards and a score.
2. Antwuan Branch
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 200
Why chosen: Branch, a three-star prospect and the 2015 All-Midstate first-teamer, eclipsed the 200-yard mark six times last season and finished with a Midstate-leading 2,595 yards and 27 touchdowns for the 8-4 Knights.
1. Ty Chandler
Montgomery Bell Academy, Senior
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 190
Why chosen: Chandler, a 2017 U.S. Army All-American and last year’s DII-AA Mr. Football Back of the Year, carried the ball a Midstate-leading 347 times for 2,585 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2015, helping lead the Big Red to a second-straight BlueCross Bowl appearance.