From my initial evaluations, there is no doubt that the quality of running backs in the class of 2011 is much better than last year. There are several impact backs, including James Wilder Jr. of Tampa, Fla., whom I also will rank as the No. 1 linebacker in the nation.
In my view, Wilder had play either position in college. The 6-2, 225-pounder with 4.5 speed might be better at linebacker than at running back. He was All-State at both positions last year. He is the best running back in Florida, a superior athlete. He even played cover corner at the San Antonio combine and shut out some of the top wide receivers in the country.
Kenny Hilliard of Patterson, La., is a three-time All-Stater who was the state's offensive player of the year for the last two years. The 6-0, 230-pounder with 4.5 speed is committed to LSU.