High School Sports
The top 25 greatest running backs in state history
Greatest running backs The top 25 running backs in state high-school football history, as selected by Seattle Times editors and reporters. College and pro careers or potential...
Greatest running backs
The top 25 running backs in state high-school football history, as selected by Seattle Times editors and reporters. College and pro careers or potential were considered. Listed heights, weights and years are for senior seasons:
1. Joe Steele, Bishop Blanchet, 1975, 6-4, 195
Big, strong back with exceptional speed who rushed for 3,814 career yards, scored 44 TDs and led Blanchet to 1975 state title. Set season (1,111) and career (3,168) rushing records at Washington, and career mark still ranks No. 2 in UW history. Knee injury kept him out of NFL.
Punishing runner was Metro League Player of Year in 1992, when he ran for 1,356 yards. In only season at Washington, set school marks with 1,695 rushing yards and 22 rushing TDs. AFC Offensive Rookie of Year with Bengals. Rushed for at least 1,100 yards each of first six seasons and selected to three Pro Bowls.
3. George Wilson, Everett, 1920, 5-11, 200
"Wildcat" led unbeaten Everett to mythical national title with victory over Cleveland Tech. Three-time All-American at Washington, played in two Rose Bowls, had his No. 33 retired and was named top player in first 50 years of UW football. Elected to College Football Hall of Fame. Won NFL title with Providence Steamrollers in 1928.
4. Bobby Moore, Mount Tahoma of Tacoma, 1967, 6-2, 200
Before he changed his name to Ahmad Rashad, switched to receiver for 10 NFL seasons and became a TV commentator, he was one of most versatile players in state history. He gained 2,500 total yards in last two seasons. At Oregon, he set 14 school records, including game (249), season (1,211) and career (2,306) rushing yardage.
Set state career rushing record this season and has 7,344 yards, including 2,566 as a junior. Rated by many as the nation's top running back with 10 scholarship offers, including USC, Florida, Tennessee and Nebraska. State-caliber sprinter's strength and athleticism could make him the state's best ever before he's done.
6. Terry Metcalf, Franklin, 1968, 5-9, 160
One of Metro League's greatest athletes did everything — run, catch and return kicks. Rushed for 1,055 yards in nine games and a 7-yard average as senior. Went on to play for Everett CC and Long Beach State, then embarked on six-year NFL career.
7. Mike Vindivich, Mount Tahoma of Tacoma 1980, 5-11, 190
Led Tacoma school to back-to-back state titles and rushed for 3,232 career yards and 50 TDs. After two injury-plagued years at Washington, led Pacific Lutheran to NAIA Division II national title in 1985 with 934 yards and 17 TDs.
8. Greg Lewis, Ingraham, 1986, 5-10, 210
Rushed for 1,293 yards as senior. Set UW's season rushing record of 1,407, still No. 2 in school history, and won Doak Walker Award as nation's best college running back. No. 3 all-time in Huskies career rushing (2,903). Played two NFL seasons.
9. Rick Fenney, Snohomish, 1982, 6-3, 220
Bruising fullback bench-pressed 420 pounds as senior, rushed for 2,472 yards (15th all-time at UW) in four college seasons and scored 32 TDs. Great blocker and short-yardage runner who started for Huskies and played five seasons for NFL's Vikings.
Astonishing senior season has pushed him into top 10 — 1,841 yards, 36 TDs, 14.0-yard average. KingCo's career rushing leader with nearly 5,000 yards is motor driving Bellevue toward fourth straight 3A title.
Best of the rest
(In alphabetical order)
Paul Arnold, O'Dea, Kennedy of Burien, 1998
National recruit had 3,801 yards — 1,974 as senior — and 69 TDs. Back problems forced move to receiver at UW.
Luther Carr, Lincoln of Tacoma, 1954
"Hit and Run" was 9.9 sprinter, led Lincoln to state title. UW star played two pro seasons.
Phil Carter, Wilson of Tacoma, 1978
3,012 rushing yards at Wilson, then outgained Jerome Bettis and George Gipp at Notre Dame.
Chuck Carroll, Garfield, 1924
"Ironman" was UW All-American in 1928. In National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.
Tyree Clowe, Central Valley of Spokane, 1998
Physical runner had 4A-best 5,411 yards, but injury slowed him at Idaho.
Ryan Cole, South Kitsap of Port Orchard, 2001
Scored 73 TDs, had back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons. Now at Oregon State.
Robin Earl, Kent-Meridian, 1972
Ranks No. 9 in UW career rushing with 2,351 yards. Blocked for Bears' Walter Payton.
Brandon Jumper, Eatonville, 1987
Oregon recruit finished as state's all-time leading rusher. Still No. 4 with 5,910 yards.
Charlie Mitchell, Garfield, 1958
Versatile prep All-American starred on UW's '61 Rose Bowl team. Six-year pro career.
Don Moore, Lincoln of Tacoma, 1964
Had 2,353 yards, 32 TDs in three seasons before up-and-down career at UW.
George Reed, Renton, 1958
WSU star became CFL great, rushing for 16,116 yards and scoring 137 TDs.
Mike Sellers, North Thurston of Lacey, 1992
230-pound power runner signed with CFL at 19, now plays in NFL.
Kurt Steck, Juanita of Kirkland, 1985
Gained 3,968 yards in 36 games, led Rebels to back-to-back state titles.
Jim Stone, Kennedy of Burien, 1973
Member of 1977 Notre Dame national-title team. Played in USFL and NFL.
Clancy Williams, Renton, 1960
WSU All-American played eight seasons with NFL's Rams.