It’s less than three months until the 2016 season begins and less than eight months until the recruiting class of 2017 can sign their National Letters of Intent. With fierce recruiting battles underway for the top recruits in the country, it’s a good time to get to know the players who appear poised to become college football stars in the near future. So far, we’ve analyzed Najee Harris, Dylan Moses, DeAngelo Gibbs, Devon Hunter, Foster Sarrell, Tedarrell Slaton, Austin Jackson and Trey Smith, some of the top-rated recruits in the class of 2017, according to Scout.com. This week, it’s Stephen Carr, the No. 7 player in the class.
Name: Stephen Carr
Rank: No. 7 overall, No. 2 running back
Height/Weight: 6'0''/195 lbs
High School: Summit (Calif.) High
Commitment status: Committed to USC
Scouting evaluation (from Scout.com)
As just a sophomore, Carr was already one of the top RBs in the state with tremendous upside. He has a great frame at 6'0", 200 pounds and will be a combo power/speed back who can run between the tackles or bounce it outside at the next level. He's a decisive runner who runs with power, drags tacklers and shows the speed to run away from them as well. He shows vision, balance and can make you miss in the open field as well.
Carr committed to USC last March, but the strength of that commitment remains in question. Alabama—which holds a commitment from the nation’s top running back, Najee Harris—offered Carr a scholarship last month, and he took unofficial visits to Michigan and Miami this spring. Carr also indicated in an interview with Scout.com’s Greg Biggins in April that he would like to take all five of his official visits.
That suggests Carr’s recruitment is far from over and that the Trojans may have to wait until close to National Signing Day for him to make a final decision. USC does have two advantages that the Crimson Tide, Hurricanes and Wolverines cannot claim, however: It’s on the West Coast, close to Carr's home in Fontana, Calif., and it produced a transcendent running back whom many current elite prospects grew up watching and continue to admire.
“It’s been one of my favorite schools since I was younger,” Carr told the Los Angeles Times when he announced his commitment. “Seeing Reggie Bush play as a running back and me wanting to be a running back, there was a lot of influence for me wanting to go there.”
How he fits
Let’s assume Carr sticks with USC. He is a complete back who could excel carrying a heavy workload for the Trojans. Yet he probably wouldn’t be USC’s primary option right away; Ronald Jones II, a former four-star recruit out of McKinney (Texas) North High, shined as a true freshman last season, rushing for a team-high 987 yards on 153 carries with eight touchdowns.
Jones and Carr could form an imposing tandem in 2017, with rising sophomores Dominic Davis and Aca’Cedric Ware providing depth in the rotation. USC also signed a four-star running back as part of its 2016 recruiting class, Mililani (Hawaii) High’s Vavae Malepeai. The Trojans’ second-leading rusher behind Jones in 2015, Justin Davis, is entering his senior season, so he'll be out of the picture by the time Carr steps on campus.