Projected top players by position: Running backs

Parkview running back Cody Brown  signals first down during a state playoff game against Archer.
Parkview running back Cody Brown signals first down during a state playoff game against Archer.

Class AA doesn’t want to hear that Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby is getting better. The Callaway running back rushed for 2,221 yards on a final-four team last year. He ran for 778 yards and eight touchdowns in his four playoff games.

Bigsby recently moved up 19 spots nationally in the consensus national recruiting rankings to borderline five-star territory. That comes after attending The Opening finals last month in Texas, where he improved on his 40-yard dash time (4.55 seconds) and weighed in at 210 pounds.

Now, Callaway coach Pete Wiggins has more bad news for opponents: Bigsby ran a 4.4 last week on Callaway’s parking lot, where Wiggins times his players. And Bigsby weighed into preseason practice at 214 pounds — nearly 20 heavier than last year.

More on position previews

» Quarterbacks
» Running backs
» Wide receivers/tight ends
» Offensive linemen
» Defensive linemen
» Linebackers
» Defensive backs
» Athletes
» Kicking specialists

“He’ll be a bigger, faster back than he was,” Wiggins said. “I’ve been very impressed with Tank.”

Bigsby is now the highest-rated Georgia high school running back since Nick Chubb of Cedartown in 2014. Bigsby and Chubb, five years apart, are both from smaller west Georgia schools. Chubb (5-11, 216) was rated the No. 33 prospect nationally. Bigsby (6-0, 210) is No. 31.

“Tank is very explosive,” Wiggins said. “He does a good job understanding the offense and the leverage of the offensive linemen. He’s fast, but what really separates him is his effort. He practices hard. He carries out his fakes. That’s what makes him better on Friday night.”

Bigsby will make his college choice known Friday, he announced Sunday via Twitter. Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina are the finalists.

Below are 10 of the state’s best running backs for 2019. GHSF Daily will publish its 10 best at each position over nine issues in preseason. The players’ status as recruits is a factor, but the choices are made largely on production as high school players.

• Tank Bigsby, Callaway: Bigsby got his nickname at age 6 during a rec league football game after he kept running with the ball after taking a hit to the head that required stitches.

• Cody Brown, Parkview: Brown rushed for 1,588 yards and 25 touchdowns on 183 carries last season. He finished with three consecutive 200-yard rushing games. The only junior on the list, Brown (6-0, 210) is a four-star recruit and top-100 national prospect in the class of 2021.

• Daijun Edwards, Colquitt County: Edwards rushed for 1,480 yards as a junior, giving him 3,405 for his career. He has 53 rushing touchdowns in three seasons. Edwards (5-10, 200) is a four-start recruit whose favored schools reportedly are Auburn and Florida State.

• Jahmyr Gibbs, Dalton: Gibbs rushed for 1,431 yards on 163 carries in 2018. He scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and returning. He's Dalton's most versatile player and a top-500 national recruit. Gibbs (5-11, 195) is committed to Georgia Tech.

• Chancellor Lee-Parker, Mill Creek: Lee-Parker (5-11, 180) rushed for 1,284 yards and 13 touchdowns on 173 carries despite missing three games with an injury. He's explosive, yet powerful for his size.

• D.J. Lundy, Irwin County: Lundy (6-0, 225) is the top power back in the state. He rushed for 1,636 yards and 28 touchdowns on 158 carries for the Class A public-school runner-up. A three-star recruit, he has several SEC offers.

• Jo'Quavious Marks, Carver (Atlanta): Marks rushed for 1,561 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 140 carries and in eight games. A four-star recruit and top-200 national prospect, Marks (5-10, 190) is committed to Mississippi State.

• Keaton Mitchell, Eagle's Landing Christian: Mitchell rushed for 2,509 yards, the most of any returning running back in Georgia, for a Class A championship team in 2018. He scored 49 touchdowns, the most ever for a Georgia underclassman. A three-star recruit, Mitchell (5-9, 170) has several mid-major offers.

• Jordon Simmons, McEachern: The most dynamic of Georgia's elite backs, Simmons rushed for 982 yards and 16 touchdowns on 105 carries and had 380 yards receiving on 25 catches. A three-star recruit, Simmons (5-10, 185) has several SEC and ACC offers.

• Len'Neth Whitehead, Athens Academy: Whitehead is rated the consensus No. 10 inside LB prospect nationally, but as good as he is on defense — 10.5 tackles for losses in 2018 — he's done more damage on offense as a high school player. He rushed for 1,481 yards and 25 touchdowns on 209 carries last season for the Class A private-school runner-up.

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