|Olathe East's Jalen Branson. Plank Photo.|
Position: Running Back
Weight: 180 lbs.
Brandon Willingham, Olathe East (2008-2010), Kendall Kelly, SM North/Olathe East (2009-2011),
While Olathe North's Venus Triplett will get most of the hype as the league's best running back, keep an eye on Branson as he matures into his senior season. He had a solid junior campaign, rushing for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns on 132 carries (6.45 ypc), while splitting backfield duties with Jordan Brown, who had 187 carries of his own.
Branson has the skill set and the offense to really go off this fall. He's timed in the 4.45 neighborhood in the forty, and he's now had two entire seasons of varsity experience to get the hang of things. What's more, he'll finally be the featured back in an offense that has produced some phenom running backs like Andre Jones, Dee Bell and Brandon Willingham. Even some of their average running backs have played above their ceilings because of the fullback eccentric offense the team runs.
Maybe the biggest take home point about Branson's prospects entering his senior season is that if Olathe East is going to do really well, Branson can't be just another Olathe East running back that has a solid season only to see the team fall short of a state title game. Branson has the ability to be a big-time running back on the league and state scene, and if he can find a way to be just a bit more dynamic, and help his team in more ways than some of their previous backs, the Hawks may just find a way to bring home that elusive state championship.
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