This is the ninth edition of our Five To Watch series. We thank Mansfield University for coming aboard again as a sponsor on the network and our title sponsor for Five To Watch. There are 34 teams in the WVC and LFC so it’s impossible to recognize every single player in this list. The players we do list are some of the best at their position or have an interesting role coming up in 2020 for their team. For players who don’t make the list, we hope you strive to make our lists at the end of the season because that’s the ones that really count.

Here are the running backs:

Keith Freeman, Jr. – Williamsport
Height: 5-11 Weight: 180
The Williamsport offense was very young in 2019 and struggled throughout the season. But with all their skill players back including running back Keith Freeman, the Millionaires are poised to drastically improve that offense. Freeman was the leading rusher in 2019 with 441 yards and 3 touchdowns. He averaged 6 yards per carry and recorded two 100-yard rushing performances. However, injuries derailed the offense after Week 3 and never recovered. Freeman missed three games and was limited the second half of the season. Expect a bounce back.
Freeman Highlights


Zane Janiszewski, Sr. – Western Wayne
Height: 5-11, Weight: 195

@zanejaniszewsk1
Jansizewski is leading returning rusher from both the LFC and WVC. He ran the ball 231 times for 1,881 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also had 142 receiving yards to put him over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. The Wildcats will have to rely even more on Janiszewski after graduating 21 seniors. He also is the leader on defense recording 101 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries. Janiszewski was an NPF Lackawanna Football Conference Division II first-team running back and linebacker.
Janiszewski Highlights


Connor Schmitt, Jr. – Honesdale
Height: 5-11 Weight: 180

@ConnorSchmitt
Honesdale will have a new offense in 2020 with Paul Russick taking over as the head coach. And he is fortunate to have a good, young running back in Connor Schmitt. As a sophomore, Schmitt averaged over 7 yards per carry with a total of 719 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns. The Hornets have some size up front so expect Schmitt to be effective again. On defense, he registered 35 tackles and will move to linebacker this season.
Schmitt Highlights


Giovanni Spataro, Sr. – Lakeland
Height: 5-10 Weight: 175
@Gspataro25
Spataro will be a four-year starter for the Chiefs and has a chance to become the school’s all-time leading rusher. He struggled to stay healthy last year but still managed to run for 757 yards and 7 touchdowns. Spataro has 3,412 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns for his career and has also 275 receiving yards for his career. He has proven to be both an explosive runner but has shown power as part of his running style.
Spataro Highlights


Charlie Thompson, Jr. – Scranton
Height: 5-9 Weight 172
As a sophomore, Thompson averaged about 10 carries per game and is the leading returning rusher for the Knights. He ran for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns plus added 7 receptions to his totals despite missing several games with an injury. Scranton lost their top two playmakers and should rely on Thompson to be a key component of the offensive scheme. 
Thompson Highlights


SLEEPER

Nikolus Gashi, Sr. – Dallas
Height: 5-7 Weight: 170
@nikolus_gashi
Gashi was limited to five games in 2019 due to a knee injury, but will still be one of the more experienced players returning for the defending district champions who lost 22 seniors. He will be the primary tailback and a leader on defense at linebacker. Dallas will be young in 2020, but has talented players who will get better as the season goes on. Gashi will be one of the leaders of this young group.
Gashi Highlights


OTHERS TO WATCH

Shadrak Agyei, Jr. – Wallenpaupack
Cody Cresswell, Jr. – Lackawanna Trail
Hezekiah Deitz, Jr. – Old Forge
Vinnie DePalma, So. – Carbondale Area
London Montgomery, So. – Scranton Prep