This is the 12th edition of our Five To Watch series. We thank Attorney Michael Ossont of The Mattioli Law Firm for returning as our title sponsor for Five To Watch. There are 33 teams in the WVC and LFC so it’s impossible to recognize every single player who might be deserving. The players we do list are some of the best at their position or have an interesting role coming up in 2023 for their team. Players will be recognized at only one position, even if they are capable two-way players. For players who don’t make the list, we hope you strive to make our lists at the end of the season because they are the ones that really count.
Here are the running backs:
Aaron Crossley, Sr. – Wyoming Area
Height: 5-10 Weight 205
The Lehigh commit was the third leading rusher in District 2 last year and with the two players above him graduating, he comes into 2023 as the top returning rusher. Crossley amassed 2,115 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns his junior season. He showed his versaility as a pass catcher and even as a pass thrower. Crossley was also an outstanding defender at linebacker with 55 tackles including 10.5 tackles for loss. He was named the WVC Division 2 Offense Player of the Year, and First Team running back and linebacker in 2o22.
Zack Fox, Sr. – Nanticoke
Height: 5-10 Weight 160
Fox has put together back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons and heads into his senior year with 2,628 career rushing yards. He also has scored 28 touchdowns on the ground over the past two seasons. Fox is strong for size and exhibits a shifty running style that forces missed tackle from opposing defenders. He was named a WVC Division 2 First Team running back last season.
Mekhi Nelson, Sr. – Wilkes-Barre
Height: 6-0 Weight 190
Nelson has been an impact player for the past two seasons and is expected to be even better his senior year. He was fourth in District 2 last year rushing for 1,670 yards and 22 touchdowns. Nelson added 17 receptions for 341 yards and an additional three touchdowns. The Wolfpack will have several capable skill players on the offenseive side of the ball, but he should be the focus of the offense. Nelson was named a WVC Division 1 First Team athlete in 2022.
Quinten Palermo, Sr. – Scranton Prep
Height: 5-11 Weight 190
Palermo got an opportunity in 2022 because of an injury and made the most of it. He rushed for 1,133 yards and 13 touchdowns last season and also caught 12 passes out of the backfield. Palermo has good speed and sees the field well. The Cavaliers running game should be even better in 2023 and he could see 200+ touches coming his way. Palermo was named a LFC Division 1 Second Team running back last season.
Josh Vinton, Jr. – Western Wayne
Height: 5-8 Weight 170
Vinton was a backup last season and still ran for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns in the Wildcats run-heavy offense. He will be the featured back in 2023 and should see his touches double this season. Vinton is a shifty running back who sees the hole well and is effective at breaking tackles. He should also be involved in a passing game that will be used more this season. Vinton was named an LFC Division II Honorable Mention running back in 2022.
Dylan Geskey, Sr. – Dallas
Height: 5-11 Weight 185
Geskey was the starting fullback in 2022 and will move over to the tailback this season. Dallas has a nice set of skill players returning, but the running game is always a priority with Coach Rich Mannello’s offense. Last season, Geskey rushed for 245 yards and seven touchdowns, but he only carried the ball 42 times. He will be the workhorse out of the backfield in 2023. Geskey was named a WVC Division 1 Second Team fullback last year.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Mason Avery, Jr. – Honesdale – Highlights | Twitter
Isaiah Cobb, Sr. – Wyoming Valley West – Highlights
Cael Krushnowski, Jr. – Old Forge – Highlights
Brady Mizenko, Sr. – Hazleton Area – Twitter
C.J. Pietrzak, Sr. – Pittston Area – Highlights