POSITION: Running back
HOMETOWN: Cincinnati, OH
HIGH SCHOOL: La Salle
247 COMPOSITE RATING: ★★★ (.8738)
NATIONAL RANK: 452
POSITION RANK: 24
STATE RANK: 18
OTHER OFFERS: Boston College, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Miami (OH), Ohio, Wake Forest
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Larkin was the 20th commit of Northwestern's recruiting class, but he is perhaps its biggest get. The 5-10 running back originally committed to Cincinnati back in June, but following a 10-win season for the Wildcats and the Bearcats' mediocre year, Larkin flipped his commitment from his hometown school to Northwestern in mid-December, all in the same tweet. His senior stats are straight from a video game; Larkin rushed for 1829 yards (10.4 yards per carry) and 28 touchdowns, plus an additional 639 yards and 8 touchdowns receiving. Those numbers earned Larkin Ohio Division II All-State honors as well as AP Ohio Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
Larkin's highlights should excite any Northwestern fan. He has terrific vision, explosive speed, and the ability to run both East-West and North-South. He reportedly runs a 4.45 40-yard dash and as the tape shows, he's dangerous whenever and wherever he has the ball. La Salle made a point of getting Larkin touches as much as possible: on handoffs, option plays, sweeps, screen passes, out wide, and on returns. He's also the highest-rated commit for the class of 2016, and interestingly enough, his former teammate at La Salle, Jordan Thompson, was Northwestern's highest rated commit in last year's class. Larkin also played basketball in high school, and his father Jeff Larkin, Sr. is cousins with Cincinnati Reds legend and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.
Larkin joins a crowded and very talented backfield, with mainstays Justin Jackson and Warren Long returning, as well as Auston Anderson and John Moten IV waiting in the wings. In fact, the 2016 class features a second running back, Jesse Brown, who has the same stature as Larkin and reportedly ran the same 40-yard time. Watching Larkin's highlights, it's hard not to draw comparisons to former Northwestern All-American Venric Mark. Both are short, quick running backs that know how to use their size effectively, and it will be exciting to see how Larkin develops.
In the upcoming season, don't expect to see much of Larkin. He'll be buried on the depth chart to begin the season and with Northwestern's running back depth, he could possibly redshirt. However, Larkin has the potential to be a star in the future. He had over 200 touches on offense his senior season and clearly has the capability of being a three-down running back. Larkin's game is well-rounded, and it's exciting to see what impact he'll have on Northwestern's often enigmatic offense.