Charlie’s College Football Positional Rankings: Running Backs

Charlie’s College Football Positional Rankings: Running Backs

by June 1, 2021 0 comments

While the debate about running backs is a contested one in the NFL, there’s no denying that an elite running back in college football is lethal. Coming into the 2021 season, we have an outstanding group of running backs who are serious game wreckers for defensive coordinators. Something fun to note about this list is that half of these players are in the SEC. This makes for a really exciting time in conference play this year. Now, let’s get into the list.

Be sure to check out all of Charlie’s College Football Positional Rankings.

1. Breece Hall – Iowa State

The difference between the one and two spots is so minimal here but Hall just edges this one out. The Cyclones’ sophomore had an unbelievable season last year where he rushed for over 1,500 yards and an incredible 21 touchdowns. His ability to accelerate out into open space, as well as, finish near the goal line is the perfect combo. Hall also showed a nice ability to catch out of the backfield last year, catching 23 balls for 180 yards. A big bonus for Hall is that Iowa State returns virtually their entire offensive line. This will allow Hall to make a massive push for the Heisman Trophy this year.

2. Isaiah Spiller – Texas A&M

Speaking of the Heisman Trophy, Spiller is the favorite to win the award out of all non-quarterbacks. Spiller is a very exciting running back who will get a lot more carries this year. The rising junior is coming off his first 1,000-yard season in which he ran for nine touchdowns. He was constantly making highlight plays and will look to ramp up his production even more. If he can get more of the workload in the Aggies’ backfield, he should be able to be in the Heisman conversation, and establish himself as the best running back in a loaded SEC.

3. Mohamed Ibrahim – Minnesota

Ibrahim is a player who is not getting enough love this offseason. He’s the returning Big-10 running back of the year and is coming off two 1,000 yard seasons. Ibrahim had some monster games last year, going for over 200 yards twice and averaging 153 yards a game. These numbers are pretty scary and then we throw in the rest of the guys around him on the offense. Minnesota retains their starting quarterback and their entire offensive line. This will make life really easy on Ibrahim and he could very well break some Big-10 records this year.

4. Bijan Robinson – Texas

One of, if not, the most exciting true freshman last year was Robinson. He had a solid season up until his last few games before he really started to go off. He totaled just over 700 yards last year on four touchdowns throughout the entire season. However, 520 of these yards came in his final four games. With the loss of Keaontay Ingram, Robinson will get a significant amount of carries for the Longhorns. Robinson is leading the way for the younger generation of running backs, as we have two true freshmen already on this list.

5. Kyren Williams – Notre Dame

One of the most complete backs in the country, Williams looks to back up his big 2020 campaign with another huge year in 2021. Williams ran for 1,125 yards in 2020 and had 13 touchdowns to go with that. On top of this, he had 35 catches out of the backfield, showing the versatile back that he can be. He’s only 5’9” but Williams is one of the best running backs in the country and should get his fair share of touches to assert this season.

6. Tank Bigsby – Auburn

Bigsby is the second freshman we have here. Like Robinson, he’s a back with serious potential. Bigby ran for 834 yards last year and had five touchdowns to go along with it. He had some great flashes of the player he can be as well. Against Mississippi State, he racked up 192 yards in a win. Against Arkansas, he totaled 146 yards. These numbers show that Bigsby can take the next step into elite running back status this year.

7. Kevin Harris – South Carolina

In an SEC with star players like Najee Harris and Spiller last season, Kevin proved he can hang with these guys. He actually led the conference in rushing yards at the end of the regular season, only to be surpassed by Najee in the postseason. Harris capped off a 1,100-yard season with 15 rushing touchdowns. With the need for a more dynamic offense, Kevin will certainly get a ton of touches which will allow him to make a name for himself, especially to the media. It seems that no one is focusing on this guy and people should start because he could easily break some records this year.

8. Master Teague – Ohio State

Teague had a nice season under the circumstances he faced. He split carries with 2021 NFL Draft pick Trey Sermon at Ohio State and lost a considerable amount of carries as Sermon broke out later in the year. While splitting carries, he still had eight touchdowns on just over 500 yards last year. Teague will look to get a lot more of the offense circled on him if the quarterback situation in Columbus somehow goes awry. If it doesn’t, he’s still a really nice compliment to Ryan Day’s offense and just one more weapon that the Buckeyes can tap into.

9. Jerrion Ealy – Ole Miss

Ealy broke out in a big way last year and is one of Lane Kiffin’s swiss-army knife-type threats coming out of the backfield. At 5’8”, he’s a dynamic, evasive, runner that is a fantastic runner and great in various gadget sets. Last year he only had 745 yards but accumulated nine touchdowns and was a constant threat to defensive coordinators. In his junior season, Ealy will still have to split some carries with Ole Miss’ other running back, Jarod Connor, but should get his fair share of opportunities all over the field, especially with the loss of players like Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah.

10. Zamir White – Georgia

Even though the stats are pretty good, White was a bit of a disappointment in 2020. The expectations from Georgia fans were of the next Sony Michel or Nick Chubb. He did not live up to this hype last year, however, he has all the potential to do so this year. Even though he didn’t go crazy last year, White still had good numbers. He almost reached 800 yards rushing and totaled 11 touchdowns. Now, Georgia will still be rotating their running backs like they always do but White should spearhead this attack. If he can get the touches, he should be up there with some of the best in the country when it’s all said and done.

Honorable Mentions: Brian Robinson (Alabama), Leddie Brown (West Virginia), Tyler Goodson (Iowa), Deuce Vaughn (Kansas State), Sincere McCormick (UTSA)

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