Top 10 Returning Running Backs in College Football (2024)

Top 10 Returning Running Backs in College Football (2024) - Nicholas Singleton, Kaytron Allen

College football season is around the corner. To get ready for the season, I will preview the top players returning at key positions.

Let’s explore the top 10 returning running backs in college football. 

Click here for Weider’s other positional ranking articles.

1. Ollie Gordon, Oklahoma State

Gordon was Oklahoma State’s bell cow last year. He paced the team with 1,732 yards rushing and 21 rushing touchdowns. Oklahoma State started 2-2 on the year but ended up winning 10 games largely because of Gordon’s dominance. Now, he comes back and Oklahoma State has a legit chance at winning the newly formed Big 12. 


2. TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

Henderson is one of the best running backs in the country, but he needs to stay healthy. For the last two years, he has been in and out of the lineup with injuries. When he was healthy last season, Ohio State’s offense went to another level. With him finishing the season strong, he should have a good chance of excelling with the Buckeyes in 2024. 


3. Damien Martinez, Oregon State to Miami

Damien Martinez came out of nowhere last year to rush for 1,185 yards and nine touchdowns, helping Oregon State win eight games. Martinez has since transferred to Miami where he should continue his dominance as a runner. This was a massive get for Miami because they had a huge hole to fill at the running back position. 

4. Quinshon Judkins, Ole Miss to Ohio State

Yes, we have two Ohio State running backs within the top four. Judkins coming to Ohio State was a surprise considering Henderson came back to school, but it helps create a great one-two punch for the Buckeyes. With the playoff expanding to 12 teams, this is a great opportunity for Judkins and Henderson to not carry a full load. Judkins rushed for 1,158 yards last year, adding 15 touchdowns. He represents a massive pickup for the Buckeyes. 

5. Omarion Hampton, North Carolina 

Hampton had a monster season for North Carolina last year, rushing for 1,504 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hampton might carry an even bigger load this season since North Carolina lost Drake Maye to the NFL. 

6. Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech

Brooks is a standout running back for Texas Tech. I remember watching him on TV and noticing his rushing style. He is a legit running back who is hard to bring down. He rushed for 1,541 yards last year to pace the Red Raiders. 


7. Donovan Edwards, Michigan

Edwards was stuck behind Blake Corum, so he only rushed for 497 yards last season. However, with Corum off to the NFL, he is expected to carry a big load. Michigan is also breaking in a new quarterback, so leaning on Edwards will probably be a recipe for success. 

8. Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen, Penn State

It is hard to separate these two talented running backs. Both split carries at Penn State, so I kept them together for the eighth spot. Singleton had a bigger 2022 season than he did last year, but he is still an explosive running back that defenses have to stop. Allen is a consistent running back, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Together, they form a great one-two punch. 

9. Trevor Etienne, Florida to Georgia

Etienne was a good player last year for a very average Florida team. He rushed for 753 yards in 2023, but Florida struggled as a team on offense. He now goes to Georgia where he will be the featured running back on a college football national championship contender. He should have a strong season. 

10. Jahiem White, West Virginia

This might feel a bit premature, but White had a fantastic freshman season for the Mountaineers. He rushed for 842 yards while splitting carries. White should have a bigger role this season. I expect him to be a big-play machine for West Virginia. 

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