Breece Hall
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s carrying the rock the most this year? Who’s the most electrifying? Let’s talk running backs! 

Tab Bamford

The college football season kicks off this weekend and we’re breaking down the top 10 offensive weapons to watch on the gridiron this year.

We’ve already talked about the quarterbacks and receivers. Now, let’s discuss the running backs.

Youth will be served in the backfields across American this year. Which backs will make history? And which will turn this season into a resume for the next level?

As always, let us know who we missed and who we should keep an eye on this year.

1. Breece Hall, Iowa State

Iowa State has big plans for this season and Hall figures to be a central figure in their hopes. Hall became Iowa State’s first unanimous All-American last year after leading the nation in carries (279), rushing yards (1,572) and yards after contact last season (820). He’s dominated the Big 12 and looks to continue doing that this season.

2. Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M

Spiller’s versatility makes him a huge asset for the Aggies. He had 1,036 total rushing yards on 188 carries last year and his 103.60 yards per game average ranked third in the SEC. He also caught 20 balls for 193 yards. If Texas A&M wants to make noise in the SEC, Spiller will need to do work. The NFL will be watching.

3. Bijan Robinson, Texas

The first sophomore on our list, Robinson finished last season strong. As the feature back in Steve Sarkisian’s offense, he’ll be asked to carry the load for the Longhorns. If what we saw from him as a freshman is any indication, he could push Hall for the Big 12 rushing title this year.

4. Tank Bigsby, Auburn

Another sophomore, Bigsby was the SEC Freshman of the Year last season after averaging 122.4 all-purpose yards per game last season. Like Robinson, he’ll figure more prominently in the offense in his second season and should be a dynamic player to watch.

5. Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma

Brooks ran for over 1,000 yards in 2019 but opted out of last season. With Rhamondre Stevenson out, Brooks will be back as the featured runner for Oklahoma – who have legit College Football Playoff aspirations. He could bounce back to being a top threat this season for the Sooners.

6. Kyren Williams, Notre Dame

Williams was second-team All-ACC last year (which feels odd that a Notre Dame player was all-ANY conference). He rushed for 1,125 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore and will look to build on those numbers this year for the Irish.

7. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota

Yes, the best running back in the Big Ten is at Minnesota. Ibrahim was named the Big Ten Running back of the year after producing 1,076 yards and 15 touchdowns. His 153.7 yards per game are a record for the Gophers.

8. Jerrion Ealy, Mississippi

Ealy scored almost every way you can last year as a sophomore (rushing, receiving and on a kickoff return). Lane Kiffin loves his versatility and will use him all over the field. A junior, he has the experience to take a big step forward this year.

9. Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State

If you enjoy watching Chicago Bears’ back Tarik Cohen, you’ll love Vaughn. He was the Big 12’s Freshman of the Year last year after leading Kansas State in rushing (642) and receiving (434) yards. Those numbers were good enough for second-team all-conference honors as a freshman.

10. Master Teague III, Ohio State

Teague split the backfield with Trey Sermon last year but still led the team with 897 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. With Justin Fields now on the Chicago Bears, Ohio State will likely rely on their veteran receivers and Teague to get their young quarterbacks into the flow of the college game. He could have a strong season for the Buckeyes.

Honorable Mention

  • Kevin Marks, Jr, Buffalo
  • Sincere McCormick, UTSA
  • Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State
  • Kevin Harris, South Carolina
  • Tyler Goodson, Iowa
  • CJ Verdell, Oregon
  • Jalen Berger, Wisconsin