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Here is a look at some of the top running backs to watch this upcoming college football season:
Tyler Allgeier, BYU
In his first full season as a starter, Allgeier became the first 1,000-yard rusher at BYU since Jamaal Williams in 2016 by rushing for 1,130 yards in 2020. His average of 7.53 yards per carry was the most by a Cougars tailback since Luke Staley (8.1) in 2001.
Tank Bigsby, Auburn
Bigsby earned Freshman of the Year honors in the SEC after rushing for 834 yards in 10 games last season. It was the second-highest total by a freshman running back just behind SMU’s Ulysses Bentley IV (913 yards). He cracked the 100-yard mark four times, including a season-high 192 yards against Mississippi State on Dec. 12.
Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
Brooks chose to opt-out last season due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic but that came on the heels of back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018-19. He’s looking to become the first Oklahoma tailback to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons since Samaje Perine (2014-16). The Sooners have had a 1,000-yard rusher in six of the last seven seasons.
Jarek Broussard, Colorado
Broussard earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year honors after leading the league with 895 yards in a shortened six-game season. He finished third in the country with an average of 149.17 yards per game. It was a bounce-back campaign after the Texas native sat out the 2018 (redshirt) and 2019 (injury) seasons.
Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss
Ole Miss led the SEC in rushing, thanks in part to Ealy, who finished with 745 yards in just nine games last season. It was the second consecutive season in which Ealy has rushed for at least 700 yards. His 1,467 rushing yards rank him among the top 20 in career rushing totals in school history. His versatility was also on display as a kick returner on special teams.
Breece Hall, Iowa State
Hall put together one of the best rushing performances in Iowa State history after leading the nation in rushing with 1,572 yards. It was the third-highest single-season total behind Troy Davis, who rushed for 2,010 yards in 1995 and 2,185 yards in 1996. His 21 touchdowns tied the school record for the most in a season with Davis.
Kevin Harris, South Carolina
Harris earned first-team All-SEC honors after leading the conference in rushing (113.8) while becoming the first South Carolina tailback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since Mike Davis in 2013. His 1,138 yards were the fifth-best single-season total in school history and he’s the career leader with a rushing average of 6.4 yards.
Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota
Ibrahim set a single-season school record by averaging 153.7 yards per game in 2020. The Baltimore native was the only running back in the Big Ten to rush for 1,000 yards last season. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in a game in eight straight games going back to 2019.
Sincere McCormick, UTSA
McCormick finished second in the country to Iowa State’s Hall in rushing yards after totaling 1,467 yards in 11 games for the Road Runners. His 249 carries were the third most in the nation behind Hall (279) and Alabama’s Najee Harris (251).
Camerun Peoples, Appalachian State
Peoples led the Sun Belt Conference in rushing yards (1,124) and rushing touchdowns (12) last season, but his performance in the postseason caught everyone’s attention. He set multiple NCAA records by rushing for 317 yards and five touchdowns in the Mountaineers’ 56-28 win over North Texas in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
Bijan Robinson, Texas
Robinson burst on the scene as a true freshman, finishing with a team-high 703 yards in nine games for the Longhorns. He set a school record by averaging 8.2 yards per attempt and twice averaged more than 18 yards per carry in a game (Kansas State, Colorado). He crossed the 100-yard rushing mark in a game three times, including a season-high 183 yards in the team’s Alamo Bowl win.
Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama
Robinson shared backfield duties with Harris, accounting for about 20% of Alabama’s rushing yards (483) and carries (91) last season. Harris’ departure opens the door for Robinson to take over a larger role in the Crimson Tide offense that has produced a 1,000-yard rusher in five of the last six seasons.
Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M
Spiller was one of three running backs to rush for 1,000 yards last season in the SEC after totaling 1,036 yards in 10 games for the Aggies. It was the 18th time in school history that a Texas A&M player has rushed for 1,000 yards in a season and the most yards since Trayveon Williams in 2018. Spiller has rushed for at least 100 yards in a game 10 times in his 23 appearances during his career.
Master Teague III, Ohio State
After sharing rushing duties in 2019 and 2020, Teague steps into a more primary role in 2021. He finished with 514 yards and eight touchdowns after battling an offseason Achilles issue. It was a shortened season highlighted by a career-high 169 yards against Indiana on Nov. 21 from a physical rusher who provides the Buckeyes with another explosive playmaker in the backfield.
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
Williams had a breakout season for the Irish in 2020, finishing with a career-high 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was one of six FBS players to carry the football at least 200 times last season and the third Notre Dame player to accomplish the feat in the last decade. Williams was a reliable receiver, finishing third on the team in receptions (32).
Honorable mention: Zamir White (Georgia), Trey Sanders (Alabama), Chris Rodriquez (Kentucky), Tyler Goodson (Iowa), Ty Chandler (North Carolina), Ulysses Bentley IV (SMU), Lyn-J Dixon (Clemson), Cam’Ron Harris (Miami).