Next Man Up - New Running Backs Starting in 2022 College Football
College football isn’t the same as it once was. With the prevalence of the transfer portal and some of the best talent ever leaving for the NFL Draft, it can feel like the entirety of college football gets shaken up every season. Need some help monitoring who is out and who is filling in? CFBDynasty has you covered. There are this year’s Next Men Up for the RB position across the NCAA.
Who’s taking over for Breece Hall?
Hall was recently nabbed off the draft board by the New York Jets in the second round, and will hope to provide the same turnaround impact that he did during his time at Iowa State. But while Hall may be leaving, the Cyclones are in good hands. A close friend of Hall’s and redshirt junior running back Jirehl Brock will take the keys from Hall starting next season. He showed some flashes of star quality in his only game as RB1 this season, so expect him to make a big jump into the offense with Hall moving to the Northeast.
Who will be next up after Tyler Badie?
With Badie headed to the Ravens, Missouri looks for a new weapon to run their backfield. There’s no guarantees yet, but signs point to recent Stanford transfer Nathaniel Peat running the show for the Tigers. After a quiet 3 seasons as a Cardinal, the Columbia, MO native is hoping to make a splash back in his hometown. He’s not nearly as battle tested as last year’s backup RB Dawson Downing, and he’s no Tyler Badie, but Peat will hopefully thrive in a system where he will function as RB1.
All clear for Tyler Allgiere
Allgiere cashed in on his incredible season and was drafted to the Falcons in this year’s NFL Draft. While a player like that is hard to actually replace, BYU still needs a go-to running back. There’s no telling exactly who will function as QB1, but predictions favor California-transfer Christopher Brooks or returning senior Lopini Katoa, who hasn’t seen much action in his 4 years as a Cougar. Nothing is set in stone, but expect both of these guys to get some touches towards the beginning of the season.
Koback to the future
Although Bryant Koback didn’t hear his name on draft night, the former Toledo superstar was picked up as a free agent by the Vikings last month. But who can fill shoes the size of Koback’s? The answer is probably nobody, but it looks like the Rockets will look to returning junior Micah Kelly for an answer. The 5-9 running back didn’t put up star numbers in his few touches last season, but should have a decent chance at success in an offense that is set around running back play.
Finding a new Kenneth Walker III
The KWIII era is over in Lansing, and Michigan State has their work cut out for them in terms of finding a new RB1. They’ve got some options, though. Transfer RB Jalen Berger, who was dismissed by Wisconsin, serves as a frontrunner candidate for the job after an impressive few starts in 2020 before going down with COVID-19. Jarek Broussard from Colorado and returning, former 1000-yard season rusher Elijah Collins will also try to fight for some touches in the rotation. All 3 of them could see snaps this season, but only time will tell who ends up taking over for KWIII full time.
Finding a new Ford
Desmond Ridder and Jerome Ford’s departure from the Bearcats leaves their offense in a transition period for next season, so this discussion won’t be super clear cut. The lead target is Charles McLelland, who flashed some skill in 2018 before tearing his MCL in each knee, sidelining him for large portions of the next 3 seasons. According to reports, he’s up to speed and should be cleared as RB1 come Week 1. However, the job is still up for grabs. Look for Ethan Wright and Ryan Montgomery to try to show their stuff in early games and grab some touches throughout the season.
It’s do without Dye
There’s a fog surrounding Eugene, Oregon. The departure of both CJ Verdell and Travis Dye has left a confusing question mark on the future of the Ducks backfield. There are three returners for the Ducks who all could see minutes: Byron Cardwell, Seven McGee and Sean Dollars. Noah Whittington also joins the group, but is expected to only get a few touches throughout the season. None of these guys are guaranteed RB1s, so expect touches to be split pretty evenly among this group towards the beginning of the season.
A Sincere departure
Sincere McCormick is now a Raider, after recently being signed to an undrafted free agency deal last week. The most prolific running back in UTSA history leaves a big hole behind in San Antonio. Brenden Brady is returning; the man who stepped in as the backup last season and fielded a boatload of carries as McCormick struggled with an injury against UTEP last year. However, his spot will be challenged by JUCO transfer Tye Edwards, who was ranked as the third highest RB transfer from JUCO in his class. These two will probably split touches, but don’t be surprised if Edwards has a legitimate spot at winning this starting role.
What to do post-Brian Robinson Jr.
BRJ has ended up in D.C. with the newly named Commanders, leaving an opportunity for the next great Alabama RB to be found. The selection from Nick Saban? Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs cemented himself as a fantastic rush option during his two years at GT, and will no doubt carry a heavy load for the Crimson Tide. He’s got big shoes to fill, but with a system as effective as Alabama’s, Gibbs has the tools to answer the challenge.
Rachaad White’s new threads
Rachaad White has left sunny Arizona for…even sunnier Florida after being drafted by the Bucs in the 3rd round of this year’s draft. The Sun Devils now turn to Xazavian Valladay to take the load of the RB work. The 4-year Wyoming RB rushed for more than 1K yards two times in his 4-year career, and while his TD numbers aren’t insane, he’s a reliable choice in the end zone. He’ll be filling big shoes with White’s production, however, the Sun Devils aren’t entirely dependent on the run game and therefore should not give Valladay a task he can’t handle.