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Next Up: Comparing RB recruits to college and NFL stars

Justice Haynes
Justice Haynes

Comparisons are always a part of recruiting coverage so over the next two weeks in our The Next… series, we take a look position-by-position on who could be one of the next superstars in college football by comparing them to a current college or NFL player. We move to running backs.

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Justice Haynes is the next Miles Sanders

Haynes and Sanders have the same running styles, they can take a licking and keep on ticking and their frames look similar even if Haynes could add 5-10 more pounds once he gets to Alabama to fill out just a little more.

When I saw Haynes this offseason, he was in excellent shape and looked like a college-ready back already. He’s having a big senior season at Buford, Ga., and that should only carry over to college as well.

Sanders had to wait patiently behind Saquon Barkley at Penn State but when he got his opportunity the former high four-star prospect shined with the Nittany Lions and then was a second-round pick. With Haynes listed as the No. 1 running back in the class, a similar trajectory could be in his future.

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Richard Young is the next Joe Mixon

Mixon was that guy who walked into a camp or any event in high school and you were awestruck because he looked like a million bucks, chiseled out of granite and then he went on the field and produced in a big way as well. Young is very similar in so many ways.

Mixon ended up as a five-star all-purpose back out of Oakley (Calif.) Freedom and right now Young is a high four-star from Lehigh Acres (Fla.) Lehigh who is a physical beast at running back, bounces off would-be tacklers and uses his power to gain extra yards.

Both Mixon at that stage and Young do run a little upright and have some stiffness, they’re not as fluid as some other running backs, but the trade-off is that they bring power and force that others just don’t have at the same stage.

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Dylan Edwards is the next Deuce Vaughn/Blake Corum mix

If a player could be a combination of Michigan’s Blake Corum and Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn then Edwards would be the outcome. At 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, the speedy four-star all-purpose back from Derby, Kan., is taller than both at 5-foot-9 (Corum is 5-foot-8 and Vaughn is 5-foot-6) and then he should develop physically more in the model of Vaughn, who’s playing at 176 than Corum, who is 210.

I wanted to stay away from a straight Vaughn comparison since Edwards is already three inches taller and reminds me more of Corum although maybe not as powerful and thick. He has the elusiveness and ability to get away from tacklers as Vaughn so the Notre Dame commit is truly a mix of both players.

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Roderick Robinson is the next Zach Charbonnet

Starting his career at Michigan and now starring at UCLA, Charbonnet has always been a big, powerful running back who could shed tacklers, gain extra yards by dragging defenders who were trying to hang on and he was always running hard and determined. Robinson is very much the same way, if not even bigger.

The San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln standout who’s already rushed for 1,804 yards and 27 touchdowns this season had been committed to UCLA for about five months but after taking visits to Texas A&M and Georgia this fall flipped to the Bulldogs. In a long line of standout running backs, Robinson could be next in line as a power back who has deceptive speed in the open field.

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Rueben Owens is the next Jahmyr Gibbs

Owens and Gibbs are about the same size physically and while Gibbs is a little more muscled up, Owens can more than hold his own as their playing styles are very similar.

Gibbs, a transfer from Georgia Tech who’s now starring at Alabama, is an all-purpose threat who’s mainly utilized as a running back but can also catch passes and make things happen that way. While Owens isn’t catching as many passes this season because his El Campo, Texas team isn’t throwing the ball as much, Owens has shown that talent at numerous off-season events.

As a running back threat, there might not be a better one than Owens, who has totaled 1,447 yards and 20 touchdowns on 171 carries. The high four-star is getting the ball a lot just like Gibbs has gotten it with the Crimson Tide this season.

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