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Rivals Rankings Week: Breaking down the 2023 RBs

Rueben Owens II
Rueben Owens II (

With the updated Rivals250 being unveiled Tuesday, it's now time to dive into the position rankings. The offensive position rankings are being released today and up next are the running backs.

NEW POSITION RANKINGS: Pro-Style QB | Dual-Threat QB | RB | All-Purpose RB

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position



Sunday: Who could supplant Arch Manning atop the Rivals250?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Should Samson Okunlola be the No. 1 OT? | Meet the new five-stars

Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Biggest risers | Gorney goes position-by-position

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Five teams that should pleased with new Rivals250

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: Final state rankings released



NO. 1 AT THE POSITION: Rueben Owens II

There is a cluster of backs all in the top 33 nationally but it’s Owens who is ranked the highest at No. 20 overall and the first player outside of five-star status. The El Campo, Texas, standout was discussed as a five-star candidate in this rankings release but it was decided to hold off until we see more of him against national competition in the coming months.

High four-stars Justice Haynes from Buford, Ga., and Lehigh Acres (Fla.) Lehigh’s Richard Young are also very highly thought of in the rankings but Owens holds a slight edge at this point.

Owens’ recruitment could get really interesting – or not at all. Many believe Texas is the program to beat and he has given numerous indications that the Longhorns are high on the list. But Texas A&M is right there as well and has probably closed the gap, he just visited TCU and Louisville rumors have been swirling recently.


TWO PROGRAMS TO WATCH: Georgia and Texas

Justice Haynes
Justice Haynes

Georgia has no problems recruiting running backs and unless a serious surprise is in store, the Bulldogs should land Haynes even though Florida and others are pushing hard. Haynes is a legacy, he’s been high on Georgia for a long time and his relationship with position coach Dell McGree is very strong.

From there, it gets interesting for the Bulldogs. They had been in the mix for Owens but that looks like it’s fallen off. A riser in the rankings, Jeremiyah Love had a phenomenal recent visit to Athens so they could be moving up the list but it seems Michigan and Notre Dame have the edge there. One back in this class might be enough because Haynes is that good but a second isn’t out of the question.

Like so much in this recruiting class, Arch Manning could have influence on his final destination, too, as it refers to running backs. If Manning ends up with the Longhorns then it would be a shock if Owens goes anywhere else. If Manning goes to Georgia, then maybe the Bulldogs get back in the Owens sweepstakes.

Either way, Texas is a team to watch. Owens is a top target but the Longhorns are also bringing in four-star Cedric Baxter from Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater on a visit as they’re one of the finalists in his recruitment. All-purpose back Tre Wisner is already committed to Texas.




THREE PROSPECTS TO WATCH: Richard Young, Jeremiyah Love, Kaleb Jackson

Richard Young might be the best running back in this class – he’s definitely an impressive physical specimen – and only time will tell where he lands in the rankings. Alabama looks to have a healthy advantage in his recruitment. But Georgia, Florida and now especially Oregon is making a serious run at him after a visit to Eugene and the expectation he could return. Still, it would be a surprise to see him anywhere other than Tuscaloosa.

Up to No. 3 at running back, Jeremiyah Love did not have insane statistics last season only because he had to share the ball with other running backs but in some ways that’s a positive for his long-term outlook since he should have some of the freshest legs among this running back crop. He loved his Georgia trip but my sense is that the St. Louis (Mo.) Christian Brothers recruit is most serious about Notre Dame and Michigan.

When it comes to Kaleb Jackson, things could go one of two ways it seems. LSU came in late but now that the Tigers have offered it could be appealing enough for the four-star running back from right down the road at Baton Rouge (La.) Liberty Magnet to pull the trigger and stay home. Being a running back in coach Brian Kelly’s offenses has made for big paydays before. The second option would be for Jackson to head to Texas A&M where he’s received more attention and earlier in his recruitment. The Aggies are building a monster and Jackson could thrive in College Station as well.