Rivals Rankings Week: Breaking down the 2023 RBs
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: Running Back | All-Purpose Back | Pro-Style QB | Dual-Threat QB
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Sunday: Who should be No. 1?
Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Should Branch be the No. 1 WR? | Who will be the next five-star?
Tuesday: New Rivals250 | Biggest Movers | Gorney goes position-by-position
Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Teams that should be pleased | QB rankings spotlight
Thursday: Defensive position rankings released | Could this be the best QB class ever?
Friday: State rankings released | Who is on cusp of four-star ranking?
NO. 1 AT THE POSITION: Rueben Owens II
Owens remains the No. 1 prospect in the backfield and the top-ranked all-purpose back while Alabama commits Justice Haynes and Richard Young hold the top two spots in the running backs rankings.
Owens is not among the five-star players yet but that option remains on the table as the El Campo, Texas, standout heads into his senior season and the all-important all-star events. We’ve intentionally dialed back on naming five-stars in the backfield since their level of importance has slowed in NFL Drafts.
Owens is a phenomenal talent who was impressive at the OT7 event in Las Vegas this summer and could be in line for another monster season. He’s best as a running back who can shed tackles, bounce off guys, sneak through tiny holes for big gains and then use his speed to get to the end zone. Where Owens adds an extra layer is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield or even line up and make plays as a receiver.
The high four-star has said he only plans to take visits to Louisville this season but Texas A&M, Texas and others are not going to back off trying to flip him.
TWO PROGRAMS TO WATCH: Georgia and Alabama
Georgia went hard after in-state legacy Justice Haynes. The Bulldogs struck out. Georgia went hard after four-star and No. 2 running back Richard Young. The Bulldogs struck out.
That has been one of the shockers of the offseason that Haynes chose Alabama over Athens and then shortly after, Young didn’t go to the opposite place and instead joined Haynes in Tuscaloosa. All this talk about wear and tear on the running back’s body and sharing the load was not just lip service from those two superstars.
Joe McKnight and Marc Tyler became the only 1-2 combination to pick the same program when they signed with USC in 2007. If Haynes and Young stick with the Crimson Tide, they should provide a lethal duo in Alabama’s backfield for years to come.
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THREE PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Michigan and Notre Dame have been the favorites for Love, the only uncommitted running back among the top 18 at the position, but that will be interesting to watch since the Irish and the Wolverines each have two running back pledges in their classes. By no means does that eliminate Michigan or Notre Dame for Love but some SEC programs have been poking around a lot so it could be something to watch.
Robinson maintains his firm commitment to UCLA but Georgia is pushing for him and if a visit to Athens happens then things could get more interesting. It’s been clear that the Bulldogs are looking for at least one running back in this class and while there are many avenues toward that goal, Robinson is one of the best-looking and most physical players in the class. If the Bruins keep him, it would be huge for Chip Kelly and his staff.
Wilcox is another one to watch. Louisville and Kentucky are high on the list among others but in recent weeks the three-star running back has been hearing more from Georgia and position coach Dell McGee. If the Bulldogs get in the mix, then Wilcox’s decision would get far tougher.