Rivals Rankings Week: New 2022 RB rankings
The updated 2022 Rivals250 is out, with our position and state rankings being rolled out throughout today and Thursday. Here is a look at the running back position and storylines heading into the Early Signing Period, which starts next Wednesday.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Saturday: Who should be awarded fifth star?
Sunday: Who should be No. 1?
Thursday: Defensive position rankings
Friday: State rankings
TEAMS WITH TOP COMMITS: Georgia, North Carolina, Penn State
Georgia has done a phenomenal job recruiting running backs over the years, and the 2022 class is no different as the Bulldogs lead the way with five-star Branson Robinson, who is an incredibly physical and tough runner and has been compared to Nick Chubb numerous times. Robinson isn’t the only running back committed to Georgia, as Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Oakland four-star Jordan Bryant-James should not be overlooked either, especially after running for 1,653 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.
North Carolina locked up its two outstanding running backs in the summer and early fall when in-state four-star Omarion Hampton picked the Tar Heels in July and then four-star George Pettaway from Suffolk (Va.) Nansemond Suffolk Academy committed to UNC in late September.
Penn State’s two backs are noteworthy as well. First came in-state four-star standout Nicholas Singleton, who totaled 2,049 yards and 41 rushing TDs this season. He has star potential for the Nittany Lions. Singleton was joined in the class 10 days later by four-star Kaytron Allen from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. Allen is more of a power back, but he led IMG in rushing as a junior, which is a big statement.
PLAYER ON THE RISE: Justin Williams
The four-star running back from Dallas (Ga.) East Paulding committed to West Virginia in July and it looked like a major recruiting victory for the Mountaineers. Williams is physically built, moves well and is versatile coming out of the backfield. But West Virginia couldn’t hold on to his pledge, as SEC schools closer to home got involved and Williams backed off his commitment in mid-November.
Auburn and Tennessee look to be battling it out now for Williams, who had 2,176 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns this season. The four-star likes his relationship with Auburn position coach Cadillac Williams, and he visited The Plains this past weekend. He will be back in Knoxville this weekend and then it will be decision time.
In the latest rankings release, Williams moved up to the No. 11 running back in the 2022 class.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: TreVonte' Citizen, Jovantae Barnes
After a commitment to LSU that lasted a little more than four months, Citizen backed off his pledge to the Tigers in recent days and said his recruitment is basically starting over. Florida is definitely one school to watch and new Gators coach Billy Napier has made the Lake Charles (La.) College Prep standout a top priority. Michigan State and Washington are two others that have offered recently.
Barnes is another running back to watch. USC coach Lincoln Riley stopped first to see Barnes during his time in Las Vegas last week as he’s a major target for the Trojans’ backfield. Oklahoma is still definitely a player for the Las Vegas Desert Pines standout because of Barnes’ relationship with position coach DeMarco Murray, and then Florida State is also a big-time contender. Miami could be an interesting spot since Barnes had interest in the Canes prior to Mario Cristobal being hired, and that interest could only be reinforced now.