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Rivals Rankings Week: Storylines to follow with top 2026 running backs

The first Rivals250 for the 2026 class has been released and now it’s time to break down each position. We continue with the running backs by looking at four big storylines moving forward.

NEW 2026 POSITION RANKINGS: Pro-Style QB | Dual-Threat QB | Running Back | All-Purpose Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Offensive Tackle | Offensive Guard | Center




Sunday: Who could unseat Jahkeem Stewart in the 2026 class?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Meet the new five-stars

Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Ten highest debuts | Position-by-position

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Quarterback rankings breakdown

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: State rankings released

Saturday: Roundtable on the 2026 rankings


FINAL 2023 TEAM RANKINGS: Comprehensive (overall) ranking | High school/JUCO ranking | Transfer portal ranking

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer portal player ranking | Transfer portal team ranking | Transfer Tracker | Message board



It doesn’t look like a loaded year at running back but Savion Hiter has jumped out to the early lead in the rankings. The Virginia native has the size, explosiveness and natural gifts as a runner to warrant such a lofty ranking. Hiter doesn’t play great competition but he puts up big stats regardless of who lines up on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

There are a host of other big-time backs in the 2026 class who could challenge for the top spot, each with their own exceptional traits. Tradarian Ball has documented elite speed. Davian Groce is as versatile as they come. Dezephen Walker, Jonathan Hatton Jr., Messiah Mickens, and Deshonne Redeaux round out the rest of the running backs ranked inside the top 100 of the Rivals250. Each of them are gunning for Hiter’s spot atop the running back rankings.



Javian Osborne
Javian Osborne (Nick Lucero/

The 2026 running back talent in the Lone Star State is deep. There are more Texas running backs in the 2026 Rivals250 than in any previous year. There’s no telling if the rankings will end up that way in January 2026 but, regardless, Texas is where college coaches will spend a lot of time pursuing their running back in the 2026 recruiting cycle.

Speedy Tradarian Ball and his 10.5-second 100m lead the way among Texas running backs. He landed at No. 37 in the Rivals250. Just a few spots behind him at No. 47 is Davian Groce, the top-ranked all-purpose back in the Rivals250. His nearly equal totals of rushing and receiving yards during his sophomore season was very impressive. Joining Ball and Groce in the top 100 is Oklahoma commit Jonathan Hatton Jr., who scored 21 touchdowns while rushing for 1,222 yards.

Adding to the depth of the 2026 Texas running backs are Javian Osborne (No. 143), Ryelan Morris (No. 146), Longhorns commit Raycine Guillory (No. 149), and KJ Edwards (No. 218). Osborne, who ran for an eye-popping 2,231 yards and 39 touchdowns last season, could find himself pushing his way up the rankings down the road. Morris doubled as quarterback for his Honey Grove High School squad but still posted 1,681 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns. Guillory is the only commitment for Steve Sarkisian’s 2026 recruiting class in Austin and he won’t be the only running back the Longhorns take in this cycle. Edwards averaged more than 10 yards per carry on his way to 1,706 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns last season.



Jonathan Hatton Jr., Messiah Mickens and Raycine Guillory are the only three 2026 running backs who have committed so far. Since Mickens went public with his decision to commit to Penn State in August of last year, one running back has announced their commitment every two months or so. Hatton announced for Oklahoma in October and Texas added Guillory’s commitment this past January.

So who could be next to announce their commitment? The list of possible candidates isn’t obvious right now, with many of the top uncommitted running backs looking to take more visits before pulling the trigger on a commitment.

Savion Hiter is amid a handful of trips that includes Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State. Tradarian Ball is sifting through options like Texas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Georgia.

Davian Groce appears to be favoring programs closer to home such as Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State and SMU.

Missouri is the program to watch for Dezephen Walker but Oklahoma State is lurking along with Arkansas, Georgia, Wisconsin and Oregon.

With most of the top running backs in the 2026 class still entertaining offers and planning visits, it appears that many of them are planning on waiting to announce a commitment instead of ending their recruitment early.



Javian Mallory
Javian Mallory (Nick Lucero/

Running backs from the Sunshine State have been a mainstay in the Rivals250. There have been at least four running backs from Florida in the Rivals250 every year since 2017 but the initial 2026 Rivals250 has just one in Javian Mallory. The Boca Raton (Fla.) West Boca Raton star landed at No. 109 in the Rivals250 on Tuesday and No. 7 in the running back rankings.

Unsurprisingly, Miami and Florida State are the programs to watch in his recruitment but he is still pulling in new offers so there could be some big changes down the road.

More high-end running backs in Florida are bound to emerge this year but it’s a bit shocking to see just one Florida running back in the Rivals250 and only three others (Amari Clemons, Kaj Baker and Jayden Ford) with a three-star rating. Those totals are very low compared with what we’re used to seeing so be prepared to see those numbers grow.