Three-Point Stance: Comparing 2020 to 2019, top returning RBs
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here comparing the top-ranked prospects in the 2020 class to their 2019 counterparts, listing the top 10 returning running backs and predicts the most interesting recruitments in the 2021 class.
FACT OR FICTION: Clemson will dominate 2021 recruiting
CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
1. COMPARING 2020 TO 2019
Here is how the top-ranked prospects in the 2020 class compare, position-by-position, to their counterparts in the 2019 class.
Dual-Threat Quarterback — Bryce Young vs. Spencer Rattler — Two elite quarterbacks in great systems, but give me Rattler based on the recent success of Oklahoma quarterbacks.
Pro-Style Quarterback — D.J. Uiagalelei vs. Bo Nix — Nix had a solid first year at Auburn but I’m taking Uiagalelei here based on his size, arm and surprising mobility.
All-Purpose Back — Bijan Robinson vs. Devyn Ford — Ford is a good player and will have a nice career at Penn State but Robinson has a chance to be special. I mean really special.
Running Back — Zachary Evans vs. Trey Sanders — Sanders is coming off an injury but we are comparing players at the same stage coming out of high school and he was a little bigger and stronger (and more stable) than Evans.
Wide Receiver — Julian Fleming vs. Jadon Haselwood — This is an epic battle of two tall, talented wide receivers and I’d take Haselwood by a small margin.
Tight End — Arik Gilbert vs. Brayden Liebrock — Liebrock is a good prospect but this isn’t close as Gilbert is a freak at his position.
Offensive Tackle — Broderick Jones vs. Evan Neal — Another great battle here but I’d take Neal at the same stage because of his size and power. But Jones could be equally as good down the line.
Offensive Guard — Chris Morris vs. Kardell Thomas — Thomas is coming off an injury but out of high school he was stronger and more of a mauler.
Offensive Center — Sedrick Van Pran vs. Clay Webb — Van Pran and Webb will likely be competing for a job soon at Georgia, which makes this interesting. Webb was superior at the same stage.
Strongside Defensive End — Myles Murphy vs. Zacch Pickens — This is a tough one as both have size and speed, but give me Murphy because he’s a little more athletic.
Weakside Defensive End — William Anderson vs. Kayvon Thibodeaux — Two lean pass rushers with excellent bend, give me Thibodeaux at the same stage, but it’s close.
Defensive Tackle — Bryan Bresee vs. Antonio Alfano — Two very talented and agile defensive tackles. Alfano has already transferred, but that doesn’t take away from his talent in high school. However, Bresee is the better prospect.
Outside Linebacker — Trenton Simpson vs. Nolan Smith — I love Simpson and he’s going to be special, but Smith is the next great hybrid in the SEC and gets the nod.
Inside Linebacker — Justin Flowe vs. Nakobe Dean — Flowe is a special talent and is easily the better prospect coming out, but Dean is off to a good start.
Cornerback — Elias Ricks vs. Derek Stingley Jr. — The LSU cornerback duo next season? Could be but Stingley is one of the best corners I’ve ever seen. He’s the pick.
Safety — Avantae Williams vs. Daxton Hill — Williams is smooth and has good size but Hill had that elite speed coming out and is the better prospect.
Athlete — Mookie Cooper vs. Bru McCoy — Cooper could be dynamic at Ohio State but McCoy is a rarity as a huge wide receiver who could also play defense if needed.
2. THE BEST RETURNING RUNNING BACKS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Today I’m continuing a series that looks at the top returning college football players at each position. Here’s my top 10 at running back.
1. Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State — I love Hubbard and think he will put up monster numbers again next season despite likely being overshadowed again on a national stage.
2. Najee Harris, Alabama — Harris over Etienne? This was a tough call but I think Najee has a crazy year.
3. Travis Etienne, Clemson — You know it’s a good running back year when a player like Etienne is No 3.
4. Javian Hawkins, Louisville — If you haven’t seen Hawkins yet, check him out. He’s electric.
5. Journey Brown, Penn State — Brown is ready to be the next, great Penn State running back.
6. Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis — This kid took the world by storm last season and is the best Group of Five runner in the country.
7. Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma — Brooks should have a monster season next year a more balanced Sooner attack.
8. Zamir White, Georgia — White is next in line at Georgia and could have a bigger year than D’Andre Swift did last season. In fact if he doesn’t, it will be a disappointment.
9. Jaret Patterson, Buffalo — I might have Patterson way too low based on last season. Call it Power Five bias if you must.
10. Pooka Williams, Kansas — Pooka is an elite back who plays for a not-so-good team, so his performance is even more impressive.
3. FIVE POTENTIALLY DRAMATIC RECRUITMENTS
Predicting drama is never easy, but I’ll give it a shot. While I don’t expect a Zachary Evans-type situation in 2021 class, these prospects could have drama-filled recruitments.
1. WR Quaydarius Davis — He has already committed to SMU and Texas and, despite being a strong Longhorns lean, he will likely visit a bunch of programs like LSU, Alabama and others.
2. ATH Seven McGee — But wait, he’s committed right? McGee will visit seven (get it?) or more programs by August.
3. WR Agiye Hall — Based on how many times he changes his top schools and rumors of certain schools already backing off, this could be a wild ride.
4. CB Tony Grimes — I’m not talking about multiple commitments here, but I know he will take a lot of visits and could change his leader several times.
5. OL Amarius Mims — This may seem like an odd choice but the same could be said about Broderick Jones at this time last year. Georgia is thought to be the clear leader, but this could come down to the end with Alabama, LSU and others.