10. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Sr. Vanderbilt
The former Illinois transfer stepped in right away and turned into one of the SEC’s best backs averaging eight yards per pop with 1,244 yards and 12 scores. The 5-10, 218-pounder has home run-hitting speed – hitting Baylor for 243 yards on just 13 carries – as he finished the year running for 127 yards or more in four of the last five games.
– 2019 Vanderbilt Preview
9. Cam Akers, Jr., Florida State
Eventually he’ll show off all he can do. He has yet to work behind a strong line, and last season he wasn’t healthy enough to overcome the offense’s issues. The 5-11, 212-pound five-star talent only ran for 706 yards and six scores, but he’s a great receiver, has the talent to be the star of the attack, and has all the skills to finally put it all together.
– 2019 Florida State Preview
8. Chuba Hubbard, Soph. Oklahoma State
With Justice Hill gone, the 6-1, 207-pound Hubbard gets more chances to shine. All he did last Eason was average six yards per carry with 740 yards and even scores, catch two touchdown passes, and serve as a dangerous kick returner. He’s a big bolt of lightning.
– 2019 Oklahoma State Preview
7. AJ Dillon, Jr., Boston College
The 6-0, 245-pounder finally wore down a wee bit last season, missing a few games banged up in a 1,108-yard, ten touchdown season. There might not be whole lot of wiggle in his game, and he might have a short shelf life considering the shots he takes, but he’ll put up more massive numbers first.
– 2019 Boston College Preview
CFN Preseason Third Team All-America Running Backs
6. Eno Benjamin, Jr. Arizona State
The 5-10, 201-pounder isn’t a big back, and he doesn’t bring a whole lot of power, but he’s as dependable, quick, and as tough a back as any in college football. The Pac-12 star handled the ball 335 times – that includes his 35 catches – running for 1,642 yards and 16 scores, and coming up with two more as a receiver. The offense will flow even more through him this year.
– 2019 Arizona State Preview
5. Najee Harris, Jr. Alabama
It’s time for the one-time super-recruit to go from very good to potentially Heisman-caliber special. He’ll have to share the workload with Brian Robinson, and Mr. Tagovailoa and his amazing receiving corps will have their fun, but with 6-2, 230-pound size, five-star talent, and the NFL ability to become amazing with Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris gone, get ready for this to be his year.
– 2019 Alabama Preview
CFN Preseason Second Team All-America Running Backs
4. JK Dobbins, Jr. Ohio State
Either the 5-10, 217-pound Dobbins uses his experience, slippery running style, and raw speed to blow up into more of the back he was as a freshman – running for over 1,400 yards – or Justin Fields will struggle and the running game will be bottled up. The Buckeye junior is too good not to be in the mix for a 1,500-yard season no matter what, but if the line comes together fast, look out.
– 2019 Ohio State Preview
3. D’Andre Swift, Jr. Georgia
Considering the Georgia receiving corps is really, really young, and the offensive line is really, really good, it’ll be way too easy to lean on the talents of Swift, a 5-9, 215-pounder who ran for 1,049 yards and ten scores in a timeshare. Give him over 200 carries and watch him blossom into a Heisman-caliber back who pushes past 1,500 yards.
– 2019 Georgia Preview
CFN Preseason First Team All-America Running Backs
2. Travis Etienne, Jr. Clemson
Yeah, Trevor Lawrence and the passing game will enjoy most of the glory, but a speedy 5-10, 200-pound back will do his part to carry another national championship-level offense. Etienne averaged over eight yards per carry, running for 1,658 yards and 24 scores – and catching two touchdown passes – with two touchdowns or more in four of the last five games.
– 2019 Clemson Preview
1. Jonathan Taylor, Jr. Wisconsin
The Badgers have to come up with a new starting quarterback, the offensive line is undergoing an overhaul, and Taylor can’t be that good for a third straight season, can he? On pace to break Ron Dayne’s NCAA rushing record if he can keep this going for two more seasons, the UW star is coming off a 2,194-yard, 16-touchdown season.
How good have his first two years been? All he has to do is run for 1,100 yards this season, and he’ll be one of the top 15 yardage backs in college football history. If he can hit the 2,000-yard mark again, he’ll be knocking on the yardage doors of Charles White, Ricky Williams and Tony Dorsett.
– 2019 Wisconsin Preview