Not a single running back was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft — but next year’s draft class is poised to keep that from becoming a tradition.
So, which premier back will prove to be the most premier next season? Let’s take a look at a few of the top guys:
Bijan Robinson, Texas
Robinson was responsible for a majority of Texas’ rushing attack last season. He carried the ball 195 times for 1,127 yards and racked up 11 rushing touchdowns. Robinson also caught 26 balls for 295 yards and four touchdowns. In the past two seasons, he has tallied 281 rushes, 1,830 yards and 15 rushing scores.
Robinson was named first-team All-Big 12 by conference coaches and the Associated Press as a sophomore and became the 55th Longhorn with 1,000 career rushing yards. He was just the 13th to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a season, and he rushed for 100 yards six times in 2021-22, tied for 11th-most in Texas history.
Robinson continued to etch his name in the Longhorn history books throughout last year, adding the fifth-longest streak in program history with five consecutive 100-yard rushing games. His three games of 100 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards are only behind Cedric Benson for most in UT history.
Blake Corum, Michigan
In the 2021-22 season, Corum compiled 952 yards and 18 TDs on 144 carries. He added 49 receptions for 468 yards and four touchdowns to his stat line.
Corum was an All-Big Ten third-team selection last season and was Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week following a Sept. 11 games against Washington in which he racked up 21 carries, 171 rushing yards and three touchdowns, all career highs at the time. He also added a 49-yard punt return to equal 231 all-purpose yards in that game.
Corum rushed for 100-plus yards in four games last season.
Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State
Vaughn had a supremely impactful 2021-22 season, rushing for 1,404 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns on 235 rushes. He was also impactful on the receiving end, with 49 receptions, 468 yards, and four touchdowns.
In 2021, he was a consensus All-American and was the 2021 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, according to Pro Football Focus. He’ll also enter the 2022-23 season ranked first among all non-kickers in career points per game (8.1), second among active players in career all-purpose yards per game (89.0), and tied for eighth in rushing touchdowns ( 25).
Vaughn led all Big 12 running backs in catches and receiving yards over the last two seasons combined. He will enter next season with a streak of six consecutive 100-plus yard rushing games.
Treveyon Henderson, Ohio State
As a freshman, Henderson rushed the ball 183 times for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns, while pulling in 27 receptions for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
Most notably, Henderson set Ohio State’s freshman rushing record with a 270-yard performance against Tulsa, breaking a 49-year record held by Archie Griffin. He’s the fourth true freshman running back in school history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards.
additional, his 19 total touchdowns are Ohio State’s freshman record, previously held by Maurice Clarett, who had 18 in 2002.
Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
Gibbs spent two seasons at Georgia Tech but transferred to Alabama at the end of the 2021-22 season. In two seasons at Georgia Tech, he rushed the ball 232 times for 1,206 yards and eight touchdowns, and boasted 59 receptions for 768 yards and five touchdowns.
He was named honorable mention All-Conference as a return specialist during his freshman season in 2020. Gibbs recorded over 100 scrimmage yards in six games last season for Tech, and set a season-high in rushing yards with 99 in their season opener against Northern Illinois.
Gibbs also set a career-high with 125 receiving yards against Pittsburgh last season.
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