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Week 4 College Football / 2022 NFL Draft Notes
Assessing the 2022 RB class and the top rushers in the country
Matt Miller noted that the 2022 NFL Draft could have at least three edge rushers go in the top-10: Kayvon Thibodeaux, George Karlaftis, and Drake Jackson. He has USC’s Jackson as the number seven overall prospect.
Ohio State freshman RB TreVeyon Henderson had 277 rushing yards and it’s no small deal to break a rushing record at Ohio State. There are a number of mind-blowing freshman running backs. Auburn freshman RB Jarquez Hunter leads the nation with 12.3 yards per carry … but most of that came against weak competition.
Let’s check in on players who’ve been expected to be “highly-drafted” running backs in the 2022 class. PFF’s Mike Renner’s top-5 in July was Breece Hall, Jerrion Ealy, Isaiah Spiller, Zonovan Knight, and Chris Rodriguez. He listed Kenny McIntosh as a wild card, and Tyler Allgeier, Brian Robinson, Kyren Williams, Sincere McCormick, Zamir White, Kevin Harris, Mohamed Ibrahim as players to watch.
It’s been a rougher-than-expected start for RB Breece Hall and Iowa State. He is 57th in the nation in rushing yards with 238 yards in three games, nine catches for 55 yards, and four rushing touchdowns. Hall is averaging only 4.0 yards per carry a game.
It’s still early in the season, so one thing that every player still needs to do is prove what he can do when the schedule gets tougher. Jerrion Ealy wasn’t productive vs Louisville (12 carries, 37 yards, but 51 receiving yards), but then ran all over Austin Peay and Tulane. Ealy is 94th in rushing yards.
Isaiah Spiller has 40 carries for 250 yards, 6.3 YPC, eight catches for 80 yards, and he’s 49th in rushing yards.
NC State RB Zonovan Knight had a similar first two seasons to Ealy, rushing for a little over 700 yards each time, and this year he had 16 carries for 163 yards in Week 1 vs South Florida. Last weekend he had 11 carries for 104 yards against Furman. I can’t click on Furman’s college on college-football-reference.com because he’s not a big enough program and I always find that telling. In Week 2, Knight had eight carries for 31 yards (3.9 YPC) against Mississippi State. I can click on Mississippi State.
Kentucky RB Chris Rodriguez, Jr. is another player looking to have his breakout season and right now he has 59 carries for 377 yards, 6.4 YPC, and four touchdowns. Rodriguez flipped his resume as compared to the other running backs, so he’s creative too: Rodriguez, Jr. had 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Missouri, but then 13 carries for 46 yards against Chattanooga. I should add in a note here that a running back is a hell of a lot more than his rushing yard totals, I know, and I do thank you for pointing that out. These numbers aren’t meant to be the final say in how these players are viewed as prospects. And production is also appreciated, well-received by scouts and coaches, and can signal us to take a closer look at that player — for good or bad reasons.
Rodriguez, Jr. is the highest-ranked RB on this list so far, as he is seventh in the country in rushing yards. None of the top six made Renner’s list but that’s hardly meaningful, I’m just warning you that I’ll have to take a closer look at some players maybe.
And the whole point of a “wild card” is that things can go either way, so I can’t fault Renner for Kenny McIntosh’s issues at Georgia this season. He’s buried on the depth chart and in three games has 11 carries for 31 yards, 3.1 YPC, and five receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown.
BYU RB Tyler Allgeier has 65 carries for 265 yards. He’s faced three Pac-12 teams: Arizona, Utah, and Arizona State. He rushed for over 1,100 yards with Zach Wilson as the QB last year.
Brian Robinson has 37 carries for 208 yards, as Nick Saban transforms into more of a passin’ school.
Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams was on Renner’s watch list and he’s definitely drawn some eyeballs in the first three games. He has 211 rushing yards, 4.6 YPC, and 11 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. He’s 17th in the nation in yards from scrimmage and has been fun to watch.
Sincere McCormick has 61 carries for 268 yards, 4.4 YPC with UTSA. So far, it really doesn’t seem like any of these running backs other than Williams have given people a firm reason to believe they’ll be drafted “early” or at all. But in some of those cases, it’s just because they need to face stiffer competition.
Georgia RB Zamir White is 135th in rushing yards at 28 carries for 159 yards.
South Carolina’s Kevin Harris has had the toughest time: 23 carries for 55 yards in two games. He did have to face Georgia’s defense last week (16 carries, 31 yards).
Perhaps Mohamed Ibrahim is actually have the toughest year, as he will miss the season with a lower leg injury unfortunately.
Which 2022 draft eligible running backs have been insanely productive?
Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker leads the nation with 493 rushing yards, along with six total touchdowns. The Wake Forest transfer ran over Northwestern for 264 yards and Miami for 172 yards.
Duke senior Mataeo Durant has 66 carries for 398 yards with seven touchdowns, plus 106 receiving yards and another score. He did struggle against North Carolina A&T, another non-clickable.
Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn is listed at 5’6. He had 124 rushing yards on only 13 carries against Stanford, and he’s gone over 120 yards in each of the two games since then. He’s averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Yep, he’s 5’6.
Matt Miller’s Defensive Player of the Week is Penn State S Jaquan Brisker. Brisker has 2.5 TFL and an interception over the first three games.
Iowa RB Tyler Goodson, 5’10, 199 lbs, had 153 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He’s rushed for at least 99 yards in six of his last nine starts, and in one of the other ones he had 92 yards.
UAB TE Gerrit Prince had 136 yards and 2 TD, while Iowa TE Sam LaPorta had seven catches and Louisville TE Marshon Ford had eight catches for 100 yards.
Okay, I better post this and move onto my next edition of the updates.