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2022 CFF Running Back Rankings, Profiles and Projections

Building a college fantasy football backfield is both an art and science. There is no one way to draft your runners, and the structure depends on your opponents’ selections in drafts and your comfortability with risk. In a recent CFF Best Ball draft, I really liked how I stacked my ball carriers based on my projections and current role in their team’s offense.

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Four runners fell from the board among the first six picks, and with the seventh pick overall, I plucked Jahmyr Gibbs, who is my third-ranked running back. In the third round, I could not believe Sean Tucker remained available, bypassing another top ten runner did not cross my mind. My projections have the two playmakers combining for 2,500 rushing yards, 75 receptions for 830 yards and 29 touchdowns, scoring 544.5 fantasy points and averaging 22.6 points per game.

Afterward, I waited to acquire a third ball carrier, and in the eighth round, grabbed freshman Nicholas Singleton, who can start in the Flex position. With three runners who I am comfortable with, I forsook the position until the 15th round. I finally selected E.J. Smith, who will likely be the starter at Stanford. In the final nine rounds, I selected Israel Abanikanda (18), Jaren Mangham (21), and Nathan Carter (25) who are all at the top of their team’s depth charts, opening training camp.

When drafting a CFF backfield, be open-minded and follow the value that is presented based on ADP. When opponents take players in my que, I do not panic and immediately pivot to another runner. Clever CFF managers understand the intersection of art and science when compiling a backfield.

CFF RB Tiers

I have placed the running back profiles in tiers—Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude—to provide flexibility for CFF managers based on their league’s scoring format, roster construction, and starting lineup requirements. I have also provided fantasy projections for all the players.

For more on the upcoming NCAA Football season check out my full 2022 CFB Player Rankings!

Summa Cum Laude

Bijan Robinson, Texas

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 35.2 ppg. (18)

Rushing: 199 ypg. (26)

2021 Fantasy Points: 23.2 ppg. (Robinson)

The NIL has forever changed college football. One of the happiest recipients is Longhorns’ star Bijan Robinson, who now drives a Lamborghini until the spring of 2023. “When Dreams turn into Reality. God, I’m Grateful,” Robinson stated in an Instagram post after signing his sixth NIL deal.

While Robinson reaps the rewards from his hard work, coach Steve Sarkisian does not enjoy the splendor of getting a free sports car yet. He is already on the hot seat after posting a 5-7 record in his first season in Austin, TX. In order to turn the team around, Sarkisian dipped into the transfer portal, signed 5-star QB Quinn Ewers and hit the recruiting trail, acquiring six offensive linemen to improve the unit.

If the Longhorns’ coach wants to drive a free Lamborghini around Austin, TX, he must put the ball into Robinson’s hands as often as possible. In 2021, the junior playmaker touched the ball 221 times in 10 games. At 6’0” and 221-pounds, Robinson is a future first-round pick in the NFL Draft and clearly capable of nearly 300 touches in 2022.

Last year, the bruising ball carrier exceeded 1,100 yards rushing, snatched 26 passes for 295 yards and scored 15 times. He was named First Team All-Big 12 and a semifinalist for the Maxwell, Doak Walker, and Earl Campbell Awards. In CFF drafts, Robinson is easily a top five-overall selection and a case could be made as the first player off the board.

TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 45.7 ppg. (1)

Rushing: 180.6 ypg. (47)

2021 Fantasy Points: 20.8 (Henderson)

In one CFF Draft, the top three picks overall were the Buckeyes’ terrific trio: QB C.J. Stroud, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB TreVeyon Henderson. I cannot disagree with the selections: Ohio State is loaded on offense, and Henderson is the engine that drives the machine.

As a true freshman last year, Henderson sauntered for 1,248 rushing yards, averaged 6.8 yards per carry, corralled 27 passes for 312 yards and crossed the finish line 19 times. He joined an elite group of Buckeyes’ freshman rushers, becoming the fourth—Robert Smith (1990), Maurice Clarett (2002) and J.K. Dobbins (2017)—in school history to surpass 1,000 yards:

Henderson surpassed 100 yards on the ground three times while posting six games over 100 yards from scrimmage. Against Tulsa, Henderson broke Archie Griffin’s 49-year-old freshman record with 270 rushing yards.

At 5’10” and 215-pounds, the sensational sophomore combines speed and power with ankle-breaking juke moves and quick feet to erupt upfield. Is this the best offense in coach Ryan Day’s tenure? Some CFF fanatics believe it is the most explosive unit in the nation, and Henderson is being drafted accordingly.

Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 39.9 ppg. (6)

Rushing: 150.0 ypg. (75)

2021 Fantasy Points: 13.6 (Gibbs)

A motivated and determined Nick Saban is daunting for SEC opponents and great for CFF diehards. After losing in the National Championship Game, Saban called out coach Jimbo Fisher for spending NIL money in the offseason. Regardless of the possible irony of his comments, Saban reloaded the offense in the transfer portal this winter, replacing offensive weapons Brian Robinson and Jameson Williams.

In the backfield, the Crimson Tide plucked Jamyr Gibbs, the former Georgia Tech playmaker to carry the pigskin in 2022. “I think Gibbs gives us something at the running back position because he’s really good at pressing the holes, but he has a great burst to get to top speed quickly in setting up blocks. Very good running back, very good receiver, a good third-down back. Very good addition,” Saban stated (

In two seasons at Georgia Tech, Gibbs totaled 1,974 scrimmage yards, 59 receptions and 13 touchdowns. Moving to Alabama increases Gibbs’ fantasy prospects and potential. Over the past three campaigns, the lead ball carrier in Tuscaloosa has averaged 1,344 rushing yards, 35 receptions for 324 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. In a more dynamic offensive scheme, Gibbs is poised to smash opponents and produce a plethora of fantasy points.

Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 27.5 ppg. (76)

Rushing: 162.4 ypg. (64)

2021 Fantasy Points: 24.5 ppg. (Vaughn)

The Jayhawks’ meteorite has blazed across the college football universe with little fanfare. As a freshman and sophomore, few players burned brighter in the illustrious history of the game than Deuce Vaughn. In two seasons, the diminutive runner has totaled over 2,900 yards from scrimmage, secured 74 passes and scored 31 times.

Last year, Vaughn, 5’6” and 176-pounds, was named consensus All-American, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and First Team Academic All-Big 12. In 2020, he collected the True Freshman of the Year (247Sports), Freshman All-American (The Athletic) and Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.

After two prolific campaigns, Vaughn is now garnering national attention and a preseason Heisman candidate. “From an expectations standpoint, to have my name mentioned like that, it brings a sense that I have a lot of work to do throughout the summer going into fall camp. But it’s never something I’m focusing on. This is a very team-driven program and I have fallen right into that culture. I am eager to get back with my guys this summer. Everything else will take of itself,” Vaughn proclaimed (

The CFF community already knows the tremendous abilities and production that Vaughn provides on a weekly basis. The national media and casual fans might finally jump on the bandwagon in 2022. The pass-catching dynamo is a no-brainer first-round selection in CFF drafts.

Lew Nichols, III, Central Michigan

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 32.3 ppg. (35)

Rushing: 178 ypg. (51)

2021 Fantasy Points: 25.1 ppg. (Nichols)

Early in the draft season, some CFF diehards may have had trepidation drafting Lew Nichols, III with Kobe Lewis expected back after missing last year with a knee injury. However, in early June, Lewis transferred to Purdue, leaving the Central Michigan backfield duties in the capable hands of Nichols.

At 5’10” and 220-pounds, the sophomore bulldozer is too strong, powerful and big for the majority of tacklers in the MAC Conference. In 2021. Nichols earned the MAC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-MAC after leading the nation in rushing with 1,848 yards. He added 40 receptions for 338 yards and scored 18 times. His rushing yards and carries are the second-most in program history and the 16 rushing touchdowns are the fourth most at Central Michigan.

In the final eight games of the campaign, Nichols rambled for over 135 yards in each, including twice eclipsing 200 yards. A workhorse, he carried the football over 30 times in five games and over 40 in two contests. As a freshman in 2020, Nichols was named the MAC Freshman of the Year and Fourth Team All-MAC (Phil Steele). He rambled for a team-high 508 yards and four touchdowns on 78 attempts while averaging 6.5 ypc.

The former 3-star prospect has transcended all expectations and amassed DEVY interest. In the CFF world, Nichols is already a luminary. With Lewis in West Lafayette, Indiana, Nichols has catapulted into the first round of CFF drafts and a case could be made that he is a top six-overall selection.

Magna Cum Laude

Braelon Allen, Wisconsin

Team Offense (2021 Rank)

Scoring: 25.4 ppg. (85)

Rushing: 210.9 ypg. (21)

2021 Fantasy Points: 16.9 ppg. (Allen)

The formula for winning in Wisconsin is simple: recruit big and powerful offensive linemen and breakaway runners with vision between the tackles. Since 2009, Montee Ball (2009-12), Melvin Gordon (2011-14), and Jonathan Taylor (2017-20) all provided CFF owners with top shelf options on draft day.

A 4-star prospect, Braelon Allen played both sides of the ball in high school and enrolled at Wisconsin, becoming the next great Badgers’ ball carrier. As a 17-year old freshman, Allen rambled for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns. He only started four games; nonetheless, he finished third in the Big Ten in rushing. He was named Second Team All-Big Ten and Las Vegas Bowl MVP after gaining 159 yards on 29 carries versus Arizona State.

The punishing runner surpassed the century mark in eight games, including a seven-game streak. He scampered for a season-high 228 yards on only 22 carries against Nebraska. Unfortunately, Allen only logged eight catches for 38 yards, which limits his ceiling in some scoring formats.

In 2022, Athlon Sports projects Wisconsin as a Top 20 team and the left side of the offensive line returns all three starters: Jack Nelson (LT), Tyler Breach (LG) and Joe Tippmann (C). The schedule is undaunting, and Allen should find plenty of open holes all year.

Twitterverse on Fire!

Among Power 5 teams, who are you targeting at running back in college fantasy football drafts after the Top Ten are off the board?

  • Zach Evans, Mississippi: 37%
  • Devon Achane, Texas A&M: 21%
  • Will Shipley, Clemson: 28%
  • Blake Corum, Michigan: 14%

“I think I’m leaning toward Will Shipley here. It’s not Zach Evans. The workload simply won’t be there.”


“I went with Will Shipley. I think Clemson will rely upon him heavily this season as they figure out the O-line and quarterback play.”


“Devon Achane for me. I am excited to see his skillset on a full-time basis.”


“I think it might be Shipley for me. It’s between him and Evans, but I can see Shipley with the bigger college workload this year.”


“I’m very much in the Donovan Edwards camp. I’ll grab Will Shipley in this range and grab Edwards later.”


“The lack of Blake Corum love here is shocking.”


“Zach Evans about to bubble with Lane Gang and Jaxon Dart.”


“I would rank in the following order:

  1. Achane: Workload will increase this year with a better offense than last year.
  2. Corum: Workload should be similar to last.
  3. Shipley: Has talent but I feel DST will focus on him more unless DJU or Klubnik start beating them through the air.
  4. Evans: I think the other three will all out produce Evans this year.”


Rasheen Ali, Marshall

Team Offense (2021 Rank)

Scoring: 33.0 ppg. (30)

Rushing: 162.4 ypg. (54)

2021 Fantasy Points: 24.9 ppg. (Ali)

One of my favorite all-time performances was on November 2, 2002, when Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich broke his left tibia against Akron, continued to play, and was carried down the field by his teammates at one point. A memorable performance for sure, and Leftwich and the Thundering Herd earned my adulation for the remainder of my college football fandom.

Last year, Rasheen Ali burst into the CFF spotlight when he scored four touchdowns in the first game of the campaign against Navy. Two weeks later, the redshirt freshman scampered for 189 yards and three scores against East Carolina. Against Charlotte, he eclipsed 200 yards on the ground and closed the season with 160 yards rushing against Louisiana in the New Orleans Bowl.

For the season, Ali gained 1,401 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also corralled 46 receptions for 342 yards and a score. He earned First Team All–C-USA and was named Freshman All-American all-purpose selection.

As a child, Ali’s father put gloves on his hands and placed him in the ring. The runner enjoyed boxing and idolized Muhammad Ali. The lessons learned in the ring have assisted the Marshall runner on the gridiron.

At 6’0” and 201-pounds, he illustrates impressive bursts, cuts, and speed to gain yards in chunks. “It helped me get in and out of cuts easier. My whole life, I’ve been doing hand-eye coordination and bouncing in-and-out and in-and-out,” Ali reflected ( It is clear that the Herds’ playmaker floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, which translates to a plethora of fantasy points.

Sean Tucker, Syracuse

Team Offense (2021 Rank)

Scoring: 24.9 ppg. (91)

Rushing: 213.5 ypg. (16)

2021 Fantasy Points: 21.6 ppg. (Tucker)

In five CFF drafts this year, I have grabbed Sean Tucker as one of my top two running backs three times. In a recent best ball league, I was shocked when the Syracuse ball carrier fell to me in the third round with the seventh selection…Highway robbery.

During two years, Tucker has shined on the national stage, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt on 383 carries for over 2,100 yards, scored 18 times and corralled 28 passes. Last year, he finished as the sixth leading rusher (1,496), fourth in yards per game (124.7) and fifth in all-purpose yards per game (145.9) in the nation.

Amazingly, Tucker was the first player in Syracuse history to rush for more than 1,400 yards in a season and broke the 42-year old record previously held by Joe Morris (I am old enough to remember Morris at Syracuse and in the NFL with the Giants). Tucker was named First Team, All-ACC, First Team All-American by FWAA, and All-American by ESPN, PFF, The Athletic, and Phil Steele.

The Orange dominated opponents on the ground last year. Additionally, the offense failed to put the ball in the end zone because of a terrible passing attack. Coach Dino Babers revamped the offense by hiring Robert Anae (offensive coordinator) and Jason Beck (quarterbacks coach), who both coached under Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia. If the offense keeps the chains moving and reaches the red zone more, Tucker will surely earn more touches and opportunities to produce fantasy points.

Zach Charbonnet, UCLA

Team Offense (2021 Rank)

Scoring: 36.5 ppg. (12)

Rushing: 215.1 ypg. (14)

2021 Fantasy Points: 17.6 ppg. (Charbonnet)

Without question, Zach Charbonnet’s performance shocked some CFF diehards last year. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, Charbonnet only carried the ball 168 times for 850 yards and 12 scores during his two seasons on campus. After transferring to UCLA, would the former 4-star prospect reach expectations coming out of high school?

Against Hawaii and LSU to kick off the season, the third-year ball carrier exploded for 223 yards and four touchdowns on only 17 carries and added two catches for 49 yards. He surpassed 100 yards rushing in five other games, including a career-best 167 versus cross-town rival USC. For the season, the bruising Bruin averaged 5.6 ypc, gained 1,137 yards, and scored 13 times and was named the PAC-12 Newcomer of the Year honors by the Associated Press.

After exploring the possibility of entering the NFL Draft, Charbonnet decided to return to campus and looked impressive in the spring. “Bodywise he is bigger, (but) he’s still the same guy. He comes to practice no matter what. He’s ready to practice, he goes hard (and) he doesn’t say much. You don’t have to say much to him. He motivates himself,” running backs coach DeShaun Foster stated (

At 6’1” and 220-pounds, the junior is a physical runner who packs a punch. With quick feet and good vision, he navigates traffic with impressive contact balance and lowers his shoulder into tacklers. The Bruins employ an underrated ground game, and the “Terminator” wants to increase his draft stock with another productive crusade in the City of Angels.

Tavion Thomas, Utah

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 36.1 ppg. (14)

Rushing: 216.8 ypg. (13)

2021 Fantasy Points: 18.2 ppg. (Thomas)

During the final month of the 2021 campaign, the Utes became must-watch football. After opening the season at 1-2, Utah inserted QB Cameron Rising full-time behind center and turned the campaign around. In the final four games, coach Kyle Whittingham’s team pounded Oregon twice by a combined 76-17 score and captured the Big 12 Championship for the first time. I watched every snap of the Rose Bowl as Ohio State-Utah combined for 93 points.

Utah plays old-school football, preferring to bludgeon opponents on the ground. Tavion Thomas is the sledgehammer who Whittingham yields on opponents. The senior earned First Team All-PAC 12 last year after rushing for 1,108 yards and 21 touchdowns, which ranked third in the nation and led the PAC-12. He rambled for a career-high 177 yards against Stanford, scoring four touchdowns to tie the school record in a single game for the second straight week.

At 6’2” and 238-pounds, Thomas is a downhill grinder who thumps opponents. With good vision and patience, he finds holes in the defense and bursts through. In 2022, he yearns to be even better in order to improve his draft status next spring: “I’ve got more things I’ve got to improve on. I feel like I’ve still got a bit of growing to do so I feel like being in the system, developing, and learning more things will help me out for the next part of the process,” Thomas proclaimed in the spring (FanNationAllUtes).

Thomas checks so many boxes when evaluating CFF running backs: system, size and production. The only red flags are the turnover on the offensive line with three players returning in Salt Lake City. I trust Whittingham to find the best combination upfront, and keep the chains moving with Thomas grossing over 200 carries once again.

Cum Laude

Will Shipley, Clemson

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 26.3 ppg. (82)

Rushing: 168.0 ypg. (58)

2021 Fantasy Points: 15.5 ppg. (Shipley)

As a true freshman last year, Will Shipley impacted the Tigers, and CFF rosters, once he garnered more touches. The locker room was crowded when training camp opened and it took a while for Shipley to ascend to the top of the depth chart. “It was just hard early on because we had five or six guys that could all produce and not everyone was able to, so I think some jealousy arose, some emotions arose. Everything has been figured out,” Shipley reflected (

In 2021, Shipley rushed 149 times for 739 yards, averaged 5.0 ypc., corralled 16 passes for 116 yards and scored 11 times. He also averaged 27.1 yards on 14 kickoff returns and tossed a two-yard touchdown pass. His 11 touchdowns were second-most by a Tigers’ true freshman, trailing only Travis Etienne’s 13 in 2017. He was named Second Team Freshman All-American and All-ACC Academic Team selection.

At 5’11” and 205-pounds, Shipley fits the Clemson mold under Dabo Swinney at running back, ie. C.J. Spiller and Etienne. I am higher than many CFF fanatics on the Clemson playmaker and am very comfortable with him as my second runner on my team.

Devon Achane, Texas A&M

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 29.3 ppg. (56)

Rushing: 183.0 ypg. (44)

2021 Fantasy Points: 15.3 (Achane)

In 2021, Devon Achane shared backfield duties with Isaiah Spiller, who is now a member of the Los Angeles Chargers. The Aggies’ home run hitter is a track and field luminary and possibly, the fastest football player in the nation. Watching the speedster on the gridiron, he always seems to be running away from tacklers in the open field. On the track, he has clocked a 10.14 in the 100 meters and a 20.20 in the 200 meters over the past year.

PFF has ranked the junior runner as one of the top two RB prospects in the 2023 Draft. “Achane has more of the one uncoachable skill than any other running back in college football: speed. He’s not the first fast human being to play running back, though. No, Achane earns his lofty status on this list because he’s skilled in a number of other ways on top of that game-changing speed,” ( At 5’9” and 185-pounds, he also has terrific contact balance and is an explosive pass-catcher out of the backfield.

As a sophomore, Achane led the SEC with a 7.0 yards per carry average and was second on the team in rushing with 910 yards. Over two seasons, he has logged 29 receptions for 358 yards with two scores while averaging 12.3 yards per catch. On 173 carries, the speedster has gained 7.4 ypc. and scored 13 touchdowns. CFF managers are fortunate if Achane is the second runner on their roster in 2022.

Jordan Mims, Fresno State

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 33.4 ppg. (26)

Rushing: 138.2 ypg. (90)

2021 Fantasy Points: 12.5 (Mims)

Last year, I drafted Ronnie Rivers as often as possible. Unfortunately, he failed to become the dominant fantasy runner that I projected. Why? Jordan Mims earned more touches than expected and illustrated that he can be more than a change-of-pace back.

Mims finished the season as the team’s second-leading rusher with 710 yards on 127 carries, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and logged six touchdowns. The senior added 25 receptions for 324 yards and four touchdowns, recording 13 yards per catch. To conclude the campaign, he produced 236 all-purpose yards and three scores in the New Mexico Bowl against UTEP.

At 6’0” and 205-pounds, Mims should be able to handle a bigger workload in 2022. He took advantage of the NCAA’s additional year of eligibility from fall 2020 to return for one final campaign. Coach Jeff Tedford returns to Fresno State after winning 22 games in 2017 and 2018. An offensive-minded coach, Mims will garner the majority of backfield touches for the Bulldogs.

Zach Evans, Mississippi

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 33.7 ppg. (24)

Rushing: 217.6 ypg. (12)

2021 Fantasy Points: 18.9 ppg. (Evans)

In 1977, the Grateful Dead released What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been, the second compilation album by the band. Maybe Zach Evans’ autobiography might borrow from the Dead for a title.

A 5-star prospect in 2020, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and LSU all showed interest in Evans. His commitment to TCU in May shocked college football fanatics and CFF diehards. In two seasons as a Horned Frog, Evans flashed at times, averaging over seven yards a carry. Yet only earned 146 totes.

“I think I was underused. Not a knock against (TCU). I’m not saying they don’t know what they were doing. But I feel like I could’ve done a lot more and contributed a lot more to the team,” Evans reflected on his two years at TCU (

Under coach Lane Kiffin, Evans, 6’0” and 215-pounds, might finally become the dominant force many scouts projected two years ago. There is every reason to believe that he will finally approach 200 carries in 2022.

DeWayne McBride, UAB

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 29.5 ppg. (55)

Rushing: 180.2 ypg. (48)

2021 Fantasy Points: 16.7 ppg. (McBride)

It seems like a bad dream that UAB shut down the football program in 2014 and did not return until 2017. Since returning to the field, the Blazers have posted five consecutive winning seasons and recorded a 43-20 record with four bowl appearances. Spencer Brown propelled the ground attack with over 4,000 yards from 2017-2022.

In 2021, DeWayne McBride inherited the lead role in coach Bill Clark’s backfield and accumulated 204 carries. He led C-USA in rushing yards with 1,371 and scored 13 times. The junior eclipsed 100 yards rushing five times and was named Second Team All-C-USA. “He wants to be great. He works hard and does it with a good attitude…he wants to be special,” Clark stated (

At 5’11” and 215-pounds, McBride was a 3-star recruit out of Ocala, Florida and saw action as a true freshman. Against Louisiana Tech, he established a school record for longest touchdown with a 75-yard score in 2020. He is a powerful runner who is elusive and explosive. The Blazers’ playmaker has been named 2022 preseason All-C-USA Team and deserves the adulation from the college fantasy football community.

Editor’s Note: Just before publication, coach Bill Clark resigned from the team due to chronic back problems.

Tank Bigsby, Auburn

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 27.8 ppg. (71)

Rushing: 181.5 ypg. (66)

2021 Fantasy Points: 14.4 ppg. (Bigsby)

Tank Bigsby presents a similar conundrum as Zach Evans when evaluating potential CFF production: A highly-touted recruit who has not met lofty forecasts after two seasons on campus. A 4-star prospect in high school, the 2018 Class AA Georgia Player of the Year rushed for 2,221 yards as a junior. He also ran track and field and played in the Under Armour All-American Game before coming to Auburn.

At 6’0” and 213-pounds, the junior ball carrier was named SEC Freshman of the Year and Second Team All-SEC (AP) in 2020. He gained 834 yards and scored five touchdowns. Last year, Bigsby surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier and crossed the finish line 10 times. In two seasons, he has only 15 receptions for 268 yards. Is he undervalued in CFF drafts?

While the CFF community may be disappointed in Bigsby’s production, the industrial scouting complex still foreshadows a bright future. He ranks among the top ten running back prospects by many national media members before training camp opens. PFF College Tweeted a compelling statistic on May 28: “Tank Bigsby has 57 runs of 10+ yards since 2020…2nd among SEC RBs.”

Auburn returns four of five offensive linemen, who have a plethora of experience. Coach Bryan Harsin is already on the hot seat and the starting quarterback is uncertain for the upcoming season. He will surely rely on the O-line and Bigsby to control the clock and win games. The Tigers’ runner is a no-brainer selection if he falls past the first three rounds.

Twitterverse on Fire!

Among G5 teams, there is tremendous value at the running back position: Who are you targeting in CFF drafts this summer?

  • Braydon Bennett, Coastal Carolina: 10%
  • Corey Kiner, Cincinnati: 35%
  • Camar Wheaton, SMU: 23%
  • Titus Swen, Wyoming: 32%

“Braydon Bennett was explosive last year. But I think that was mostly the result of his role. It may expand a bit, but not that much. I was gonna go Corey Kiner, but I think Camar Wheaton is going to consistently have more space and rack up more production. Even if it is slight.”


“Corey Kiner is a unit.”


“I’m a big fan of Cam Wheaton..I think we will see him take a step forward this year.”


“I am starting to lean toward Corey Kiner. I think he is going to go ‘all Ford’ this year.”


“Give me all the Corey Kiner.”


Chris Smith, Louisiana

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 31.1 ppg. (45)

Rushing: 187.1 ypg. (40)

2021 Fantasy Points: 11.7 ppg. (Smith)

There is turnover at two key spots in the Louisiana program: coach Billy Napier, who went to Florida, and quarterback Levi Lewis, who graduated, both jettisoned the school. The two guided the team for the past three campaigns to a 34-5 record and led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 13-1 record last season. Michael Desormeaux takes over the helm of the program, and he has been coaching at Louisiana since 2016, including co-offensive coordinator/tight ends coach last year.

Desmoreaux would commit coaching malfeasance if he changes the philosophy and scheme that has been so profitable for the Ragin’ Cajuns in the Sun Belt. The coach will rely on the running game and Chris Smith to continue the success of the team. Last year, Smith shared the carries with Montrell Johnson, who transferred to Florida, and Emani Bailey, who is now enrolled at TCU. Smith now stands atop the depth chart in the backfield.

Last year, Smith was named First Team Specialist and Third Team All-Sun Belt at RB. Against Arkansas State, he registered one of the top single-game rushing performances at Louisiana, rushing for 238 yards, fifth-most in school history, on 24 carries and scoring two touchdowns. He gained 855 yards rushing with eight scores and nabbed 14 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.

As a kick returner, the speedster has 53 returns for 1,245 yards, averaging 23.9 yards per return, and two scores since arriving on campus. At 5’9” and 197-pounds, Smith explodes upfield in an instant and gobbles up chunks of yards. Smith is an excellent CFF option in the backfield in 2022.

Blake Corum, Michigan

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 35.8 ppg. (16)

Rushing: 214.4 ypg. (15)

2021 Fantasy Points: 15.1 ppg. (Corum)

Forget about the demolition against National Champion Georgia. It was a dream season for Michigan fans as the Wolverines defeated Ohio State for the first time during coach Jim Harbaugh’s tenure and earned a CFP invite after winning 12 games.

After years of trying to dominate the line of scrimmage with mixed results, Harbaugh’s offensive line captured the Joe Moore Award for best teamwork in the nation. Hassan Haskins eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing, and Blake Corum scampered for 952 yards on 144 carries, scored 11 touchdowns and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. The sophomore sensation also snatched 24 passes for 141 yards and a score.

A 4-star prospect, he was ranked as the seventh-best player in Maryland and saw only 26 attempts as a freshman in 2020. Last year, he leaped up the depth chart, becoming one of the most important cogs in the Wolverines’ attack. He was named Third Team All-Big Ten and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week in Michigan’s 31-10 triumph over Washington, establishing a career-high in rushing yards (171), all-purpose yards (231) and touchdowns (three) on 21 carries. He suffered a high-ankle sprain down the stretch of the season, which limited his workload.

At 5’8” and 200-pounds, Corum is a tough runner with great vision and slipperiness. He is nearly a perfect ball carrier behind a mammoth O-line in Harbaugh’s diverse run-blocking scheme. While he is likely in a time-share with Donovan Edwards, Corum is too productive and explosive not to produce an abundance of fantasy points.

Chase Brown, Illinois

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 20.3 ppg. (115)

Rushing: 173.6 ypg. (55)

2021 Fantasy Points: 14.4 ppg. (Brown)

Over the past decade, Illinois has posted ten consecutive losing seasons. Last year, coach Bret Bielema took over the reins of the program and guided the Illini to a 5-7 record. None of the aforementioned results identify Champaign, IL as a hotbed for fantasy points.

Nonetheless, Chase Brown is the one member of the team that I am targeting in CFF drafts. He surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier last year as a sophomore on only 170 carries in 10 games. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry but scored only five times. He also logged 14 catches for 142 yards. Twice, Brown was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and Third Team All-Big Ten.

In order to improve the passing game, Bielema hired Barry Lunney, Jr. as the offensive coordinator. “He’s (Lunney) doing things to get people open, you guys can go back and look at what he did at UTSA. He’s a creative mind, he’s always looking for new plays to the point where we’re not just going to rely on the run game, we’re going to be a balanced offense. Where, as lethal as we were on the ground, we’re going to be as lethal in the air. And that’s what I look forward to,” Brown stated (

The 5’11” and 205-pounder runs well between tackles with quick feet, nice lateral quickness and good body control. In the country, Brown is the only returning player with two of the top 17 rushing performances from 2021. He has been named to Athlon’s preseason Second Team All-Big Ten, and CFF owners should not shy away from the Illinois runner. More passing efficiency and production will provide more touches and goal line opportunities for Brown.

Titus Swen, Wyoming

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 25.4 ppg. (85)

Rushing: 211.7 ypg. (20)

2021 Fantasy Points: 9.5 ppg. (Swen)

As a social studies teacher and football fanatic, I am passionate about the convergence of history and sports. Two years ago during the Pandemic, I was shocked to learn the story of the “Black 14” at Wyoming in 1969. I cannot recommend highly enough researching the events on the Cowboys’ campus and the football team during a turbulent time in American history.

Times were changing in the late Sixties, and this year, the Cowboys’ roster and depth chart looks radically different from 2021. Only 12 starters return and two are the kicker and punter for coach Craig Bohl. One of the key players suiting up again is running back Titus Swen.

He finished second on the team in rushing last year with 785 yards on 132 carries. He recorded two 100-yard rushing games with 166 against Colorado State and a career-high 169 yards against Utah State and garnered Second Team All-Mountain West. Xazavian Valladay, last year’s starter, transferred to Arizona State, and Swen will surely see an uptick in touches. He likely approaches 300 carries and easily smashes 1,000 yards rushing.

Nicholas Singleton, Penn State

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 25 ppg. (90)

Rushing: 107.8 ypg. (118)

2021 Fantasy Points: n/a

I know that many CFF managers have reservations in regard to drafting a freshman running back. I understand the risk-reward ratio regarding a first-year college student. Nevertheless, I am beyond excited to acquire Nicholas Singleton on my rosters this summer. So far, I have drafted him in five of six leagues.

In my lifetime, I have witnessed so many great freshmen ball carriers that I will not be deterred in drafting the Penn State runner at current ADP. Herschel Walker (1980), Marshall Faulk (1991), Ron Dayne (1996), Adrian Peterson (2004), Samaje Perine (2014), Jonathan Taylor (2017), Deuce Vaughn (2020), Braelon Allen (2021), and TreVeyon Henderson (2021) all dominated college football as freshmen.

I am not proclaiming that Singleton produces one of the all-time great seasons in the history of the game. Yet. I will embrace the risk based on film study and reports from the spring. “His (Singleton) strength is far beyond what a lot of college kids will have. He’s already physically ready to play. He’s so explosive when he gets the ball. That burst of speed and quickness and he’s decisive. Just from the time he gets the ball to where he’s making his first couple of steps it’s like, ‘Woosh! Like he’s a frickin’ shot.’ He’s got something special…” proclaimed Jan Johnson, a former Penn State LB (

At 6’0” and 219-pounds, 247Sports gave Singleton 5-stars, and he had official visits at Texas A&M and Alabama before choosing Penn State. A powerful runner, he plants foot and bursts upfield with strength and speed. In high school, he also competed in track and field as a sprinter and shot putter. He is in an ideal position to succeed at Penn State and his talent is undeniable…Draft with confidence.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 25.5 ppg. (83)

Rushing: 198.1 ypg. (27)

2020 Fantasy Points: 29.0 ppg. (Ibrahim)

Last year, Mohamed Ibrahim was my fourth-ranked CFF running back and surefire first-round selection in drafts. In the first game of the season against Ohio State, he got off to a sizzling start, carrying the ball 30 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game in the third quarter with a season-ending Achilles injury.

As a freshman in 2018, the bruising ball carrier surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier with a career-high 1,160 yards and nine touchdowns. He posted the second-most productive season in school history behind only Darrell Thompson. He also exceeded 100 yards rushing five times and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Afterward, Ibraham captured the Bruce Smith Award as the Outstanding Offensive Player at Minnesota and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.

In 2020, Ibrahim rose to the occasion after a down campaign. He earned the Big Ten Running Back of the Year award, rambling for over 1,000 yards and scored 15 times. He established a school record for rushing yards per game with 153.7 and touchdowns in consecutive games with eight. Also, he was awarded Third Team All-America (AP) and First Team All-Big Ten.

At 5’10” and 210-pounds, the Golden Gophers game-breaker employs stupendous contact balance and packs a punch when confronting tacklers. He also presses the hole well with patience and vision and utilizes great short-area bursts to explode upfield. Reports indicate that Ibrahim should be ready when training camp opens, and currently, is a steal as a third running back on CFF rosters.

Braydon Bennett, Coastal Carolina

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 40.9 ppg. (5)

Rushing: 228.8 ypg. (6)

2021 Fantasy Points: 11.3 ppg. (Bennett)

I would be surprised if most college football fans could identify Coastal Carolina among the top ground games in the county over the past two seasons. In 2020, the Chanticleers rushed for 218.3 yards per game and scored 30 touchdowns, and last year, the team ranked sixth in the nation and scored 36 times on the ground.

Last year’s leading rusher, Shermari Jones is gone, and Braydon Bennett and Reece White are the dynamic duo in coach Jamay Chadwell’s explosive run scheme. At 6’2” and 190-pounds, Bennett was a 3-star recruit and played running back, wide receiver and safety in high school.

A redshirt sophomore, Bennett carried the ball 74 times for 636 yards and seven touchdowns last year. He also snatched 24 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns, earning honorable mention All-Sun Belt. CFF managers should expect a significant uptick in touches and fantasy points as Bennett ascends among the best fantasy-producing runners in the nation.

Keaton Mitchell, Eastern Carolina

Team Offense (Rank)

Scoring: 29.7 ppg. (54)

Rushing: 162.4 ypg. (63)

2021 Fantasy Points: 16.4 ppg. (Mitchell)

I am an unabashed AAC fanatic and have drafted running backs from the defensively-challenged conference for well over a decade. There is no reason to change lanes in 2022.

It is rare to be mentioned in the same sentence as former ECU and NFL star Chris Johnson; nevertheless, Mitchell’s performance last season inspired praise from CFF fanatics. When the curtain closed on the campaign, the freshman speedster scooted for 1,132 yards—first Pirate runner with over 1,000 yards since 2013—and nine touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 252 yards and a score.

I first noticed the freshman playmaker against Appalachian State last year. He looked so explosive running the football, averaging 12.5 yards per carry against the Mountaineers. In the game, he recorded the fastest single play in the nation over the opening weekend when he was clocked at 22.6 miles per hour. “It felt good. It was my first time playing in front of that many people. When I ran past everybody, I just heard the oohs and aahs, so that was cool. That’s why I’m here,” Mitchell stated afterward (

At 5’9” and 188-pounds, Mitchell will share the backfield duties with Rahjai Harris, who is the “Thunder” in the Pirates’ rushing attack. Mitchell’s ceiling may be capped but his home run ability and efficiency with the ball in his hands make up for limited touches.

2022 College Football RB Projections

PlayerRush YardsRecs.Rec. YrdsTDsPointsAvg.
Bijan Robinson1,4002321018280.523.4
TreVeyon Henderson1,3002025020285.023.8
Jahmyr Gibbs1,1005055014274.022.8
Deuce Vaughn1,1703632018275.022.9
Lew Nichols1,6503025016301.025.1
Braelon Allen1,60052518273.022.8
Rasheen Ali1,3504028017285.023.8
Sean Tucker1,4002528015270.522.5
Zach Charbonnet1,2503026012238.019.8
Tavion Thomas1,2001614017244.020.3
Will Shipley1,0003628014230.019.2
Devon Achane1,1004040013248.020.7
Jordan Mims9504236011218.018.2
Zach Evans1,0501511014207.517.3
DeWayne McBride1,30053514220.018.3
Tank Bigsby1,0502520012209.517.5
Chris Smith1,1001510010187.515.6
Blake Corum1,0003022011203.016.9
Chase Brown1,250201808201.016.8
Titus Swen1,200108012205.017.1
Nicholas Singleton9503527011205.517.1
Mohamed Ibrahim1,3502015015250.020.8
Braydon Bennett9004540010212.517.7
Keaton Mitchell1,2003025011226.018.8
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