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Ranking the Top 12 SuperWest Running Backs for 2024

Stephen Vilardo's assessment of the best RBs from the former Pac-12, the Mountain West & BYU

Posted on June 5, 2024


  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

In the world of transfers and changes in college football it can sometimes be difficult to guess who is going to step up in any given season.

We certainly have plenty of unknowns in the backfield of programs in the SuperWest footprint. One spot that we certainly do not see unknowns at is the top of this list.

Four running backs in our coverage area have set themselves apart from the rest and at the very top of the list, we have perhaps two of the top three running backs in the nation.

Here is my ranking of the Top 12 SuperWest Running Backs among the 25 teams we cover heading into the 2024 season.

KTVB.com

1. Ashton Jeanty, Boise State
Jeanty might be the best back in America, and next spring, he could be the first RB taken in the NFL draft.  He is that good and he is the complete package as a two-way back.

Put Jeanty on a Power Four team and the Heisman hype would be through the roof.  He’s a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball, be it in the run game, catching passes, or returning kicks.

calbears.com

2. Jaydn Ott, Cal
Jaydn Ott is an All-America candidate for the Golden Bears.

In returning to Berkeley this season he gives Cal a legitimate shot to win some games in the ACC.

He also enters the season just 1,156 yards away from the Cal career rushing record.

Lydia Ely/Getty Images

3.  Jordan James, Oregon
Last season James ranked 10th in the nation with 7.09 yards per carry and ran for 765 yards while playing behind Bucky Irving.

Now with Irving gone the bulk of the carries will go to James and he should shine.

In 2023 he only lost 6 yards on 107 carries; the Ducks are going to get something when he touches the ball.

Troy Babbitt/UW Media-Athletics

4. Harrison Waylee, Wyoming
Waylee made his presence known to Cowboy fans in his first appearance in 2023 running for 110 yards at Texas.

Injuries sidelined and slowed his production last season, but he still ran for 947 yards in 10 games, one of which he was limited.

If he can stay healthy a big season should be in store for him with a Wyoming offense that will want to establish the run.

Skylar Lin Visuals

5. Jonah Coleman, Washington
Coleman followed Jedd Fisch to Seattle and his production should follow as well.

He averaged 6.96 yards per tote for Arizona in 2023 and can be an explosive back.

That big play ability was evident against Colorado as he went for 179 yards on just 11 carries.

Chris Gardner/Getty Images

6. Malik Sherrod, Fresno State
Sherrod is another back who missed some time with injuries in 2023 but still managed to nearly crack 1,000 yards on the ground (he had 966).

Sherrod is another multi-purpose back who can make plays in the passing game and on special teams in addition to toting it.

His 1,462 all-purpose yards in 2023 were the fourth most in the MW.

Godofredo A. Vasquez/AP

7. Sedrick Irvin, Stanford
Irvin saw limited action as a first-year player at Stanford but when he saw action he offered a glimpse of what we could expect.

In his first career start against Cal, he ran for 66 yards on 10 carries.

In a featured role he could be a playmaker for the Cardinal, and that ability is in his pedigree as Michael Irvin is his cousin.

Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News

8. Micah Bernard, Utah
Bernard missed all but two games last season with an injury, bookending the season by playing in the opener and the bowl game.

He should be healthy this season and be the featured back for the Utes and with that role will come production.

Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP

9. Robert Briggs Jr., Utah State
Briggs had a solid sophomore campaign in a limited role.

Now he enters his junior season at No. 1 on the depth chart, and he should see numbers jump dramatically.

In the Aggies offense, Briggs should approach 900 yards on the ground with a shot at a 1,000-yard season.

Sun Devil Athletics

10. Cam Skattebo, Arizona State
Skattebo did a little bit of everything for the Sun Devils in 2023, literally…He played QB, caught passes, and even punted the ball eight times with three of them going 50+!

Lining up in the backfield is what he does best and in 2023 he was a bright spot in a dark ASU season.

Last year he only lost 13 yards on 164 rush attempts as he rarely has unproductive runs.

Nevada Athletics

11. Sean Dollars, Nevada
Dollars had a productive season for the Wolf Pack in his first season in Reno after transferring from Oregon.

Nevada struggled as a team in 2023 and new headman Jeff Choate wants the offense to be more explosive.

Look for Dollars to have some big plays in the vertical run game.

USC Athletics

12. Woody Marks, USC
Marks comes to USC after a productive four years at Mississippi State.

A back that can carve out the tough yards and is productive in the passing game.

Marks enters the season having caught at least one pass in 45 straight games, the fourth-longest active streak in the nation entering 2024.

Honorable Mention: Jam Griffin, Oregon State

Oregon State is the third destination for Griffin after limited roles at Georgia Tech and Ole Miss.

The potential is there and if he can be the featured back in the Beavers offense we could see big production.




—More from Stephen Vilardo—