Where would football be without the explosive running backs that we have grown to love throughout the years? Read on to see who we expect to have breakout seasons this year:
Shaun Shivers — Auburn
As a true senior, Shaun Shivers has been an offensive and special teams contributor all three years at Auburn. While playing running back in the vaunted Southeastern Conference is no easy task, the shorter-statured and nimble-footed rusher from Fort Lauderdale utilizes his lack of size as an asset, escaping both defenders’ vision and grasp. With natural hands to catch the ball away from his frame and the willingness to face-up blitzers in pass protection, Shivers projects as a third-down back at the next level, and his added value as a kickoff returner won’t be overlooked by NFL talent evaluators.
Stephen Carr — Indiana
After earning his degree and participating for four seasons with USC, Stephen Carr took the COVID exemption and transferred to Indiana for his final season of college eligibility. Transferring with him to the Hoosiers is a well-rounded skillset that saw the now graduate student rush for over 1300 yards and catch 57 passes during his time with the Trojans. With a patient running style, Carr runs with very good vision to find open rushing lanes, maintains great body-lean to keep his pads low, and finishes his runs physically, typically by lowering his shoulder on a defender while churning his legs. With production as a rusher, pass catcher, pass protector, and kickoff returner, the Gardena, California product is a true three-down prospect who NFL clubs will be sure to pay attention to this Fall.
Hassan Haskins — Michigan
With rare size and excellent strength for the position, Hassan Haskins is a load to bring down. The 6-1, 223-pound bruiser from St. Louis played in three games as a freshman but truly burst onto the scene as a sophomore when he averaged an impressive 5.1 yards per carry. During the shortened 2020 season and while splitting time in the deep Wolverine backfield, Haskins displayed his foot quickness and ability to break tackles to the tune of 6.1 yards per carry and a team-leading six rushing touchdowns. While NFL scouts would like to see him more involved in the passing game in 2021, Haskins’ eagerness to play on special teams the past couple of years speaks to his toughness and unselfish nature – two aspects NFL teams covet from the running back position.
Pierre Strong — South Dakota State
The play of Pierre Strong Jr. is a big reason for South Dakota State’s success over the past three seasons and a catalyst for their 2020-21 trip to the FCS national championship game. At 5-11, 204 pounds, the 2020 FCS first-team All-American is a great combination of size and speed, and routinely exploits creases with his vision, balance and foot quickness. What’s more, the Little Rock, Arkansas product demonstrates his football intelligence by flanking out wide to factor in the passing game – one of the many reasons why Strong has caught the attention of NFL evaluators.
That’s just the beginning! Keep checking back all week to see more of our Big Board featured players, leading up to the full release on Friday, August 27th.