Through five weeks of the 2017 college football season we've already seen a few young stars emerge as true and redshirt freshmen get early opportunities to contribute. Which freshmen running backs are already making a name for themselves?
Here's a look at 10 of the best freshmen running backs in the game today, 8 true freshmen and a pair of redshirt freshmen. (Recruiting rankings from 247 Sports; stats through week 5).
2017 Stats: 62 carries, 373 yards (6.0 yards per carry), 2 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 30 RB, Class of 2016
Redshirt freshman running back Brittain Brown is a part of the three-headed attack the Blue Devils have used on the way to a 4-1 season start. Brown is second to Shaun Wilson in yards and also trails QB Daniel Jones in touchdowns, but all three have at least 60 carries on the season. Brown has six catches for 84 yards
2017 Stats: 52 carries, 309 yards (5.9 yards per carry), 3 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 3 RB, Class of 2017
While Ronald Jones II gets more attention, Stephen Carr has been excellent for the Trojans as USC is 4-1 through five games. Carr averages just under 6 yards per carry and has gotten significant work alongside Jones. He's the leading receiver out of the backfield, too, with 13 grabs for 130 yards.
2017 Stats: 43 carries, 319 yards (7.4 yards per carry), 2 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 26 RB, Class of 2017
The true freshman back is Florida's leading rusher, though he's in a time share with sophomore Lamical Perine. Davis has 5 more carries than his backfield mate but averages 7.4 yards per carry to Perine's 3.9. He's been a stable force in an offense that's experienced a lot of ups and downs.
2017 Stats: 79 carries, 298 yards (3.8 yards per carry), 2 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 24 ATH, Class of 2017
Dillon and junior tailback Jon Hilliman combine for over 600 yards and four TDs so far in 5 games for the Eagles. The true freshman is averaging nearly four yards per carry this season.
2017 Stats: 75 carries, 573 yards (7.6 yards per carry), 3 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 2 APB, Class of 2017
Dobbins has been an instant hit for the Buckeyes as a true freshman, leading the team with 73 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns, averaging 7.6 yards per carry to help Ohio State to a 4-1 record to start the season. The No. 2 all-purpose back in the country from Ohio State's No. 2 overall recruiting class of 2017 has not disappointed.
2017 Stats: 53 carries, 310 yards (5.8 yards per carry), 2 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 42 RB, Class of 2017
Indiana's leading back, true freshman Morgan Ellison is off to a strong start to his collegiate career. He's averaging nearly 6 yards per carry and has two of the team's 5 rushing touchdowns.
2017 Stats: 31 carries, 311 yards (10.0 yards per carry), 4 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 15 RB, Class of 2017
Travis Etienne is picking up right where Wayne Gallman left off for Clemson last year. He's second only to QB Kelly Bryant with 31 carries for 311 yards and 4 touchdowns, and he's been explosive on the way to 10 yards per carry.
2017 Stats: 61 carries, 321 yards (5.3 yards per carry), 3 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 35 ATH, Class of 2017
The 0-5 Baylor Bears have at least one bright spot — true freshman running back John Lovett is the real deal. He's averaging over 5 yards per carry and leads the team with three scores on the ground.
2017 Stats: 46 carries, 375 yards, 4 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 99 RB, Class of 2016
Ragas has been a big-play machine for the Ragin' Cajuns, averaging over 8 yards per carry this season. He wasn't highly recruited out of high school, but he used his redshirt season well and has been tough to handle this year. Fellow freshman Elijah Mitchell has been stellar, too.
2017 Stats: 72 carries, 518 yards (7.2 yards per game), 7 TD
Recruiting Rank: No. 24, Class of 2017
The Badgers true freshman back leads all other freshmen in average yards per game as he has taken over the No. 1 spot in Wisconsin's backfield and exploded for 7 touchdowns in just four games. Taylor is on pace for the second-best freshman season of any Wisconsin back behind only Ron Dayne.
Taylor is tied for 10th in the country with 7 rushing touchdowns and is 10th among all rushers with 129.5 yards per game this season.
Here's the top freshmen running backs in the country in order of yards/game average:
|J.K. Dobbins||Ohio State||75||573||3||114.6|
|AJ Dillon||Boston College||79||298||2||59.6|