The 2016 season is in the books, but teams are now focused on putting together the best roster of talent to compete in 2017.

Recruiting is such a vital part of college football that many prospects become stars before even setting foot on campus. At no position is that truer than running back, where a true freshman can become a key contributor from Day 1.

With an eye toward next season, we’re analyzing the SEC commitments for each position in the Class of 2017. Today’s focus is the next crop of running backs. According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, 11 of the nation’s top 50 backs are committed to play in the SEC, including the nation’s top overall prospect, Najee Harris.



Najee Harris (5-star, No. 1 RB): The top overall prospect in his class, Harris is the first Alabama running back recruit to hold that distinction. This early enrollee is more-than-deserving of that honor, as he ran for a combined 5,520 yards and 70 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons.

Brian Robinson (4-star, No. 14 RB): Robinson, a Tuscaloosa standout, has been committed to the hometown Tide since his junior season and has remained loyal despite a strong push from other schools, especially Georgia. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound back opened eyes when he gained 447 yards and 4 touchdowns in a record-setting playoff performance during his junior season.


Chase Hayden (3-star, No. 4 APB): Hayden’s strength lies in his versatility. With great speed and soft hands, Hayden could be used in a variety of ways. As a junior, Hayden ran for 2,625 yards with 37 total touchdowns.

Maleek Williams (3-star, No. 47 RB): Williams had a breakout campaign in his senior season, rushing for 1,294 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Florida product might take some time to develop, but he does offer some upside for the Razorbacks.

Top remaining targets: Terrance Rock


Alaric Williams (4-star, No. 6 ATH): Although Williams is listed as an athlete, he projects to remain a running back at the next level. Williams needs to work hard to become academically eligible, and he might have to go the JUCO route if he can’t qualify.

Devan Barrett (4-star, No. 15 RB): This talented Florida running back is one of the top offensive prospects in Auburn’s class. Barrett is a versatile player capable of lining up at a variety of positions. He gained 1,891 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior. He’s from the same high school as rising sophomore Nate Craig-Myers.

Octavius Matthews (3-star, No. 1 JUCO ATH): Matthews is another versatile talent, who can take it the distance every time he touches the ball. After gaining more than 2,000 total yards and over 30 touchdowns as a senior, Matthews led Itawamba Community College in rushing as a true freshman.

Top remaining targets: Adarius Lemons


Malik Davis (3-star, No. 38 RB): The most productive running back in Hillsborough County history, Davis rushed for over 7,000 yards and 80 touchdowns in at Tampa Jesuit. Davis held a few other notable offers, but he will look to make an impact in a crowded backfield.

Top remaining targets: Adarius Lemons


D’Andre Swift (4-star, No. 4 RB): Georgia ventured up north to pluck Swift from Philadelphia. Swift will enter one of the deepest backfields in college football, but he ran for over 1,500 yards with 34 total touchdowns as a senior and should be able to make an early impact.


Bryant Koback (3-star, No. 45 RB): The Wildcats boasted one of the best rushing attacks in the SEC last season, and Koback is already on campus ready to help out. It might take Koback awhile to see the field, however, as he broke his leg shortly into his senior season. Despite the setback, Koback managed to gain over 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns through roughly five games.

Top remaining targets: Damon Williams


Clyde Edwards-Helaire (3-star, No. 30 RB): The lone running back prospect committed to the Tigers, Edwards-Helaire’s recruitment has been a bit of a wild ride. Edwards-Helaire re-opened his recruitment in December, but the Baton Rouge standout appears to be firmly back in the fold for LSU.

Tory Carter (3-star, No. 2 FB): There aren’t many schools that still use or recruit the services of a fullback, but LSU has a good lead blocker committed for the 2017 class in Carter, who is 6-2, 255 pounds.

Top remaining targets: Travis Etienne

Mississippi State

Kylin Hill (4-star, No. 17 RB): Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald led the Bulldogs in rushing last season, but Hill should give Mississippi State another strong option on the ground. In the final two seasons of his high school career, Hill gained a combined 3,500 yards and 42 touchdowns. He’s a key in-state get, too.


Isaiah Miller (3-star, No. 21 APB): Miller became one of Missouri’s most recent commitments when he flipped from Oregon State to the Tigers in December. The Florida back has great open-field speed that could come into play in the passing game.

Larry Rountree III (3-star, No. 56 RB): Rountree is an impressive downhill runner, who can make one cut and attack the hole. His aggressive style should fit well in the Tigers’ offensive scheme. He starred at Millbrook High, the same school that produced former Georgia RB Keith Marshall.

Top remaining targets: A.J. Davis

Ole Miss

No current commitments

Top remaining targets: Nicholas Sims

South Carolina

Kyshaun Bryan (3-star, No. 37 RB): Despite some reports that the Gamecocks may not include a running back in this recruiting class, Bryan remains committed to South Carolina and has told reporters that he believes he has a spot on this roster. Bryan gained over 700 yards and 7 touchdowns in his final season for national power St. Thomas Aquinas. His quarterback was Florida commit Jake Allen.


Ty Chandler (4-star, No. 7 RB): Chandler is one of the most productive running backs in this class, and he brings a lot of talent to Knoxville. The All-American running back from Nashville rushed for over 7,000 yards and 100 touchdowns in his high school career.

Trey Coleman (3-star, No. 43 ATH): Running back depth is a priority for the Vols in this class, and Coleman could certainly provide some. Coleman can play a plethora of positions, but he’s a tough runner who would be a welcome addition to Tennessee’s backfield.

Top remaining targets: Travis Etienne, Kaegun Williams, Damon Williams

Texas A&M

Jacob Kibodi (3-star, No. 67 RB): Kibodi is viewed as a player with limited experience but a lot of upside. The 6-2, 198, Baton Rouge, La., prospect is a quick cutter with deceptive speed. As a senior, Kibodi ran for 1,203 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Top remaining targets: Travis Etienne


No current commitments

All rankings courtesy of the 247Sports Composite