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2024 NFL Draft: Preseason running back watch list

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Florida at Florida State Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2023 college football season is right around the corner! With less than a month before games are played, there is NFL Draft hype to go around for dozens (if not hundreds) of college football players. Last year’s NFL draft saw two running backs go in the first round and seven go in the first three rounds. While this upcoming class doesn’t have a clear cut top back like Bijan Robinson, there are some backs with serious breakout potential this year.

Blake Corum, Michigan

Blake Corum would have been a high level prospect last year, but decided to return to Michigan after an injury shortened season. Corum wins with great vision, long speed, and a tough running style. While he lacks high level agility and burst, Corum will be a steady contributor in the NFL if he can stay healthy.

Donovan Edwards, Michigan

Blake Corum’s injury opened the door for Donovan Edwards to break out last year. Edwards is a threat to score on any touch with his game breaking speed. He is a tremendous athlete and showed late in the season he could be a featured back for the Wolverines. In 2023, it will be interesting to see how Michigan splits duties between Edwards and Corum. Both are fantastic backs.

Braelon Allen, Wisconsin

If any player in the 2024 class has the chance to emerge as an elite running back prospect, it is Braelon Allen. At 6’2” and 240 pounds, Allen looks more like an outside linebacker than he does a running back. Add in truly incredible long speed and you have a game reminiscent of Alabama-era Derrick Henry. Allen has all the tools but, like Henry at Alabama, Allen has to develop a more consistent game instead of just being a home run threat. More decisiveness as a runner would be the difference between Allen being a good prospect and a great one.

Trey Benson, Florida State

Trey Benson broke out for the Seminoles last year after transferring from Oregon. At 6’1” and 220 pounds, Benson has good size and he knows how to use it as a runner. He is a tough running, tackle breaking player who might be one of the harder running backs in the country to tackle. Benson should see an even bigger role in 2023 and could put up monster numbers.

Treyveon Henderson, Ohio State

Two seasons ago, Treyveon Henderson looked like the best Ohio State back since Ezekiel Elliott. His freshman season was fantastic and all eyes were on him in 2022. Unfortunately, injury slowed him and he just never looked himself when he was actually on the field. If Henderson can return to form in 2023, he could shoot back up the draft boards.

Will Shipley, Clemson

Will Shipley has been a force for Clemson since his freshman year. In his first two seasons, Shipley has scored 26 times on the ground. Shipley has decent size, very good speed, and great vision to pick up consistent yardage. With Clemson going through a transitory period at quarterback, it is very possible Shipley has an even larger role in 2023.

Other running backs to watch: Raheim Sanders (Arkansas), Bucky Irving (Oregon), Devin Neal (Kansas)

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