5. Isaiah Spiller – Texas A&M Aggies
Isaiah Spiller is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2019 class. He had a great senior season rushing for 1,493 yards and 20 touchdowns in one of the toughest classifications in the nation (Texas 6A). Despite his success, he has plenty of room for growth.
Isaiah is a well-rounded back who can move the chains inside and out and catch the ball out of the backfield which is a necessity in the Texas A&M offense. Isaiah has shown the ability to get through the small creases. He doesn’t take a lot of wasted cuts and is decisive when he makes a move.
He is a bit tight in the hips and doesn’t always play as fast as he could. However, Spiller’s production speaks for itself, and he has the measurables and running and pass receiving skill set to continue racking up impressive yards at the next level.
4. Trey Sanders – Alabama Crimson Tide
If you’re looking for a running back that checks all the boxes, Trey Sanders might be your guy. The talented running back from IMG was ranked as the No. 1 running back in the nation by the 247 composite rankings and displayed a great skill set while facing one of the most challenging schedules in the nation.
Sanders is only missing one thing on his resume, and that is production.
During his three seasons at IMG, he only rushed for 1587 yards, including 470 yards on 68 carries his senior season. While he is one of the most physically gifted players at any position in the 2019 class, it is difficult to rank him any higher with only seven 100 yard games in the past three seasons.
At the same time, it is impossible to watch his game film and not see the potential star that Sanders could be. Trey is a difference maker in space with the ball in his hands and can create mismatch problems with his ability to line up at multiple positions. Sanders is not a power back or push the pile type but breaks tackles with his quick-twitched body movements and ability to avoid direct hits. He has good balance and flashes the ability to slip out of would-be tacklers, but his stop-start and ability to freeze defenders is at a premium level.
With Najee Harris back for his junior season, don’t expect much rushing production from Sanders as a freshman. However, he will be a weapon in the passing game, and after a season in the Crimson Tide strength and conditioning program, he should have a significant impact as a sophomore.
3. Zamir White – Georgia Bulldogs
Zamir White will be the most talented freshman running back in the nation. However, we ranked him at No. 3 because he is coming off of back-to-back ACL injuries – including last season that led to him red-shirting.
He is a decisive, downhill runner when a seam is present but still shows good patience following his blocks and stretching the ball outside when needed. Excels at getting through tight in-line creases and shows good feet in the hole. Zamir will bounce out of the pile to daylight but typically stays square and keeps downhill momentum. He has a decisive style that translates well to the college level.
Zamir has a naturally low center of gravity that allows him to bounce off arm tackles and retain his balance. He has some power to his frame, and he can absorb a hit and maintain his forward progress.
White can be an every-down back who will get some difficult yards after contact with strength and also create big runs with his speed and quickness. His blend of size, speed and power makes him versatile enough to fit into different schemes and move the chains consistently.
Depending on how quickly he recovers, he and D’Andre Swift could become the third consecutive duo at UGA to rush for 1000 yards in the same season.
2. John Emery Jr. – LSU Tigers
John Emery Jr. has the skill set to be the next great running back from the state of Louisiana. He is a powerful runner with a strong, muscular build that can push the pile. He flashes a quick first step and the burst to hit the tight seams. Emery looks to get North and is quick to gain downhill momentum and extremely difficult to wrap up in tight spaces. He also has breakaway speed and acceleration in the 2nd level and wastes little motion when cutting;
Emery has a style that translates well to the college level with his ability to get the inside yards on a consistent basis. As a senior, Emery rushed for 1,693 yards and 26 TDs in leading his team to the 5A state semifinals and a 13-2 overall record.
LSU is the perfect fit for Emery and he should challenge for carries from week 1. Don’t be surprised if he wins the starting position and runs for over 1000 yards.
1. Jerrion Ealy – Ole Miss Rebels
Jerrion Ealy is probably the best overall athlete in the 2019 class and one day will have to decide between the MLB and the NFL. Ealy was not only a five-star running back but also ranked as the 18th best prospect in the 2019 MLB draft by MLB.com.
The one knock on Ealy was that he played in a smaller private school division. However, those fears were extinguished when he set an Under Armour All-American Game rushing record with 119 rushing yards on just 16 carries.
Jerrion is a Strong, balanced runner with quick feet and well-rounded skill-set. He flashes good top-end speed and upper and lower body strength but his vision finding the hole and the ability to get through tight creases for big gainers is what sets him apart from other running backs in the 2019 class.
His elite vision allows him to find the cutback bounce the play outside and shows good patience in letting his blocks set up and finding the opening daylight. This is a back who looks to get North and find the downhill crease without a lot of wasted cuts.
He could use an additional 10 pounds but has the skill set in both the passing and rushing game that should help him break the 1,000 total yard mark as a freshman.