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The Top 5 Running Backs Oregon State Will Face In 2020

Some talented tailbacks grace the list.

Pac-12 Championship Game - Oregon v Utah Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

1. CJ Verdell (Oregon)

Pac-12 Championship Game - Oregon v Utah
CJ Verdell will be relied upon more with Oregon’s quarterback situation in flux.
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

One of college football’s most consistent running backs, Oregon’s rising junior running back in CJ Verdell is primed for a strong 2020 campaign, that might just be the offensive key to the Ducks claiming a Pac-12 title. Verdell is only one of seven players in college football who have rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, all while tallying 18 touchdowns on the ground and 2 more in the receiving game. There’s no argument to be had, Verdell is the Pac-12’s best runner right now.

2. Max Borghi (Washington State)

Washington State v Washington
Washington State has one of the league’s most unique play-makers in Max Borghi.
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

A new era style of running back, Max Borghi flourished for Washington State in 2019 under Mike Leach, as a versatile option in both the run and pass games. The Arvada, Colorado native had 213 touches on offense a year ago, including 127 carries for 817 yards and 11 scores and 86 catches for 597 yards and 5 touchdowns. Obviously, the ability is there for Borghi, but how well he assimilates to a new coach in Nick Rolovich could either turn 2020 into a year of great personal growth or a slight letdown.

3. Christopher Brown Jr. (California)

Washington State v California
Christopher Brown Jr. is emerging as a legitimate NFL Draft prospect down the road with a solid frame and versatile abilities out of the backfield.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In 2020, California’s Christopher Brown Jr. should once again be the top running back option in the Golden Bears offense. As a versatile talent, he posted 208 carries for 914 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground, while also catching 22 passes for 166 yards and 4 scores in 2019. He’s a powerful, workhorse back that at 6’ 1”, 230 pounds is never easy to bring down with a head of steam behind him. A random NFL comparison would be former Cincinnati Bengals running back Corey Dillon, who had that same type of calm elusiveness.

4. Richard Newton (Washington)

Richard Newton leads a loaded Huskies running backs room.
Photo by Michael Workman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Under new head coach Jimmy Lake, a new identity will try to be forged at Washington, one that hypothetically takes some of the great qualities from the Chris Petersen era and moves them up a notch. On the field, the Huskies are going to have a committee approach at the running back spot, but I think Richard Newton is the most gifted of the group, after tallying 117 carries for 498 yards and 10 touchdowns as the team’s second-leading rusher in 2019. He should be another year improved in 2020.

5. Austin Jones (Stanford)

Oregon v Stanford
Austin Jones will no longer play second fiddle in Stanford’s running game.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

A 5’ 10”, 190-pound running back out of Antioch, California, Austin Jones probably doesn’t stand out too much walking around Stanford’s picturesque campus. However, on the football field, he might be one of the Cardinal’s most improved contributors in 2020, as all signs point to him receiving most of the team’s all run-heavy workload this fall. Jones carried the ball just 45 times last year for 227 yards and one score, but also caught 14 passes for over 100 yards, displaying his ability to be an every down, versatile back in David Shaw’s offense.

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