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Oregon State Football: The Top 5 Running Backs The Beavers Will Face In 2021

There’s a handful of blistering tailbacks that the Beavers will need to slow down.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

1. Max Borghi (Washington State)

Washington State v Washington Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The ultimate dual-threat option, Max Borghi missed almost all of the 2020 season with a back injury, but should return to Nick Rolovich’s offense as the top overall talent, a main reason he landed on both the Doak Walker and Biletnikoff Award watch lists prior to last season. During a healthy 2019 campaign, Borghi totaled 817 yards on the ground on a workhorse 127 carries with 11 scores, while also catching 86 passes for 597 yards and 5 touchdowns.

2. Jarek Broussard (Colorado)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 Colorado at Stanford Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the breakthrough stars of the 2020 campaign in the Pac-12, Jarek Broussard averaged over 149 yards per game on the ground for the Buffs in his first mostly healthy go-round at Colorado. For those who missed his 301 yard display against Arizona and the 5’ 9” back finishing the season with four straight games of 120+ yards, it’s best to learn his name now before he’s carving up your team’s defense.

3. CJ Verdell (Oregon)

Pac-12 Championship Game - Oregon v Utah Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Flanked by his running mate Travis Dye, the main reason CJ Verdell isn’t even closer on the heels of Max Borghi for the top spot, Verdell would also be more well-liked if he didn’t play on a certain in-state rival who shall not be named. His breakaway speed from the line of scrimmage and his ability to make quick decisions in the Ducks offense to find holes makes him one of the country’s more consistent and stable tailbacks. Expect him to be even better in 2021.

4. Calvin Turner (Hawai’i)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 24 New Mexico Bowl Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Like Borghi, Calvin Turner’s versatile talents is what makes him so revered for the Rainbow Warriors, as a piece of the multi-dimensional Hawai’i offense that is always a big-play threat. Through the 2020 campaign, Turner ran the ball 60 times for 331 yards and caught 33 passes for 546 yards, racking up 10 touchdowns in just nine games of action. A solid-sized back at 6’ 1”, 200 pounds, Turner is the type of guy who can really turn a game on it’s head in an instant.

5. Austin Jones (Stanford)

Colorado v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Austin Jones is a prototypical solid Stanford running back who is listed at 5’ 10”, 200 pounds and is always ready to push through holes at the line of scrimmage behind the Cardinal’s massive linemen. In 2020, Jones lead the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns with 9 scores on the ground en route to being named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention by the league’s coaches. Jones will need to anchor a Stanford offense that will be looking for reliable pieces to trust come the Fall.