College Sports Wire unveils Pac-12 running back rankings for 2023
Rating position groups is the thing to do in the month of May. August camp can’t get here soon enough, but in the meantime, there are positions to evaluate in college football, particularly in the Pac-12.
USC’s running back room is loaded.
We wrote that “If you remember how the 2022 sesaon unfolded, you know that Austin Jones played really well against UCLA and Notre Dame. He was fresh, having received few carries when Travis Dye was healthy.
“Lloyd’s arrival means that with Jones and Raleek Brown already in the rotation, USC will be able to rotate running backs a lot so that no one gets overloaded. What happened in 2022 with Austin Jones being fresh for the final few games of the season in November should become a season-long reality. Everyone should be fresh throughout the season, because no one should be overextended in a running back room this deep. Lincoln Riley can spread around the carries and give defenses a lot of different looks.”
Patrick Conn of College Sports Wire ranked the Pac-12’s running backs heading into the new season. Let’s take a look:
BUCKY IRVING, OREGON DUCKS
Bo Nix, Bucky Irving, Gary Bryant Jr., and Troy Franklin. This Duck offense is loaded and has the top running back in the conference.
CARSON STEELE, UCLA BRUINS
UCLA lost its staring QB and RB, so they went to the portal for both. Carson Steele is set to take over as the team’s running back after an impressive time at Ball State.
JA'QUINDEN JACKSON, UTAH UTES
Ja’Quinden Jackson is a spark plug and a former QB turned RB. He gets to lead the backfield this season.
DAMIEN MARTINEZ, OREGON STATE
The Beavers are an interesting team to watch once again, and Damien Martinez should get another heavy dose of touches in the offense.
CAMERON DAVIS, WASHINGTON HUSKIES
Cameron Davis is getting handoffs from Michael Penix Jr., and the Huskies also have two top-10 wide receivers this year.
MARSHAWN LLOYD, USC TROJANS
MarShawn Lloyd transferred from South Carolina to Southern California. The USC RB room is loaded, although Lloyd should easily be the first option in the backfield. Here’s what Conn wrote about Lloyd:
After three seasons in Columbia, Lloyd heads to the real USC with the Trojans. Lloyd will likely see a lot of action in the Lincoln Riley offense led by defending Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams. Travis Dye was the top back before an injury and Austin Jones returns this season for Riley. Lloyd brings in some big-play potential and he should find the end zone as both a runner and receiver in this ‘Air Raid’ attack.
JAYDN OTT, CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
There wasn’t much to be excited about with Cal football last year except for Jaydn Ott. Hopefully this season is better in Berkeley.
NAKIA WATSON, WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
Washington State also returns its starting QB and RB, Cam Ward and Nakia Watson. The offense will look different with an OC change, however.
CAMERON SKATTEBO, ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
Arizona State hired Kenny Dillingham, brought in Drew Pyne as QB, and added Sac State transfer RB Cameron Skattebo.
MICHAEL WILEY, ARIZONA WILDCATS
Can Jedd Fisch lead Arizona to a bowl game? If so, Michael Wiley needs to be a huge part of the offense.
ALTON MCCASKILL, COLORADO BUFFALOES
Stop if you’ve heard this: Deion Sanders and Colorado added ANOTHER transfer, this time Houston RB Alton McCaskill.