Home News Rivals Rankings Week: Storylines To Follow With Top 2026 Running Backs

Rivals Rankings Week: Storylines To Follow With Top 2026 Running Backs

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The new position rankings for the 2026 class are being released and so it’s time to look at storylines at each spot. Today, we continue with running backs.

NEW POSITION RANKINGS: Running Back | All-Purpose Back | Pro-Style QB | Dual-Threat QB

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Sunday: Who should be No. 1?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Meet the new five-star

Tuesday: New Rivals250 unveiled | Position-by-position | Biggest risers

Wednesday: New offensive position rankings | QB rankings breakdown | RB rankings breakdown | WR/TE rankings breakdown | OL rankings breakdown

Thursday: New defensive position rankings | DL rankings breakdown | LB rankings breakdown | DB rankings breakdown | ATH rankings breakdown

Friday: New state rankings | Who is No. 1 in each state

Saturday: Rivals Rankings Roundtable

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IS THERE A FIVE-STAR RUNNING BACK?

This is the big question as the junior season nears for the 2026 class. The NFL Draft has not been kind to running backs in recent years. There hasn’t been a running back selected in the first round of two of the previous three NFL Drafts, illustrating just how little value the position has at the highest level of the sport.

Absent a truly elite prospect at the position who has the speed and well-rounded skill set to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the class, it’s hard to say that there will be a running back to reach five-star status in this cycle.

Currently, Savion Hiter is the closest to five-star status and sits within range at No. 26 overall.

There’s still plenty to learn about the top 2026 running backs and many of them will participate in a few more offseason events. We’ll be on the lookout to see if any of them should be slotted at the highest tier of the Rivals250.

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THE RACE FOR NO. 1

Davian Groce

Davian Groce (Marshall Levenson)

Savion Hiter remained the top-ranked running back in the 2026 Rivals250 but he is facing stiff competition from a number of prospects.

At No. 26 in the Rivals250, Hiter has a balanced skill set and brings impressive speed, power, vision, toughness, patience and receiving abilities to the field. Just a few spots behind him in the Rivals250 is Tradarian Ball out of Texas. His elite speed has propelled him up the Rivals250 and he may not be done rising up the rankings.

Davian Groce, the top-ranked all-purpose back, has a style that is well-suited for the college level and beyond.

Keep an eye on top-100 running backs DeZephen Walker and Oklahoma commit Jonathan Hatton as well. Walker and Hatton, who have posted 40 times in the 4.4s and 4.5s, have the traits to play at any school in the nation.

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YATES MAKES A SPLASH

Damarius Yates

Damarius Yates (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Earning his initial rating in the 2026 class, Damarius Yates finds himself as one of the top-ranked running backs in the Rivals250.

The Mississippi native has posted impressive track times including a 10.9-second 100m and a 20.43 200m. The 5-foot-11 ball carrier is extremely productive as well. This past season Yates ran for 1,129 yards and 19 touchdowns even though he missed four games. He’s also a receiving threat out of the backfield. He was credited with 365 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns last year.

Yates ranks outside the top 100 of the Rivals250 but he could challenge some of the higher-ranked running backs as the process rolls on.

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SEVERAL TEXANS IN THE RIVALS250

Javian Osborne

Javian Osborne (Rivals.com)

It’s an elite year for running banks in the state of Texas and seven of them are ranked in the Rivals250. The group is led by Tradarian Ball at No. 30 overall followed by Davian Groce (No. 48), Jonathan Hatton (No. 74), Javian Osborne (No. 162), Raycine Guillory (No. 165), Ryelan Morris (No. 169) and KJ Edwards (No. 242).

Hatton (Oklahoma) and Guillory (Texas) are the only two who have committed so far but it’s still early in the recruiting process so there is plenty of time for drama. It would be surprising if the Sooners and Longhorns didn’t try to add another running back to their 2026 classes.

Ball, Groce, Osborne, Morris, and Edwards are staying in contact with coaches from Texas, Oklahoma and dozens of other programs around the country.

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