The 2014 recruiting class features several outstanding prospects at the running back position. A dying breed, running backs have become less important today due to many teams running the spread offense.
Yet, this year's class has a few runners who will bring the position back to glory in college football. The only obstacle will be just how soon these talented running backs get their opportunity to shine.
A pair of running backs headed to an SEC school will have to beat out one another, plus two talented incumbents. Another duo faces a similar challenge in the Pac-12, while a quick running back may be on the sideline for awhile.
Committed to: Texas A&M
A 4-star, all-purpose running back, Varshaun Nixon will be a great fit for Texas A&M's spread offense. At 5'9" and 185 pounds, he displays terrific quickness and agility.
Nixon, a Texas native, has the ability to dodge defenders with ease due to his great elusiveness. He skates through creases to jump to the second level before using his speed to jet past linebackers.
Yet, with Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and Tra Carson all on the Aggies' roster, Nixon may have to wait his turn.
Committed to: Oregon
Hailing from Florida, Tony James is a 4-star running back who will head across the country to run for Oregon.
With his speed and explosiveness, he will be a perfect fit in Eugene, Ore.
James, who is 5'10" and 170 pounds, impressively surges to and through holes. He also has the hands and receiving skills to factor into the passing game. However, Oregon has runners such as Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner to depend on for next season, so James appears to be a candidate to redshirt.
Committed to: Oregon
Royce Freeman is another talented running back who will be a Duck next season. At nearly 6'0" and 215 pounds, Freeman has similar size to current Oregon running back Thomas Tyner.
However, Tyner has vastly superior speed to the 5-star 2014 prospect. Freeman, who has deceptive build-up speed, is more of a power-runner who does his damage inside. Don't expect Freeman to make a huge impact early in his career in Eugene, Ore.
Committed to: Florida
Should Dalvin Cook stick to his commitment, the 5-star recruit will play his college football in Gainesville for Florida. The Miami native has an exceptional blend of speed and quickness.
Cook, who is 5'11" and 190 pounds, has smoothness in his running style.
He darts through alleys with noticeable acceleration, but he also has the agility to shoot to the edges of the box. Cook will get some carries as a true freshman for the Gators, but Kelvin Taylor will keep him from being "The Man" for a few years.
Committed to: Georgia
Although injuries have hindered their plans this season, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are a fantastic tandem at running back for Georgia (when healthy).
The Bulldogs also boast commitments at running back from 5-star prospect Sony Michel and 4-star prospect Nick Chubb. The pair of 2014 recruits figure to be a great future tandem in their own right, but they will not immediately be stars in Athens.
Gurley and Marshall are set to be back in 2014, so the young studs will likely spend a lot of time in the stable next season.
The 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map features many running backs who will have to compete for playing time next season!
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.