The 2022 rankings are heating up and there are debates about which prospects should be No. 1 at numerous positions. Running back and all-purpose back are two of those spots. In today’s Making The Case, Rivals analysts make an argument for a specific player as to why that prospect should top the rankings as the best player in the backfield for the 2022 class.
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CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
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Raleek Brown is not the biggest and he’s not the most physically impressive prospect in the 2022 class, but he’s amazingly dynamic with and without the ball in his hands and that’s what separates him from the others in this class. Running between the tackles he can hide behind bigger offensive linemen and then explode through the crease for big yards. He can flex out and catch passes as well as any receiver in the class. In space, he’s unstoppable and makes it look like defenders are stuck in tar. The Oklahoma commit has dominated every event I’ve ever seen him in for years and he’s just so fun to watch at all times. The high four-star could not have picked a better situation than letting coach Lincoln Riley devise ways to get him the ball. – Adam Gorney, national recruiting analyst
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Travis Etienne may be the first running back off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft, but Rivals100 running back Trevor Etienne has a chance to be an even better prospect. The younger Etienne blends speed and elusiveness with the ability to keep defenders off-balanced or break long runs in the open field. He’s a fantastic pass-catcher with home-run-like ability. Clemson, LSU and Georgia are all in the mix for Louisiana’s top all-purpose back. – Sam Spiegelman, Mid-Central recruiting analyst
Branson Robinson was one of the nation’s biggest risers after piecing together a stellar campaign for Madison (Miss.) Germantown as a junior. He piled up 1,200 yards and scored 16 total touchdowns last season. Robinson packs great balance and the ability to run through contact in a 5-foot-11, 220-pound frame. He has quick feet with excellent balance and elusiveness. Georgia, Alabama and LSU are among the team’s battling for Mississippi’s top back. – Spiegelman
Emmanuel Henderson is a back with a good frame and home run speed. He makes the game look easy on Friday nights. Over the last two seasons, Henderson has rushed for close to 3,500 yards and scored 56 total touchdowns. He is a player that puts his team on his back, that wants the ball in big situations and that produces on a regular basis. He has a smooth running style, he makes a lot of big plays and his ability has schools like Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia in pursuit. – Chad Simmons, Southeast recruiting analyst
What I like most about Gavin Sawchuk’s game is that even though he’s not the biggest back at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, he’s incredibly hard to tackle, he stays up, he keeps his feet moving, he swivels around arm tackles and once he’s free the high four-star can outrun anybody on the field. Sawchuk is patient, he waits for blockers, he has great vision in the hole and then he explodes out of there for extra yards. He’s just a very mature running back on and off the field and I know he doesn’t love the comparison (and Sawchuk isn’t as yoked up), but Christian McCaffrey also played at Valor Christian and he was a very similar running back at the same stage. – Gorney