Ranking Big Ten Conference's Best Running Backs: Ohio State Buckeyes or Oregon Ducks?

Which Big Ten Conference team has the best backfield entering the 2024 college football season? Ohio State, Oregon and Penn State are loaded with talented running backs.
Ohio State TreVeyon Henderson, Oregon Ducks Jordan James
Ohio State TreVeyon Henderson, Oregon Ducks Jordan James /

The Big Ten Conference is loaded with excellent running backs with a chance to electrify in the 2024 football season. Talent in this conference includes a dynamic duo, new faces and breakout stars. Ranking the top-three running back rooms:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

It’s no secret that Ohio State does a great job bringing in some of the best talent in the nation and the running back position is no exception. Heading into 2024, the Buckeyes have arguably the best two-headed running back monster in college football with senior TreVeyon Henderson and Ole Miss transfer Quinshon Judkins.

Henderson has had some difficulty staying on the field over the course of his career but he’s absolutely not lacking talent. In his lone healthy season as a freshman in 2021, Henderson racked up 1,248 rushing yards on a remarkable 6.8 yards per carry. 

Ohio State TreVeyon Henderson, Oregon Ducks Jordan James
Ohio State TreVeyon Henderson, Oregon Ducks Jordan James /

Quinshon Judkins is the flashy new piece in the backfield as he brings his talents over from Ole Miss where he averaged 1,363 rushing yards on almost exactly five yards per carry in two seasons for the Rebels. More of a power runner, Judkins brings the thunder to Henderson’s lightning and rounds out what should be widely considered the best running back group in the Big Ten, if not the country.

2. Oregon Ducks

Depth is the name of the game for Oregon’s running back group this season. Spearheaded by junior Jordan James, the backfield features several different types of runners.

James is the most explosive of the group, averaging an astounding 7.1 yards per carry for the Ducks in 2023. Behind him is powerhouse senior Noah Whittington who comes into 2024 off a leg injury that cost him most of last season after starting red-hot with 7.3 yards per carry through Oregon’s first four games.

Behind these two is Jay Harris, a Division Two transfer from Northwest Missouri State who has garnered rave reviews from coaches and media alike in his first spring in Eugene.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

Some would be tempted to place Michigan’s backfield in the No. 3spot but that mostly factors in last season. After the Wolverines lost star Blake Corum to the NFL Draft, Penn State returns the next-most impressive group in the realigned Big Ten with Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen.

Singleton and Allen split carries last season for the Nittany Lions and both will be back after impressive 2023 seasons. Allen accrued 902 rushing yards in 13 games last year while Singleton contributed 752 of his own. With another year to develop, these two figure to headline one of the fiercest backfields in the Big Ten.

The Big Ten is known for its physical play and although there are other good backfields in the conference, these three should be among the most dangerous heading into 2024.

Bri Amaranthus