With Week four of the college football season upon us, offenses are beginning to solidify, and devy fantasy football prospects, for the most part, are beginning to display their actual value for our rosters. Let's take a look at five running backs you should keep an eye out for this weekend.
Chris Rodriguez Jr. - Kentucky
Quarterback Will Levis and wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson make the headlines for Kentucky's successful start to the season, but once again, it is the McDonough, Georgia native handling the dirty work for the Wildcats. Coming off a season where he earned first-team All-SEC honors, Rodriguez Jr. has continued to be dependable on the ground, rushing for an SEC-high 377 yards and scoring four times. He only recorded 46 yards last Week against Chattanooga, which snapped the 5'11" 224-pounder's six-game streak of either recording over 100 yards on the ground or finding the endzone twice. Heading forward, the Wildcats look to keep their undefeated season alive as they travel to Williams-Brice Stadium for a crucial SEC East matchup. South Carolina was exposed last weekend by Georgia's running backs, as they averaged 6.7 yards per attempt and combined for 181 yards, finding the endzone twice. Last year against the Gamecocks, Rodriguez Jr. was unstoppable, running for 139 yards and three touchdowns at nearly ten yards per carry.
Ulysses Bentley IV - SMU
The 5'11" 197-pounder from Houston, Texas was rightfully named, as Bentley IV, packed with the acceleration of a Continental GT, has been a luxury for the Mustangs since arriving in Dallas. After being named an FWAA Freshman All-American for his performance in his record-setting second season, the C.E. King High School product has picked up where he left off last year. The redshirt sophomore has recorded over 4.5 yards per carry in all three contests, including a 141-yard performance in the Safeway Bowl against North Texas. Bentley IV and the Mustangs head west on I-30 to Fort Worth to take on the Horned Frogs, looking for back-to-back victories in the Battle of the Iron Skillet for the first time since the Tom Rossley era in the early 1990s. TCU has been solid against the run through two games, but California's Damien Moore did manage to find success last week, averaging over five yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns.
Will Shipley - Clemson
Clemson heads on the road to Raleigh for an intriguing Textile Bowl matchup against North Carolina State. Former Tigers' running back Lyn-J Dixon decided to enter the transfer portal last week, granting the five-star freshman the first start of his Clemson career. Shipley did not disappoint, amassing 94 all-purpose yards and two scores en route to receiving ACC Rookie of the Week honors. This performance came after the Weddington High School product averaged ten yards per carry and found the endzone twice against South Carolina State. With the offensive struggles the Tigers have dealt with over the first three games, it should not be surprising if they look to get the 5'11 205-pound back more involved out in space where he can show off his dynamism with the ball in his hands. The Wolfpack have been tenacious against the run, giving up less than 50 rushing yards to opposing running backs in all three contests. Still, with the Tigers' urgency to land explosive plays, look for Shipley to receive plenty of volume, particularly as a pass-catcher.
Jaylen Warren - Oklahoma State
Warren has been successful at every level of his football career, from becoming the first player in Utah high school football history to register a 3000-yard season to being awarded the NJCAA National Offensive Player of the Year award while at Snow College. After spending two seasons at Utah State, it looks like the 5'8" 215-pounder is on his way to checking "Power Five Success" off his to-do list. The Salt Lake City native started his stint in Stillwater slow but came alive last week against Boise State, rushing for 218 yards and two touchdowns on his way to Big 12 Player of the Week honors. Warren and Oklahoma State look to keep their five-game winning streak alive, with Kansas State coming to town on a Saturday showdown under the lights at Boone Pickens Stadium. Kansas State has been hit-or-miss against the run, holding Stanford and Nevada's running backs to less than 45 yards on the ground but allowing Southern Illinois' two primary backs to average 4.5 yards per carry and find the endzone twice.
Calvin Hill - Texas State
Hill has been rock solid through three games, averaging over 4.5 yards per carry for the year and recording back-to-back games of 70 or more yards. The redshirt sophomore has not found the endzone through three games, but do not interpret that as the back from Baytown, Texas, being unsuccessful so far this season. The Sterling High School product and the Bobcats close out their non-conference slate against Eastern Michigan, who have been brutal against the run as of late. After allowing Wisconsin running backs to register over 350 yards on the ground and four different ball carriers to score a touchdown, the Eagles gave up 191 yards to Massachusett's backs, managing to allow over six yards per carry in two consecutive games. If history repeats itself, and there is no indication that it will not, look for the 5'7" 188-pounder to hit paydirt for the first time since last November's matchup against Arkansas State.
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