The Texas A&M Aggies come into 2021 with Isaiah Spiller as the focal threat of the Aggies’ offense. However, A&M requires production from its other running backs in terms of pass-blocking and pass-catching to keep the defense guessing. The Aggies’ running backs will need to play a big role in both the passing attack and running game for A&M to compete in the SEC.
Aggies’ Running Backs for 2021
Isaiah Spiller finished with more than 1,000 rushing yards and had 6 100-yard games last season. However, the Aggies will also need a strong backup at running back, and sophomore Devon Achane is likely to serve that role. Earnest Crownover, Deondre Jackson, and Darvon Hubbard are all likely to get more touches this year. LJ Johnson and Amari Daniels are incoming freshmen who will be at the bottom of the depth chart and learn from the more experienced players.
Unquestionably, Spiller will repeat as the starter at running back for the Aggies in 2021. He was a Doak Walker Award semifinalist and All-SEC First Team this past season. Spiller had 3 games in which he had multiple touchdowns, and he led A&M to have the second-best rushing offense last year. In fact, Spiller is a Heisman sleeper for the 2021 season. After the departure of Kellen Mond to the NFL Draft, the offense heavily relies on Spiller’s shoulders. He will have to perform big in games against the SEC West giants for the Aggies to stand a chance. Spiller’s expectation this season should be to win the Doak Walker Award as the best running back in the SEC.
Devon Achane is bound to serve as the backup to Spiller in 2021. Achane’s low center of gravity makes him a versatile offensive weapon. He was likely to make a full-time move to receiver last season. His excellent performance in the Orange Bowl with 140 yards and 2 touchdowns kept him at the running back position; he was even named the Most Outstanding Player in the bowl game. Achane has great playmaking and run-after-catch ability, so he could occasionally be used in the slot position. When Spiller leaves for the NFL in 2022, expect Achane to take over the starting position.
Other Key Running Backs
Earnest Crownover only played in four games last season. Crownover joined the Aggies as part of the class of 2020, and he was quickly elevated from the practice squad. As a redshirt sophomore, Crownover will likely play a bigger role in special teams than on offense next year.
Deondre Jackson saw his only action in the Aggies’ win over South Carolina in 2020. He was not a highly-rated recruit, and he will likely be used more in special teams like Crownover. Jackson is someone who is expected to hit the transfer portal during this season.
Darvon Hubbard had 1 rushing attempt for 2 yards in the South Carolina game last season. He probably won’t see the field much this season, and there are also several rumors of him transferring out from A&M.
LJ Johnson and Amari Daniels join the Aggies as 4-star recruits. They probably won’t get much playing time in 2021 since the running back position group is already loaded. If they both show improvement in practice this season and over next spring, expect them to have major roles on the offense in 2022.
Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane are the running backs likely to get the most action on the field this season. They will both have to be productive in the running and passing games for the Aggies to develop into proficient offenses. The Aggies’ running backs are the most experienced and talented position group for A&M. While some running backs won’t get much action, they must be great when on the field for the Aggies to continue their rise to the top of the SEC West.