The Big 10 best returning running backs have big shoes to fill for previous Big 10 standouts at the running back position. This position group sees some turnover entering the 2022 season. However, there are three rushers whose teams will be very glad to see them return. The third spot could have gone to another, but we ultimately decided to give him a shot coming off of a pretty big injury in 2021. With that being said, here are the top three Big 10 returning running backs for 2022.
Big 10 Best Returning Running Backs
3. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota
As we stated above, this third spot could have gone to another. However, when Mohamed Ibrahim is 100% healthy he is one of the best in the Big 10 and all signs point to him being back to form in 2022. With limited stats in 2021, let’s start with his Junior season in the shortened 2020 season. The Big 10 played in only seven games in 2020 and Ibrahim rushed for 1,076 yards. The Gopher averaged just under five-and-a-half yards per carry and finished the shortened season with 15 rushing touchdowns. Head coach P.J. Fleck was hoping to build off of the momentum his starter had going into the 2021 season. However, that was ultimately cut short. Ibrahim was having a career day against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 opener when he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. Before he went down with the season-ending injury, Ibrahim tallied 163 rushing yards on 30 carries for two touchdowns. The Gophers ultimately lost that game and went on to a 9-4 season. If Ibrahim is back in playing form his season he is definitely one of the best rushers in the Big 10 and deserves to be on this list.
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2. Braelon Allen, Wisconsin
This next running back on our list became the Las Vegas Bowl MVP and a Freshman All-American at only 17 years old. Braelon Allen took the Big Ten, specifically the West division, by storm in 2021. He rushed for an astounding 1,268 yards over 12 games and averaged just under seven yards per carry. In addition, he tallied 12 rushing touchdowns. The Badgers have high hopes that Allen will build off of his 2021 season. This will be difficult to do. Allen had seven straight 100-yard rushing games last season and finished the year with eight. During the seven-game 100-yard rush streak, Wisconsin also went on a seven-game win streak. Eight of the nine Wisconsin wins came when Allen rushed for over 100 yards. The only anomaly was against Eastern Michigan during the second game of the year when he wasn’t even a starter yet. If our number one was not returning for 2022, Allen would have been the best returning back in the Big 10 as only an 18-year-old true sophomore.
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1. TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
This list went from a sixth-year senior coming off of a major injury to two true sophomores. The margin between numbers one and two is very small, but alas one had to be picked as the top Big 10 returning running back for 2022. TreVeyon Henderson played in 13 games as a true freshman in 2021. He tallied 1,248 yards on 183 carries. He also had three games where he rushed for over 100 yards. Looking at those numbers alone Henderson and Allen are neck and neck. The slight edge for Henderson comes in his pass-catching abilities. The Buckeye added four receiving touchdowns to his 15 rushing touchdowns last season. In addition, he hauled in 27 passes for 312 yards. That could be because of the different styles of offense, but when you consider the receivers that Ohio State had on their roster last season, that theory holds less water. Head Coach Ryan Day has the same high hopes as Badger Head Coach Paul Chryst, but with maybe a little bit more pressure to succeed with several big-name transfers at running back into the Big 10 East. Look for Henderson to build upon his freshman year season and be a force in 2022.