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Best Running Backs in the ACC

Running Backs ACC

This year, the ACC’s best running backs could have a shot to be selected in the first or second rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. The departure of Jahmyr Gibbs to Alabama has opened up the race for some backs to compete for the All-ACC teams. However, there are three running backs who separate themselves from the rest of the pack entering the Fall. Here are the top running backs in the ACC for the 2022-2023 season.

3. Kobe Pace: Clemson

After D.J. Uiagalelei’s struggles, there’s no surprise that the Clemson Tigers will heavily rely on the run in 2022. Kobe Pace finished his sophomore year with over 750 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns. Of course, his stats were partly due to Will Shipley’s injury, but Clemson could see more of a split-back formation with Brandon Streeter as the new offensive coordinator.

Most predicted depth charts have Pace as the second-string running back behind Shipley. Nonetheless, this does not mean Pace will see the field on a seldom basis. Texas A&M recently had one of the best running back trios in Isaiah Spiller, Devon Achane, and Ainias Smith, and the Aggies utilized their talent fully. Similarly, expect Dabo Swinney to take advantage of the Tigers’ depth at running back.    

2. Tiyon Evans: Louisville

Tiyon Evans is a transfer from Tennessee, who had one of the best offenses in 2021. Evans had a solid junior season with nearly 600 total yards and seven touchdowns. As part of an offense focused on a rushing attack, Evans will be even more lethal in the ACC. His numbers could surpass 1,000 yards in 2022, and he could be mentioned with Bijan Robinson and Achane as the first running back selected in next year’s NFL Draft.

Evans will battle it out with Jalen Mitchell for the starting position, and Evans could turn some heads early in the Fall. It’s important to remember that the Volunteers’ running back room is much more competitive; perhaps Evans saw the Cardinals as an opportunity for more minutes. Regardless, he will have to deliver on the field to get noticed by NFL teams in the near future.

1. Sean Tucker: Syracuse

It’s an easy choice for the top spot. Based on his first two years, Sean Tucker has an argument to be a top-three running back in college football. He definitely has the number one spot on the depth chart; 18 touchdowns and 2500 scrimmage yards signify him as the motor of the Orange’s offense. Still, Tucker will have to improve from his previous years to make it back to the All-ACC team in 2022.

Surprisingly, Tucker has not had much impact in the passing game. His tremendous ability in open space needs to be utilized more this season, which could also increase his draft stock. Tucker is the one running back in the ACC with a chance to win the Doak Walker award this year. 

Concluding Thoughts

There are an abundant amount of talented running backs in the ACC, so it’s tough to limit this list to three players. However, these three guys definitely have the most potential to have impressive performances in 2022, even if their starting spot is in question. Now, it’s time to wait and see who rises to the occasion.      

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