College Football: 5 running backs who’ll contend for Heisman Trophy in 2020

Najee Harris, Alabama football (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Najee Harris, Alabama football (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Penn State football
Journey Brown, Penn State football (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mentions

Penn State’s Journey Brown didn’t eclipse 1,000 yards a year ago, but his strong finish indicates that 2020 could be a breakout year for him. The Nittany Lion tailback scored at least a touchdown in each of the last five games of the season, and with his 202-yard outing against Memphis in the Cotton Bowl, Brown announced his presence as one of the nation’s most exciting playmakers heading into this season.

The highlight of Scott Satterfield’s encouraging debut season at Louisville was Javian Hawkins. The redshirt freshman racked up 1,525 yards and nine touchdowns as the Cardinals returned to respectability with eight wins. Like Brown, Hawkins is a burner, and he has the kind of explosiveness that will create highlight after highlight.

Max Borghi is as much a receiving back as he is a running back. The Cougar caught 86 passes a year ago, the most nationally at the position. He also led the Pac-12 in yards per carry at 6.4. New head coach Nick Rolovich has shown a tendency to run the ball a bit more than former Cougar head man Mike Leach, so Borghi could see an increased workload in 2020.

Speaking of Mike Leach, he’ll be inheriting a special back in Kylin Hill. The Bulldog back carried the ball for 1,350 yards and ten touchdowns a year ago, and he enters 2020 needing just 45 yards to become Mississippi State’s all-time leading rusher. Obviously, Leach’s style of offense is a more pass-oriented scheme, but in what will be a transition season in Starkville, Hill will likely be relied upon to lead the way for this unit regardless.