NFL Draft Notebook: Ollie Gordon, Omarion Hampton two of the top running backs in the 2025 class

An in-depth look at the 2025 NFL Draft running back class which is one of the top positions in the draft.
Ollie Gordon
Ollie Gordon / Brian Bahr/GettyImages

Last week, NFL Draft Notebook took a look at the 2025 quarterback class, and this week we break a strong running back class. This group is led by Ollie Gordon of Oklahoma State who maybe the Cowboy’s best running back since Barry Sanders. He is closely followed by Omarion Hampton and TreVevon Henderson who are backs who should go on the second day of next year’s draft.

Top Five Running Backs in the 2025 NFL Draft

1. Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State

No running back in college football had a better season last year than Ollie Gordon II who led the nation with 1,732 rushing yards and yards from scrimmage with 2,062 total yards. He also had the best game any running back in the FBS had last year when he rushed for 282 yards against West Virginia. If that were not enough his 330 receiving yards were the third-most by a Power Five running back. As a pro prospect, Gordon shows outstanding contact balance consistently bouncing off tackles, and also is a patient runner who waits for his blocks to set up.

2. Omarion Hampton, North Carolina

While I currently have Ollie Gordon II as my top running back in the 2025 NFL Draft, it would not surprise me if Omarion Hampton ended up being the first running back taken next April. The main reason for this is Hampton is a more explosive runner yet has similar power to what Gordon has. Last season, Hampton led the nation in yards after contact with 1,072 yards and averaged an impressive 5.9 yards per carry. He is also similar to Gordon in that he is a productive receiver having caught 29 passes for 222 yards last season. If both of these backs have strong seasons again this year, it could come down to which back posts better testing numbers leading up to the draft.

3. TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

If it weren't for injuries Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson would be in contention for the top sport among 2025 ball carriers. Unfortunately, though he has missed significant time each of the past two seasons. Last season, he missed three games and in 2022 he missed the last five games of the year due to a broken bone in his foot. When healthy Henderson is an explosive back who can either outrun or run over defenders.

4. Quinshon Judkins, Ohio State

The second Ohio State back to make this list is Quinshon Judkins who moved on from Ole Miss this offseason. He is similar to Henderson in that both are explosive backs who have the speed to break off the long run, or jet through the line of scrimmage to pick up the tough yeards. However, unlike Henderson, Judkins has only average power and goes down on first contact. He also needs to improve his vision as he missed too many open running lanes last year. An NFL comparison that makes sense for Judkins is 4 time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook.

5. Damien Martinez, Miami

A player who has been productive ever since he took the field is former Oregon State running back Damien Martinez. As a freshman, he rushed for 982 yards which ranked fourth nationally among all freshmen, and he set a school single-season record with six consecutive 100-yard efforts. This past season he rushed for 1,185 yards and was named to the All-Pac 12 team for the second time. In 2024 Martinez is hoping to improve his NFL Draft now that he has transferred to Miami. One trait that stands out to me about him is how impressive his footwork is for a 237-pound back.

NFL Draft news and notes

Breakout player: Look for new Georgia running back Trevor Etienne to have by far the best season of his career this year. One of the reasons for this is he should be the lead back for the Bulldogs in 2024 after being a backup during his time with the Florida Gators. Another reason for this is he will playing behind a much better offensive line, and teams won’t be able to focus on him due to Georgia’s passing game which is led by Carson Beck. If he has the type of season I think he can look for the dynamic running back to be a day two pick in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Mr. Versatile: One of the most versatile backs in the country is Boise State’s Ashton Jeanty. Last season Jeanty led all FBS backs by averaging 159.67 yards from scrimmage per game. He did this by rushing for 1,347 yards and also catching 43 passes for 569 yards which also led the nation. As a pro prospect, his most impressive trait is his ability to consistently bounce off tacklers. Another trait that will surely excite scouts about him is his soft hands and his ability to help out in the passing game as both a receiver and blocker. I currently have a third-round grade on him and if he has another strong season he could end up being a second-round pick.

2025 NFL Draft prospect Ashton Jeanty
Ashton Jeanty / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

Improved running game: Last season, Penn State’s running game underachieved despite having two players who could be drafted in the 2025 NFL Draft. The Nittany Lions only averaged 174 yards a game which ranked 36th in the FBS and also averaged just 4.6 yards a carry. Look for that to change this season though now that Andy Kotelnicki will be running the offense after spending the past three seasons at Kansas and making them a top-ten rushing offense. Penn State’s top running back is Nicholas Singleton. who shows impressive agility and speed for a 226-pound back. The other back on the roster who should get drafted is Kaytron Allen who led the team in rushing last year and was named second-team All-Big Ten. Going into the season I have a fourth-round grade on Singleton and a seventh-round grade on Allen.

A move to fullback: Look for NFL teams to consider moving Texas Tech running back Tahj Brooks to fullback. One of the reasons for this is his lack of speed to be a lead back in the NFL, and he would likely just be limited to short-yardage situations if he stays at RB. While this speed is a big risk at running back it would be solid for a fullback and could create matchup problems at the next level, especially in the passing game. He is also a strong blocker who was Pro Football Focuses highest graded pass blocker in the Power Five last season. His most exciting trait that could make him a good fullback though is his physical running style which saw him cause 96 forced tackles according to PFF which led the nation.

NFL Draft stats of the week

553: The number of yards Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon II had in two straight games vs. West Virginia and Cincinnati.

106: The amount of forced missed tackles Boise State running back Ashton Jeanty caused last season, which led the nation.

280: The number of rushing yards Antario Brown had against Akron last season. I have a seventh-round grade on Brown going into the season.

80 percent: This year we see 12 of the top 15 running backs in the FBS return to school.