2025 NFL Draft running back class is much more loaded than the 2024 class

The top running backs of the 2025 NFL Draft class
Oklahoma State's Ollie Gordon II
Oklahoma State's Ollie Gordon II / Brian Bahr/GettyImages

The 2025 NFL Draft running back class is significantly better than the 2024 running back class, which didn’t see a player taken in the first 45 picks. Next year we will see 12 of the top 15 rushers in the FBS return to school and also see several prominent small school ball carriers return to school.

The top running back going into the season will likely be Ollie Gordon II of Oklahoma State. Last season, Gordon won the Doak Walker Award after rushing for 1,732 yards and finding the end zone a total of 22 times.

Please note these players are not listed in any particular order, and this is only a watch list.

One 2025 running back prospect to watch in each conference

ACC: Omarion Hampton, North Carolina: With Drake Maye off to the NFL, look for North Carolina to count even more on running back Omarion Hampton. Last season, the All-American back accounted for 1,504 rushing yards and hauled in 29 passes. He also led the nation with 1,072 yards after contact.

2025 NFL Draft prospect Omarion Hampton
Omarion Hampton / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Big 10: TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State: If TreVeyon Henderson had entered the 2024 NFL Draft there is a good chance he would have been the first running back off the board. However, he returns to Ohio State and combines with Quinshon Judkins to give the Buckeyes one of the best backfields in college football.

Big 12: Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech: While Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon is the top running back in the Big 12, Texas Tech’s Tahj Brooks is not far behind. Brooks is a bigger back coming at 5-foot-10 and 230 pounds and does a terrific job of running behind his pads.

SEC: E.J. Smith, Texas A&M: A sleeper in the 2025 running back class is Texas A&M’s E.J. Smith. Smith who transferred to Texas A&M this offseason from Stanford is a powerful back who rarely goes down on first contact. If he can stay healthy this season look for him to move up teams draft boards.

Non-Power Four: Ashton Jeanty, Boise State: Boise State running back Ashton Jeanty has a good chance of being the top Group of Five player taken in the 2025 NFL Draft. As a sophomore Jeanty was named the 2023 Mountain West Coast Offensive Player of the Year, after accounting for 1,916 total yards. He was also Pro Football Focus's highest-graded running back in 2023.

2025 NFL Draft running back watch list

  • Jordan Fuller, Holy Cross
  • Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
  • Omarion Hampton, North Carolina
  • Quinshon Judkins, Ohio State
  • Jayden Ott, California
  • Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech
  • TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
  • Devin Neal, Kansas
  • Ashton Jeanty, Boise State
  • RJ Harvey, UCF
  • Damien Martinez, Miami
  • Donovan Edwards, Michigan
  • Trevor Etienne, Georgia
  • Trey Sanders, TCU
  • Jo'Quavious Marks, USC
  • Ayo Adeyi, James Madison
  • Makhi Hughes, Tulane
  • Nicholas Singleton, Penn State
  • Kaytron Allen, Penn State
  • Kyle Monangai, Rutgers
  • Leshon Williams, Iowa
  • Roman Hemby, Maryland
  • Devin Mockobee, Purdue
  • Chez Mellusi, Wisconsin
  • Quinton Cooley, Liberty
  • Terion Stewart, Bowling Green
  • Rashad Amos, Miami of Ohio in transfer portal
  • Antario Brown, Northern Illinois
  • Peny Boone, Louisville
  • Jacquez Stuart, Toledo
  • Jonah Coleman, Washington
  • Jordan James, Oregon
  • EJ Smith, Texas A&M
  • T.J. Harden, UCLA
  • Ja'Quinden Jackson, Arkansas
  • Micah Bernard, Utah
  • Nate Noel, Missouri
  • Kanye Roberts, Appalachian State
  • Ja'Quez Cross, Arkansas State
  • Jalen White, Georgia Southern
  • Kadarius Calloway, California
  • Ismail Mahdi, Texas State
  • Phil Mafah, Clemson
  • Jaquez Moore, Duke
  • Lawrance Toafili, Florida State
  • Jamal Haynes, Georgia Tech
  • LeQuint Allen, Syracuse
  • Bhayshul Tuten, Virginia Tech
  • Corey Kiner, Cincinnati
  • DJ Giddens, Kansas State
  • Gavin Sawchuk, Oklahoma
  • Cam'Ron Valdez, Texas Tech
  • Malik Sherrod, Fresno State
  • Jacory Croskey-Merritt, Arizona
  • Kairee Robinson, San Jose State
  • Davon Booth, Utah State in transfer portal
  • Rahsul Faison, Utah State
  • Harrison Waylee, Wyoming
  • Jarquez Hunter, Auburn
  • Montrell Johnson Jr., Florida
  • Logan Diggs, Ole Miss
  • Ulysses Bentley IV, Ole Miss
  • Dylan Sampson, Tennessee
  • Jamar Curtis, Lafayette
  • Sam Franklin, UT Martin
  • Shen Butler-Lawson, Minnesota State

2025 NFL Draft fullback watch list

  • Jackson Acker, Wisconsin
  • Brock Lampe, Northern Illinois
  • Stevo Klotz, Iowa State
  • Owen Burk, Air Force
  • Caleb Driskill, Wyoming
  • DeaMonte Trayanum, Kentucky