Devy Transfer Report- Running Backs – 2021

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Devy offseason is the best season! The transfer portal is particularly loaded with talent this year, which featured of some high profile devy running backs finding new homes

The 2020 rookie running back class was historically good. This past college season produced another stellar draft class for 2021, featuring three prime running back prospects in Travis Etienne, Najee Harris and Javonte Williams. The 2022 rookie class does not project to have that type of star power coming out of the backfield (besides Breece Hall and Isaiah Spiller).

Given the current class projections for 2022, some familiar faces in new places will have great opportunities to dramatically improve their draft stock. This article breaks down how four major running back prospects- Eric Gray, Keaontay Ingram, Demarkus Bowman and Zach Charbonnet– fit into their new programs and what kind of competition they will face for touches.

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#1 Devy Running Back Transfer- Eric Gray, Oklahoma (5’10”, 205 lbs)

Snapshot of Gray’s New Situation:

  • RB departing Oklahoma (2020 numbers):
  • Best competition @ Oklahoma (2020 numbers): 
    • Seth McGowan– 58 carries, 13 catches, 571 scrimmage yards, 4 TDs
    • Marcus Major– 35 carries, 2 catches, 216 scrimmage yards, 2 TDs

Breaking it down:

Eric Gray is one of many talented players finding their way out of Knoxville. The junior running back was a bit of wasted talent in the struggling Vols program. The 4-star recruit gets a major boost by going to a top notch offense in Norman. 

There are a lot of open carries with Rhamondre Stevenson leaving for the draft and T.J. Pledger transferring to Utah. It’s still a crowded RB room loaded with talent (McGowan, Brooks, etc.), but Gray should stand out from the crowd and contend for a large opportunity share. 

Gray is a quick, tough runner who should be an ideal fit as the Sooners’ early down back, which complements McGowan’s dynamic speed to form a formidable running back duo. The biggest obstacle to Gray’s success is Kennedy Brooks, who has been a mainstay in the Oklahoma backfield since arriving on campus in 2018. 

If Gray commands a large RB opportunity share at Oklahoma, the Memphis native will put up huge numbers and could get his draft stock to high as a Day 2 selection. There’s definitely some risk with acquiring Gray with so much talent in the Oklahoma backfield, but it’s worth a gamble as the return could be huge, given his ceiling.

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#2 Devy Running Back Transfer- Keaontay Ingram, USC (6’0”, 222 lbs)

Snapshot of Ingram’s New Situation:

Breaking it down:

Keaontay Ingram was a very productive, talented back in his 3 years with the Longhorns. Overshadowed in his junior season by a generational talent in Bijan Robinson, the 4-star recruit from Carthage, TX decided to leave Texas and found himself in sunny LA with the Trojans.

The word “good” cannot be seriously used to describe the USC RB depth and talent, so Ingram should have an immediate opportunity to start in that Air Raid offense. The newest Trojan is a big, strong back with surprisingly solid lateral movement and great hands. At his size, it’s not surprising that he breaks tackles easily, but he’s also pretty successful at making defenders miss.

His receiving skills will be on full display for in the USC offense, which is something very attractive to NFL scouts and devy players. His size, athleticism, receiving ability and solid college production adds up to a pretty solid NFL draft profile. 

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#3 Devy Running Back Transfer- Demarkcus Bowman, Florida (5’10”, 190 lbs)

  • Previous Home: Clemson
  • Numbers: 5,172 rushing yards, 11.2 yards per carry, 70 TDs in 3 seasons at Lakeland High School in Lakeland, FL
  • Todd’s Devy Superflex Ranking: #19, Overall #50

Snapshot of Bowman’s New Situation:

  • Departing RB @ Florida: 
    • None
  • Best competition @ Florida: 
    • Dameon Pierce– 106 carries, 17 catches, 659 scrimmage yards, 5 TDs in 12 games
    • Malik Davis– 66 carries, 31 catches, 687 scrimmage yards, 0 TDs in 12 games
    • Nay’quan Wright- 54 carries, 19 catches, 432 scrimmage yards, 2 TDs in 11 games
    • Lorenzo Lingard: 5 carries for 32 rushing yards; 5-star recruit in 2018; Miami transfer

Breaking it down:

Florida has landed plenty of big-time transfers in recent seasons. Though 2021 is a special year for the Gators as they nabbed Demarkus Bowman out of the portal. Prior to transferring to Florida, Bowman almost came to Gainsville straight out of high school before landing with Clemson for a year. The highly-regarded recruit only had 9 carries for 32 yards in 2 games with the Tigers.

Bowman is a Florida native who is a 5-star prospect with unreal burst and elite speed. If he finds a crease at the second level, Bowman is a threat to break one every single time. However, the stud transfer is not walking into a definite starting role, as The Swamp is loaded with RB talent. It’s hard to imagine Bowman not finding a role though, given how fast and dynamic he is. Invest now before he becomes too expensive. This devy running back could be a stud preview for the 2022 devy season by this time next year.

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#4 Devy Running Back Transfer- Zach Charbonnet, UCLA (6’1”, 220 lbs)

Snapshot of Charbonnet’s New Situation:

  • Departing RB @ UCLA:
    • Demetric Felton– 132 carries, 22 catches, 827 scrimmage yards, 8 TDs in 6 games
  • Best competition @ UCLA: 
    • Brittain Brown– 82 carries, 6 catches, 627 scrimmage yards, 5 TDs in 7 games
    • Deshun Murrell: 3-star recruit; #24 RB in 247Sports Composite rankings

Breaking it down

Zach Charbonnet’s time in Ann Arbor was certainly a tale of two significantly different seasons! After a breaking out as a true freshman, the 4-star recruit looked destined to be one of the better backs in the 2022 RB class. On his way to over 750 scrimmage yards and 11 TDs in his rookie campaign, the big, bruising back displayed outstanding contact balance and surprisingly solid speed.

Then the Michigan football program fell apart in 2020. With only 19 carries in 5 games, Charbonnet made the wise decision to transfer out of that mess. The Westlake Village, CA native grew up right outside of LA and will look for a fresh start at UCLA.

The ultra-athletic Demetric Felton is moving on to the NFL Draft, which leaves the starting RB position WIDE open. Charbonnet looks like an early favorite for the starting gig. Given his promising outlook, Charbonnet is a solid buy-low candidate especially if you still believe he is a NFL talent.

Value Plays

These two running backs also have new homes and will have a chance at solid-to-great college production/usage in 2021. Both of these players are outside of Todd’s 2021 Devy rankings, but are solid buy low targets in your C2C leagues.

Re’Mahn Davis, Vandy (Previously at Temple)

Temple might have been a better place to stay. Davis was a star in Philly and Vandy is not the best football program. Therefore, the newest Commodore might struggle in the most challenging conference in football. The 5-foot-9, 210 lbs bruising back should get the opportunity to start, but those SEC defenses will be FIERCE. His NFL ceiling is murky at best. Davis could be a great buy in C2C as a devy running back who could at least produce on the college level.

Ty Chandler, UNC (Previously at Tennessee)

Ty Chandler‘s arrival comes at the PERFECT time for the Tar Heels, who are losing two stud running backs to the 2021 NFL draft. Chandler decided to use a 5th year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic-plagued 2020 season. He was very productive in his four years at Tennessee and gives UNC a dynamic, versatile weapon out of the backfield. Chandler should contend for a large share of the RB opportunity at Chapel Hill in 2021. This devy running back is by far cheapest of option from this group, which could produce great value.

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