Rivals Rankings Week: Updated 2021 RB rankings

Rivals continues to roll out its updated rankings for the 2021 class and our focus turns to the running back position.

Below is a brief overview of the biggest storylines coming out of the latest update.

2021 Rankings: Running backs | All-purpose backs

RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK SCHEDULE:

Monday: Five-Star Countdown

Tuesday: New Rivals250 | Mind of Mike: Farrell’s thoughts

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Big movers | Hot teams

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: State rankings released

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

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TEAMS WITH TOP COMMITS – Clemson, Ohio State

There’s no surprise here that two of the best teams nationally are also doing well with running back pledges.

Clemson landed the No. 1 all-purpose back in the 2021 class in Will Shipley out of Matthews (N.C.) Weddington in May and he could have an electric career with the Tigers. Shipley is super fast and elusive and should provide yet another major problem in Clemson’s offense. The Tigers also have a commitment from Loganville (Ga.) Grayson running back Phil Mafah, who made a healthy jump in the position rankings in this latest release.

Ohio State is also doing pretty well recruiting running backs – really well. TreVeyon Henderson is ranked as the fourth-best running back in the class, he has special abilities and should fit perfectly in Ohio State’s offense. The Buckeyes also have a commitment from the second-best all-purpose back in Evan Pryor out of Cornelius (N.C.) Hough.

TEAMS TO WATCH – Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Michigan

Camar Wheaton

Camar Wheaton (Rivals.com)

The top three running backs in the 2021 class remain uncommitted heading into the early signing period and that’s definitely rare this late in the recruiting cycle. It should shape up for an interesting finish for all three.

Five-star Camar Wheaton from Garland (Texas) Lakeview Centennial has Oklahoma out in front but Alabama is battling and LSU rounds out his top three. Cypress (Texas) Fairbanks’ LJ Johnson has Texas and Texas A&M on top as an in-state battle continues to rage. The Aggies might have a slight edge but the Texas coaching situation will make things interesting.

The No. 3 running back nationally is Donovan Edwards and the West Bloomfield, Mich., standout is waged in a toss-up between Michigan and Georgia as signing day gets closer.

PLAYER TO WATCH – L.J. Johnson

Johnson has moved up to one ranking level below five-star status as the Cy-Fair running back has totaled more than 1,000 yards with 16 touchdowns this season and could make a claim as the nation’s best running back.

His recruitment could also take some interesting twists and turns before he makes his final decision. Texas, Texas A&M, LSU and Oklahoma are the four favorites for Johnson but this looks like more of an in-state battle especially if the Sooners land Wheaton at some point.

That’s where it gets even more interesting since Texas could be searching for a new coach soon (the top target is Urban Meyer if he wants to get back into coaching) and then there is Texas A&M. The Aggies are playing really well, they’re in striking distance of the College Football Playoff and he lives about an hour from campus.

Johnson’s recruitment could get really intriguing soon – and he could be the mainstay running back in College Station, Austin or another top locale for years to come.