Oregon's running back room named one of the best in the nation by On3

On3 imageby:Jarrid Denney05/10/23


Oregon’s running back room features as much talent as it has at any point in recent memory.

With three stellar returning ball carriers from last year’s squad, as well as a pair of 4-star signees from the ’23 class, offensive coordinator and running backs coach Carlos Locklyn boasts a deep, versatile group.

Earlier this week, On3 Jesse Simonton published his list of the top 10 running back rooms in the nation.

Oregon’s group landed at No. 8 on the list and was the lone Pac-12 team listed.

Here’s the rundown from Simonton:

“The Ducks return the top tailback in the Pac-12 this season in Bucky Irving, the former Minnesota transfer who had over 1,000 yards and five touchdowns on 6.78 yards per carry in 2022. Backup Noah Whittingham is no slouch, either, chipping in close to 800 yards with five scores. Former 4-star recruit Jordan James is eying more carries in his sophomore season, too.”

Irving and Whittington figure to form one of the better 1-2 punches in the nation and are both expected to see plenty of toches for Oregon, as was the case last season.

“For me, with those two, I’m pressing on them more to become leaders,” Locklyn said in April. “The football part, I’m gonna help them take care of that. I’m gonna have them on that. But the biggest part is helping them become better leaders and showing the young guys the standard and what the standard is. Those two — we’re happy to have them, it’s a blessing to have them. They are very talented kids. I think we’re gonna see some things out of both of them that we didn’t last year. They’re capable of doing a lot of things.”

James arguably had the best spring of any Oregon running back.

The sophomore thrived in a short-yardage role last season but could be ready for an increased role during his second season with the program.

“Jordan is a very talented young man,” Locklyn said. “He has all the tools to be not only a good back but a great back. I tell Jordan all the time, as he continues to improve off the field, his game will continue to improve on the field.”

Oregon could also lean on Dowdell and Limar, both of whom had strong showings during spring ball. Dowdell, in particular, shone during Oregon’s April 29 spring game.

The freshman ran for 36 yards on seven carries and had the longest run of the day — a 13-yard gain that featured multiple broken tackles.

Simonton tabbed Michigan’s running back room as the best in the nation.

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