National Signing Day 2013: Running Backs Who Will Provide Immediate Impact

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

RB Derrick Green (Photo courtesy of
RB Derrick Green (Photo courtesy of

Plenty of schools were able to immediately upgrade at the running back position on college football's National Signing Day.

The college football recruiting picture came into much greater focus as players officially signed their letters of intent.

While most recruits will sit on the bench behind more experienced players for a season or two, there are plenty who are walking into very good situations in terms of playing time.

Here are three incoming freshmen running backs who can provide an immediate spark for their new schools.


Kelvin Taylor, Florida Gators

If Kelvin Taylor is even half the running back that his dad, Fred, was then he'll have a very productive college and pro career. 247Sports has Taylor ranked as the second-best running back and 22nd-best player overall in the 2013 class.

With Mike Gillislee graduating, there's a hole in the Florida Gators backfield. Although freshman Matt Jones will likely get the majority of carries next year, there's still space for Taylor to make a significant contribution.

Taylor doesn't have top-end speed or athleticism, but he's very powerful. Once he gets going, it's hard to bring him down.

Plus, he's been able to learn some of the best tricks of the trade from his father. That's an advantage over every other running back in the class.


Derrick Green, Michigan Wolverines

Much like Taylor, Derrick Green benefits from his school's leading rusher graduating. While Denard Robinson was a quarterback, he no doubt took carries away from junior Fitzgerald Toussaint.

Toussaint projects as the starter in 2013, but as the No. 4 running back in the country (h/t 247Sports), Green can step in right away and be a threat in the backfield.

At 6'0" and 220 lbs., Green is much better running in between the tackles. He is a very strong back who can shrug off tacklers.

He's not the fastest back in the class, but if you can break a couple of tackles, it doesn't matter how fast you are, you're going to break for some big runs. Physically, Green is more than ready to run at FBS defenses.


Craig Lee, UCLA Bruins

National Signing Day wasn't exactly a banner event for Craig Lee. As Edward Lewis of Bruins Sports Report tweeted:

Should Lee make his way to Los Angeles, he can be an instant hit in the UCLA Bruins backfield. Jonathan Franklin is graduating, and junior Damien Thigpen will be coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which he suffered against the USC Trojans.

Lee is a much more compact back, at 6'0" and 190 lbs. He has the speed and athleticism to elude defenders in the open field. Despite that size, Lee can be counted upon to run the ball on almost every down.