10. Rueben Owens – Texas A&M
2022 Stats: Five-Star recruit in the class of 2023
This feels like a perfect storm for Rueben Owens to be one of the biggest impact freshman in the SEC this season. A&M is tasked with replacing arguably their best offensive player from a year ago in Devon Achane, while Owens comes in as one of the top RB’s from the class of 2023 (near-consensus top 3 RB in the class (ranked fourth by ESPN, but top three by all the other major services) and a top 30 player overall).
Replacing the explosive Achane will not be easy. He had 196 carries a year ago, while no other Aggie had more than 36. However, that shows that 1. A&M is fine just having one RB who dominates the carries, and 2. that there is not as much returning talent at RB in College Station as there are for other teams, thus opening up the door for Owens to come in and be the guy from the get-go.
9. Jo’quavious Marks – Mississippi State
2022 Stats: 113 carries, 582 rushing yards, 48 receptions, 288 receiving yards, 9 total TD’s
Jo’quavious Marks is arguably the best pass-catching running-back in SEC football, coming off of a year in which he brought in 48 catches (had a whopping 83 in 2021). In fact, Marks has 191 career receptions (putting him 19th on the all-time SEC receptions list heading into the season…as a RB). Marks is no slouch carrying the ball either, averaging 5.2 yards per carry in 2022. Marks has career numbers of 289 carries, 1,310 rushing yards, 191 receptions, 1,058 receiving yards, and 21 total TD’s. Marks and Mississippi State QB Will Rogers will be two of the key pieces for Mississippi State this season.
Something to watch for Marks will be a new offensive system for Mississippi State this season. The Bulldogs will have a more pro-style offense, which will likely mean more carries and less receptions for the RB’s. The question for Marks is whether he can still be as effective in the new offense. I definitely believe he can, although it will be interesting to see exactly what his stat-line will look like in 2023.