Oregon had one of the most exciting running backs in college football last season.

Bucky Irving was a nightmare for opposing defenders to bring down, bouncing off tackles and finding the exact right cutback lane to turn 4-yard runs into 20-yard runs and constantly producing when his number was called. He finished third among Pac-12 players in rushing yardage and fourth among qualified Pac-12 players in rushing efficiency.

And he’ll be back for more in 2023.

Pro Football Focus’ Max Chadwick recently ranked Irving among his 10 best returning running backs in college football. Irving was slotted at No. 4, with Chadwick writing the following on his game:

Irving was one of the most electric backs in the country this past year. The sophomore forced a missed tackle on 43% of his attempts, which ranked second in the country. It was also the fifth-best single-season mark in the PFF college era. 

The only thing holding Irving back from being as high as second on this list is his workload. The Minnesota transfer’s 157 attempts were tied for 67th in the nation and were only 17 more than teammate Noah Whittington. With Whittington also returning, Oregon will likely once again employ a committee approach to its backfield next season.

Despite the backfield timeshare — which also saw him yield short-yardage attempts and touchdowns to Jordan James — Irving still produced a 1,000-yard rushing campaign. It was the fifth consecutive full season in which Oregon saw a running back top 1,000 rushing yards.

Irving closed out the year with the sixth-best rushing grade (from PFF) of any running back in America. His 93.4 rushing grade was the best by an Oregon back since PFF started grading college players in 2014.

And Irving was the only running back from the Pac-12 inside PFF’s top 10 returners. Here’s what the rest of Chadwick’s list looked like:

  1. Blake Corum, Michigan
  2. Quinshon Judkins, Ole Miss
  3. Raheim Sanders, Arkansas
  4. Bucky Irving, Oregon
  5. Braelon Allen, Wisconsin
  6. Trey Binson, Florida State
  7. Nicholas Singleton, Penn State
  8. Miyan Williams, Ohio State
  9. Donovan Edwards, Michigan
  10. Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss