UCLA Running Back Depth Chart
Chip Kelly has become known for many things in his tenure of coaching both pro and college football. His national reputation really took hold when he built up the Oregon program into a national power during his time there. Then he embarked on the NFL flashing his potential in Philly in his first 2 seasons at the helm for the Eagles (20 wins to 12 losses), before flaming out with the franchise and then adding one tumultuous season with the 49ers in 2016. To now his current coaching spot at UCLA where he struggled his first 3 seasons but has turned the corner coming off an 8-win year that could have been 9 had the Bruins played a bowl game (9 wins would have been 1 off the program record of 10 that has been done numerous times throughout history, most recently being in 2014 with Jim Mora).
The one thing he is known for specifically though? Revolutionizing the run game in college football. Don’t believe me? I’ll let this 247sports article with ESPN analyst David Pollack explain in detail how much he did (https://247sports.com/Article/Chip-Kelly-UCLA-coach-revolutionizing-offense-college-football-again-Bruins-Fresno-State-David-Pollack-171219961/).
Coinciding with Chip’s expertise in that area, the Running Back position at UCLA has been one of the most stable positions within the program over the past 2 decades with 8 players since 1998 getting drafted to go to the league to play tailback.
This season’s RB room starts with the guy nicknamed “The Terminator” who decided to hold off drooling NFL scouts for one more season to return to UCLA. If you don’t already, get to know the name, Zach Charbonnet.
All bias aside, he is the most special talent this program has had at the position since Maurice Jones-Drew. In his first year in the offense, Charbonnet went off for nearly 1,200 yards and 13 TDs while having carries regularly taken from him by Brittain Brown and DTR. His size (6 foot 1, 220!), quickness, and toughness (first in the PAC-12 in 2021 in forced missed tackles with 69 per PFF) make Bruin fans think if all goes well, The Doak Walker Award might be in consideration.
After Charbonnet however, leaves the major question: Who is #2 on the depth chart? Keegan Jones has the most active carries on the roster behind Charbonnet in a Bruins uniform at 41 but has struggled to show consistency and burst needed to keep the high tempo in Chip’s offense.
Christian Grubb is certainly a name to watch as the local Tarzana product is an upperclassman as well, but the name that has time and time again come up for the backup spot is Deshun Murrell. Murrell, a commitment from 2020, has taken UCLA by storm this spring by having serious flashes in practice running the ball and even kick returning at times. Murrell was an explosive back out of Brent, Alabama who had an insane senior season in 2020 going for 2,334 yards and 37 TDs his senior year (!!!), and chose the Bruins over a slew of other D1 programs. You may also see him rocking a cowboy hat from time to time as his social media profiles show him. He may be in the big city, but he can’t leave the south behind. Murrell is my pick for RB2…who is yours?