From all corners of the nation, young football players hope to carry their dreams all the way to the NFL. Starting Thursday in Week 1 of the 2021 season, 32 will get to do just that as starting running backs.
Najee Harris of the Steelers and Antioch (Calif.)
is the lone rookie in the group. Other young, hungry backs looking to prove themselves at the highest level include Myles Gaskin (Dolphins), Damien Harris (Patriots) and James Robinson (Jaguars).
Veterans include Derrick Henry (Titans), Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys) and Leonard Fournette (Buccaneers). Missouri product Elliott and Louisiana's Fournette will square off in Thursday's opener.
We outline the prep roots of all 32 projected starters in the graphic below. Nearly half of them prepped in three states: Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania. In all, 17 states are represented.