Rueben Owens ll of El Campo (Texas) joins Deshaun Watson (2012), Trevor Lawrence (2016), Bryce Young (2018) and Travis Hunter (2020) as players to earn MaxPreps National Junior Player of the Year honors. Owens joins the list after leading the state of Texas in rushing with 2,989 yards and finished with the sixth-most nationally. The five-star running back tied for the fourth-most rushing scores with 46 and added 15 receptions for 252 yards and two touchdowns.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back led the Ricebirds to an 11-2 record and to the third round of the UIL 4A Division 1 playoffs. Owens finished his junior season averaging 12.1 yards per carry and 229.9 yards rushing a game. He checks in as the second-rated running back in the Class of 2023 on 247Sports composite rankings and third-rated player in Texas.
After rushing for nearly 1,000 yards during his freshman season he has racked up 4,500 yards on the ground over his last two years to go with 68 touchdowns while averaging 11.6 yards per carry and 187.5 yards rushing a game. He has added 20 receptions for 366 yards and three scores.
Owens joins former Aledo (Texas) standout Johnathan Gray and Zach Evans of North Shore (Houston) as the only running backs to take home the National Junior of the Year honor. He is the fifth player from the Lone Star State and first since 2018 when Evans split it with Alabama’s Bryce Young.
Past MaxPreps National Junior Players of the Year
2009 — Christian LeMay, QB, Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
2010 — Johnathan Gray, RB, Aledo (Texas)
2011 — Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)
2012 — Deshaun Watson, QB, Gainesville (Ga.)
2013 — Jake Browning, QB, Folsom (Calif.)
2014 — Tren’Davian Dickson, WR, Navasota (Texas)
2015 — Sam Ehlinger, QB, Westlake (Austin, Texas)
2016 — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Cartersville (Ga.)
2017 — JT Daniels, QB, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2018 — Bryce Young, QB, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) / Zach Evans, RB, North Shore (Houston)
2019 — Emeka Egbuka, WR, Steilacoom (Wash.)
2020 — Travis Hunter, CB/WR, Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.)