Saturday, July 20, 2013

Top 10 Returning Running Backs in college football

Part 2 of our countdown gives us the top 10 running backs heading into the 2013 season.  There were a ton of big-time ball carriers that have moved on to pro careers from 2012.  Some of the best to move on from last season include La'Veon Bell (MSU), Rex Burkhead (Nebraska), Eddie Lacy (Alabama), Montee Ball (Wisconsin), Gio Bernard (UNC), Stephon Jefferson (Nevada), Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina), and Jonathan Franklin (UCLA) among many others.

Who is next up in the elite group of running backs?  Here are 10 names that you'll need to know before the 2013 season kicks off.

10). Bishop Sankey, Washington - Sankey really came on in 2012, taking over for Chris Polk, the schools #2 all-time rusher.  The 5'10, 200 pound back ran for 1,439 yards and 16 TDs, including 205 in the Las Vegas Bowl against Boise State. 9)   Johnathan Gray, Texas - Gray is poised for a breakthrough 2013 after being eased into the role as a feature back in 2012.  The former blue chip recruit ran for 700 yards on 150 carries last season and could double those marks in 2013. 8).  Venric Mark, Northwestern - This is a guy that I love to watch run the ball.   A slippery back at 5'8, Mark posted 7 100+ yard games in 2012 for the 10 win Wildcats.  Mark has a great chance to better his 1,366 yards and make a run at a 1,500 yard season while challenging to be the Big Tens leading rusher. 7).  Duke Johnson, Miami (FL) - Randy "Duke" Johnson becomes the 2nd sophomore to make the list after an excellent rookie campaign for the U.  A blazing sub 4.4 runner, Johnson came up just short of a 1,000 yard freshman campaign and appears to be the cream of the crop when it comes to runners in the ACC this season. 6).  James White, Wisconsin - A big play running back, White will get a chance to shine in 2013 with no more Montee Ball in the Badger backfield.  White will still share carries with sophomore Melvin Gordon, but White has been shining despite rarely being "the" feature runner on his team, even in high school. 5).  Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona - Carey was the NCAA leader in rushing yards in 2012 with 1,939, highlighted by a 366 yard - 5 TD game against Colorado.  Carey is a very explosive runner that finds plenty of space in Rich Rod's offense.

4).  De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon - Another big play back, Thomas has only 147 carries his 1st 2 seasons but has been a huge threat in the Oregon passing game.  Always a threat to bust a big run, Thomas may be the most dangerous player in college football with his game-breaking ability. 

3)   Lache Seastrunk, Baylor - The Baylor Bears were the winners in the Oregon "recruiting services" scandal as they were able to land Seastrunk.   While not seeing a lot of action early on the 2012 season, the Baylor upset of Kansas State really sprung Lache onto the college football map. After gashing K-State for 185 yards, Seastrunk topped 135 yards in his final 3 games as well and found the endzone 5 times in his final 5 games.

2)  TJ Yeldon, Alabama - Yeldon is the next man up for Nick Saban's rushing attack.  After backing up Eddie Lacy in 2012 but still amassing 1108 yards, Yeldon should star in 2013 as a starter. 

1)   Todd Gurley, Georgia - Tailback U is back in Athens and Gurley is our #1 returning running back  in 2013.  With great vision, cutting ability, and power, Gurley is a guy that is deadly as a ball carrier. As a true freshman in the SEC last year, Gurley ran for 1,385 yards including 9 100+ yard games and 17 TDs.

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