When it comes to the running back position in college football, expect the unexpected. It’s remarkable to see that the top eight leading rushers from the 2013 season all left for greener pastures into the NFL. However, 2014’s crop of running backs, might be even better than last seasons. Simply put, most of the best running backs from 2013 had to return for another year.
We have some familiar names that should be on everybody’s watch list. There are also some freshman that will take the nation by storm from day one. The leading returning rusher is Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, and he finished the season with 1690 yards.
With the advent of the spread offense, running backs have become an afterthought during the winning process. However, when it comes to winning time, you’ll see the best teams have a dominant running game. Some teams do it by committee, while others use one or two big time studs.
In similar fashion to last year, the SEC has a plethora of quality running backs. The season turned out a bit disappointing for the sophomores, but after sustaining injuries, look for the same names to be vying for Heisman consideration.
Entering last season, T.J. Yeldon was battling Toddy Gurley for conference supremacy. While Yeldon was held out of games for various reasons, Gurley dealt with injuries, while carrying the Georgia Bulldogs, during limited playing time.
By the time we start the season, Yeldon may no longer be the starter for Alabama. Yet, he still will probably go for over 1000 yards. The emergence of Derrick Henry and breaking in a new quarterback at Alabama will put even more emphasis on the running game.
Hands down, the preseason freshman of the year has to be Leonard Fournette. His arrival can change the fortunes of LSU football immediately. He’s expected to be that good from the opening kick.
The explosive running back in college football may reside in Wisconsin. Melvin Gordon is a homerun threat from multiple positions. He will finally get his chance to start as the No.1 guy for the Badgers.
Leonard Fournette is touted to be the next great running back in college football. Did he run Jeremy Hill into the NFL? I wouldn’t be surprised to find Fournette playing some linebacker as the season went on too. He’s that good of a football player. Fournette has size and speed, now we’re just waiting to see him do it on the SEC level.
Here’s a list of some of the game’s greatest running backs in 2014