2010-2011 NCAA College Prospects: Running Backs

Author's Note: Last year, before I became a Front Page Author, I posted a few pieces on the top college prospects at the very beginning of the college football season for '09-'10. This year, I wanted to do something similar but start it a bit earlier. There are roughly 22 positions (11 on each side of the ball) to focus on. Each week, leading up to the very first NCAA Football Game for the '10-'11 Season, I will take a look at one of the positions. Once I have finished reviewing every position, I will then start creating official college football discussion threads as a FanPost for those that care to talk about college football... or learn more for that matter; I know there were several people that benefited and learned quite a bit more about who was going to be entering the league this year. Each position will vary in the amount of players I cover. Number of players per position will range anywhere from 10-20 of the top prospects. I will be ranking them as to where I think they will be slotted in next years draft should they all enter. Mind you, these are just my opinions, but I feel that the rankings are going to be pretty close to the opinions of the rest of the Nation. I haven't seen any preseason player rankings yet, so it should be interesting to compare to once they come out.

Last week, we had a look at some of the top ranked quarterbacks potentially coming out in next years draft.  This week we will be taking an in-depth look at next years potential running back class which seems to be a bit deeper than this years 2009-2010 class.

C.J. Spiller was the very first running back to be picked in this years draft going 9th overall to the Buffalo Bills. The Bills had plenty of holes on their team and the pick was a bit questionable. Ryan Mathews was the next running back to come off the board to the San Diego Chargers who moved all the way up to the 12th pick to get him. And the last running back to go in the first round was Jahvid Best in which the Lions moved up out of the 2nd Round to get with the 30th pick overall. Two of the first three running backs are considered to be change-of-pace backs which is becoming more and more of a trend in the NFL. However, should all the prospects I list below come out (some of them early), then we shouldn't see that trend as much in the first round of the 2011 Draft. There are a few possibilities but the true running backs next year look to be very solid potentially. After that though, there are a plethora of change-of-pace backs.

The running back position has become less of a commodity mainly due to two factors. The first factor and potentially the biggest is the short shelf life. The average career for a starting running back in the NFL is around six years. The second factor and almost equally significant is the ridiculous amount of talent at the position each and every year. There is always someone waiting in line to take someone else's job. There is even a possible third factor in that the NFL has trended more toward the pass in recent years.

Join me after the jump, we'll take a look at the top 15 NCAA Running Backs...

1. MARK INGRAM | 5'10", 212 LBS. | UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA- I don't think that there is much disagreement in that Ingram is hands down the best running back in college football right now. Although Ryan Williams is a close second place to him. If there was no Mark Ingram playing for the Crimson Tide last year, it's hard to picture them winning the National Championship. He was the heart and sole of the Alabama Offense. Mel Kiper Jr. has even gone as far to compare Ingram to the former NFL great Emmitt Smith. Now, that comparison may be a bit courageous, but I can see the resemblance. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2008 143 728 5.1 40 12 7 54 7.7 27 0 0 0
2009 271 1658 6.1 70 17 32 334 10.4 69 3 0 0

 

2. RYAN WILLIAMS | 5'10", 206 LBS. | VIRGINIA TECH UNIVERSITY- Ryan Williams had the best year, as a freshman, out of any other running back in college football last year. He was nearly unstoppable. There has been wide speculation that he will leave college next year very early, much like LeSean McCoy did. And if he repeats the success he had as a freshman this year, then I fully expect him to enter the NFL Draft in 2011. As mentioned above, the career span is short for NFL running backs typically and Williams will need to capitalize as soon as he can. He, in my opinion, could end up surpassing Mark Ingram for consideration as the number one running back if he helps his team to one of the bigger bowl games next season. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2009 293 1655 5.6 66 21 16 180 11.3 43 1 0 0

 

3. EVAN ROYSTER | 6'1", 209 LBS. | PENN STATE UNIVERSITY- Many thought that Royster would enter the draft after his season last year but he decided to stay one more year. Whether that was the right or wrong decision is yet to be seen. Royster has everything that you would want in a running back. He has speed, moves, can catch out of the backfield, and most importantly plays the game intelligently. Royster is without question a top three running back. If he has another great year, he could be selected in the first round without question. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2007 82 513 6.3 38 5 3 18 6.0 16 0 0 0
2008 191 1236 6.5 44 12 17 155 9.1 23 0 0 0
2009 205 1169 5.7 69 6 16 187 11.7 49 2 0 0

 

4. DANIEL THOMAS | 6'2", 227 LBS. | KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY- Thomas is a big, physical runner that is rarely denied yards. As big as he is, he certainly doesn't lack the ability to make people miss as well. He faced some pretty good defenses in the Big 12 last year and did relatively well against them. He was nothing short of spectacular playing JUCO ball as well. His game should translate decently in to the NFL. Thomas will definitely be a player worth keeping an eye on next year if you are new to college football. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2009 247 1265 5.1 40 11 25 257 10.3 52 0 0 0

 

5. JOHN CLAY | 6'2", 247 LBS. | UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN- Monster, Beast, Animal, are all words that are used way too often in the sports world. Well in this case, John Clay encompasses all three. Cliche or not, Clay is just relentless and inflicts his will against opposing defenses. Some people feel that he would be better suited as a fullback in the NFL but it would be a disgrace and injustice against his skill-set. He is fully capable of being an every-down feature back type of guy at any level. He is going to leave a lot of people with their jaws on the ground next year. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2008 155 884 5.7 46 9 1 2 2.0 2 0 0 0
2009 287 1517 5.3 72 18 9 61 6.8 11 0 0 0

 

6. NOEL DEVINE | 5'8", 180 LBS. | WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY- Devine could be the very first change-of-pace running back to be drafted next year. He needs to have another solid season. Some people thought that he may come out in this years draft but he decided to stay one more year to help the Mountaineers reach one of the more prestigious bowl games. Devine has a unique skill-set and is extremely elusive. He can stop on a dime and make people look silly. His ability to help on special teams will bring high value when he is selected in next years NFL Draft. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2007 73 627 8.6 76 6 7 90 12.9 34 0 0 0
2008 206 1289 6.3 92 4 35 187 5.3 17 0 0 0
2009 241 1465 6.1 88 13 22 177 8.0 20 1 0 0

 

7. DANIEL HERRON | 5'10", 200 LBS. | OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY- Herron could leap-frog his way in to the top 5 potentially. The Buckeyes Running Back is a dynamic, make 'em miss, type of player. He is exciting and fun to watch and will have Buckeye fans across the nation on their feet this year. He can catch out of the back field as well. Herron will be a player I keep a closer eye on in the upcoming season. He is a player that in my opinion is flying a bit below the radar. If he continues to do so, he could very well be a steal in next years draft. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2008 89 439 4.9 49 6 6 29 4.8 12 0 0 0
2009 153 600 3.9 53 7 11 66 6.0 19 1 0 0

 

8. MONTEL HARRIS | 5'10" 192 LBS. | BOSTON COLLEGE UNIVERSITY- Harris is much like Herron, an elusive, quick, speedy running back. The trend in the NFL has been heading toward rostering multiple running backs all with different skill-sets. Certainly Harris' tangible attributes are intriguing. He is easily the top weapon on offense for Boston College right now. Opposing defensive coordinators will indefinitely have their hands full each week with #2.  NO HIGHLIGHTS AVAILABLE.

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2008 179 900 5.0 47 5 20 160 8.0 51 1 0 0
2009 308 1457 4.7 70 14 8 69 8.6 36 1 0 0

 

9. ROBERT TURBIN | 5'10", 205 LBS. | UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY- Turbin is a small school guy with big game ability. Outside of the top 5 prospects, there is a bunch of shifty, quick prospects. Even though Turbin plays for a smaller school, I believe he has enough talent to warrant some attention next year. Sometimes it's unfortunate that players like this are forced to go to the smaller schools and not get as much recognition, but that's just the way it works out sometimes. Some NFL Teams by season end will have their sights set on Turbin though. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2007 3 17 5.7 12 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2008 106 485 4.6 49 8 20 256 12.8 29 2 0 0
2009 207 1296 6.3 96 13 30 418 13.9 77 5 0 0

 

10. SHANE VEREEN | 5'10", 200 LBS. | UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA- Unfortunately for Vereen, he had to play behind a guy like Jahvid Best. He will finally have his chance to shine this season... and shine he will. Vereen could very well be slotted higher than this once it's all said and done. Vereen is a lethal weapon out of the back field. He may not have the speed of a C.J. Spiller or Chris Johnson, but his style of play is much like theirs. He catches like a receiver out of the back field and also has special teams ability. But his main value is going to be through the run game. (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2008 142 715 5.0 81 4 27 221 8.2 59 1 0 0
2009 183 952 5.2 61 12 25 244 9.8 21 2 0 0

 

11. DEMARCO MURRAY | 6'1" 215 LBS. | UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA- (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2007 127 764 6.0 92 13 14 60 4.3 25 0 0 0
2008 179 1002 5.6 70 14 31 395 12.7 34 4 0 0
2009 171 705 4.1 38 8 41 522 12.7 67 4 0 0

 

12. DONALD BUCKRAM | 5'10", 195 LBS. | UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS EL PASO- (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2006 21 76 3.6 17 0 12 218 18.2 80 1 0 0
2007 14 64 4.6 18 0 2 18 9.0 9 0 0 0
2008 75 348 4.6 22 2 15 199 13.3 38 0 0 0
2009 259 1594 6.2 52 18 30 453 15.1 72 3 0 0

 

13. JACQUIZZ RODGERS | 5'7", 195 LBS. | OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY- (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2008 259 1253 4.8 33 11 29 247 8.5 41 1 0 0
2009 273 1440 5.3 61 21 78 522 6.7 48 1 0 0

 

14. ROY HELU | 6'0", 215 LBS. | UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA- (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2007 45 209 4.6 24 0 5 40 8.0 21 0 0 0
2008 125 803 6.4 57 7 25 266 10.6 27 0 0 0
2009 220 1147 5.2 63 9 19 149 7.8 27 0 0 0

 

15. ANTHONY ALLEN | 6'1", 228 LBS. | GEORGIA TECH UNIVERSITY- (((CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS)))

Stats Overview Rushing Receiving Fumbles
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2006 96 406 4.2 20 13 4 48 12.0 24 1 0 0
2007 146 696 4.8 48 7 21 153 7.3 26 2 0 0
2009 64 618 9.7 82 6 5 112 22.4 31 1 0 0

 

NOTE: These rankings are preseason rankings. They should be taken with a grain of salt. Obviously opinions will differ on some of these rankings, but until the 2010-2011 season is close to winding down, we won't really know where any of these players stand for sure. And even after that potentially. Feel free to post your thoughts on your favorite NCAA Running Backs.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Niners Nation

You must be a member of Niners Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Niners Nation. You should read them.

Join Niners Nation

You must be a member of Niners Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Niners Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker