There has been some major discussion not only through this site but also between myself and Randle “el” about who the marquee running backs are in the upcoming college football season. Off the top of my head I claimed that there were three names that will get attention and one that definitely should be: Chris “Beanie Wells of The Ohio State University, Knowshon Moreno of Georgia, Noel Devine of West Virginia, and LeSean McCoy of Pitt. Looking at last year the big names you may have been familiar with moved on for a chance to play on Sunday leaving a number of underclassmen to fill some big shoes. Let’s quickly run down the players leaving from the top 10 rushing leaders of the 2007 season and where they will be playing in the fall.
1. Kevin Smith out of Central Florida: 450 Car 2567 YDS: RD 3 Pick 64 : Detroit Lions
2. Matt Forte out of Tulane: 361 Car 2127 YDS: RD 2 Pick 44 Chicago Bears
3. Ray Rice out of Rutgers: 380 Car for 2012 YDS : RD 2 Pick 55 Baltimore Ravens
4. Darren McFadden out of Arkansas: 325 Car 1830 YDS: RD 1 Pick 4 Oakland Raiders
5. Jonathan Stewart out of Oregon: 280 Car 1722 YDS: RD 1 Pick 13 Carolina Panthers
6. Rashard Mendenhall out of Illinois: 262 Car 1681 YDS: RD 1 Pick 23 Pittsburgh Steelers
8. Jamaal Charles out of Texas: 258 Car 1619 YDS: RD 3 Pick 73: Kansas City Chiefs
10. Anthony Alridge out of Houston: 259 Car 1597 YDS: Signed as a Free Agent with Denver Broncos
With eight of the Top 10 rushing leaders from 2007 leaving college football behind it brings us to a very interesting debate about who is left to lead their teams from the backfield. Here is a breakdown of the best running backs by conference.
1. USC: The Trojans have a plethora of backs to pick from, but it appears as though the main two to be teaming up in the backfield will be Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson.
McKnight: 94 Car 540 YDS 3 TD
Johnson: 98 Car 673 YDS 5 TD
2. Keegan Herring: ASU 154 Car 815 YDS 5 TD
3. Kahlil Bell: UCLA: 142 Car 795 YDS 5 TF
1. Chris “Beanie” Wells: The Ohio State University: One of the two returning backs from the top 10 leading rushers in 2007, and my pick for the back with the best chance at a Hesiman: 274 Car 1609 YDS 15 TD
2. P.J. Hill: Wisconsin: 233 Car 1212 YDS 14 TDS
3. Javon Ringer: Michigan St: 245 Car 1447 YDS 6 TDS
1. LeSean McCoy: Pittsburgh: 276 Car 1328 YDS 14 TDS. McCoy put these numbers up as a freshman, I believe he is the third best back in the country and will most likely win the Big East Rushing Title while helping make Pitt a contender.
2. Noel Devine: West Virginia: 73 Car 627 YDS 6 TDS: We will have to wait and see if Devine lives up to the hype and can handle the pressure of being the top back. He has big shoes to fill, but as Slaton found out White does most of the running racking up about 300 more yards then his back in 07’.
3. The Big East appears to be a two horse race, but here is the four way tie for third:
a. UConn’s tandem of Andre Dixon and Donald Brown
b. USF’s Mike Ford
c. Cincinnati’s Butler Benson
1. James Davis: Clemson: The Tigers should have a generous preseason Top 25 Ranking, all though I think it might be a little too high. Davis will have to pick up a good portion of the workload in 08’ (C.J. Spiller will help that cause as well) to keep them in the hunt. 07’: 214 Car 1064 YDS 10 TD
2. Josh Adams: Wake Forest: 219 Car 953 YDS 11TD
Coastal: To be honest this was the hardest Conference/Division to pick some stand outs thus far in this article, but here are two guys that need to make an impact. VTech needs to rebound, while Miami had a great recruiting class and are looking to rebuild. These guys will play integral roles in both situations. Also, I have a gut feeling about what Butch Davis has been doing at UNC but can’t seem to find any information about RB Johnny White. If there are any Tar Heels fans reading out there, please drop me a line and give me some information about what is going down in Chapel Hill.
1. Branden Ore: Virginia Tech: 267 Car 992 YDS 9 TD Note: It has come to my attention that Ore is not longer a member of the Vtech squad. No official word as to why, but it appears to be the ever so common "Violation of Team Rules". Good Work team, keep the feedback coming.
2. Javarris James: Miami FL: 159 Car 582 YDS 4 TD
1. Knowshon Moreno: Georgia: One of the three backs that in my opinion are frontrunners for the Heisman. As a freshman Moreno carried the ball 248 times for 1334 YDS and 14 TD. Georgia should undoubtedly land in the top 3 in preseason polls and Moreno will have to be a huge part of their success during the season.
2. Arian Foster: Tennessee: 245 Car 1193 YDS 12 TD
1. Anthony Dixon: Mississippi St: 287 Car 1066 YDS 14 TD
2. Ben Tate: Auburn: 202 Car 903 YDS 8 TD
3. Terry Grant: Alabama: 180 Car 891 YDS 8 TD
1. Marlon Lucky: Nebraska: 206 Car 1019 YDS 9 TD
2. Jake Sharp: Kansas: 147 Car 821 YDS 7 TD
3. Jimmy Jackson: Missouri: 67 Car 331 YDS 7 TD
1. Jorvorskie Lane: Texas A&M: In 2007 the kid known as JTrain Lane sat as the Aggie’s HB who had 169 Car for 780 YDS and 16 TDS. Mike Sherman has taken over as head coach and has moved Lane to FB which could change his effectiveness, granted most would think for the better. Lane had to lose 20 pounds to become HB in 07’ as he dropped to 268 lbs. He is still listed at 6 ft 280 lbs.
2. DeMarco Murray: Oklahoma: 127 Car 764 YDS 13 TD
3. Kendall Hunter: Oklahoma St: 107 Car 696 YDS 4 TD
MAC : The MAC is Jarvis’ for the taking, the other back besides Wells from 07’s Top 10 leaders to be returning. There aren’t a lot of notable backs in this league, but here are a few that stand out.
1. Justin Anderson: N Illinois: 274 Car 1245 YDS 8 TD
2. Brandon West: W Michigan: 183 Car 848 YDS 4 TD
1. Eugene Jarvis: Kent St: 279 Car 1609 YDS 15 TD
2. James Starks: Buffalo : 251 Car 1103 YDS 12 TD
1. Ian Johnson: Boise State: 207 Car 1041 YDS 16 TD
2. Luke Lippincott : Nevada: 267 Car 1420 YDS 15 TD
3. Ryan Matthews: Fresno St: 145 Car 866 YDS 14 TD
4. Deonte Jackson: Idaho: 240 Car 1175 YDS 7 TD
The majority of these picks are open for debate, and I hope that if I included someone that has left or named a player from your team that is the number 2 or just disagree in general let me know. I am sure there are more than a handful of mistakes throughout the article….