Back Few Did it Like Ralph Webb

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Few Did it Like Ralph Webb

By BJ Bennett
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Even though he may have been overshadowed some by other big names, Ralph Webb had a career worth remembering.

The last few seasons of SEC football have been a golden era for the running back position. When noting the progress of the likes of all-time greats Nick Chubb, Leonard Fournette and Derrick Henry, the legacy of Ralph Webb, the best of the black and gold, should not be overlooked.

Webb, the remarkable Vanderbilt record-setter, finishes his career with the sixth-most rushing yards in league history, 4,178, right behind Bo Jackson. In terms of usage, Webb carried the football more than any other four-year league player, with only fewer total attempts overall than Herschel Walker. Webb is the only SEC player ever with at least 4,170 rushing yards and at least 55 career receptions, boasting, actually 78.

In fact, Webb is one of just 17 power conference running backs over the last 60 years with a minimum of 930 carries and 30 rushing touchdowns. Throw in his catches and only Marcus Allen, Justin Jackson, Anthony Thomas, Thurman Thomas and Ricky Williams can best such production in that span. Webb, more than just a featured focal point, goes down as one of the game's most-accomplished playmakers.    

While with the Commodores, Webb, yards to miles, ran the distance from Vanderbilt Stadium to the Music City Walk of Fame Park, compiling much of his yardage in college football's toughest conference. His career included 16 100-yard games, including nine milestone performances in SEC play. In addition to a non-league upset of nationally-ranked Kansas State, Webb led the Commodores to victories over Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee.

Webb was often at his best against Vanderbilt's in-state rivals. He, in four games against the Volunteers, rushed for 481 yards and five touchdowns, winning both meetings as an upperclassman. In his final college game, Webb had one of the signature performances of his career: 25 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns as the Commodores won 42-24 in Neyland Stadium. He moves on to the next level in an all-out sprint, with eight scores in his last seven games.

For his entire career, Webb was Vanderbilt's heart and soul. In addition to becoming the program's all-time leading rusher, a feat he accomplished as a junior, Webb started all 49 of his games with the Commodores; even more impressively, he touched the football at least 12 times in all but three of those games. Webb also earned numerous academic honors during his time. 

Even though he may have been overshadowed some by other big names, Webb had a career worth remembering. He is an SEC legend, earning every bit of that distinction.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports