SEC Running Backs Second to None
By BJ Bennett
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A remarkable 20 SEC running backs are fresh off at least 600 yards rushing, including an astounding nine after at least 1,000 yards.
The SEC has long been, and continues to be, home to many of the top running backs in all of college football. A tradition featuring iconic names and numbers in the backfield spans all across the region. Though star Leonard Fournette is off to the first round of the NFL Draft, no conference brings back more proven rushing production; the league returns 19 of its 22 leading running backs, in addition to dual-threat quarterbacks Nick Fitzgerald and Jalen Hurts, from a season ago.
A remarkable 20 running backs are fresh off at least 600 yards rushing, including an astounding nine after at least 1,000 yards; for point of reference, the ACC, in such a classification, has one.
Two players, Georgia's Nick Chubb and Ralph Webb of Vanderbilt, already rank in the top 20 in SEC history in career rushing yards with 3,424 and 3,347, respectively. It's conceivable that Chubb, Webb, or both, could move past Darren McFadden into second on the rushing list and trail only Herschel Walker all-time. Chubb has a chance to move past Derrick Henry with his next game, while Webb is already the Commodores' career rushing leader.
Playing with Fournette, LSU's Derrius Guice burst onto the national scene to lead the league with 1,387 yards 7.58 yards per carry and, among running backs, 15 scores. Agile and attacking, he topped the 250-yard mark against Arkansas and Texas A&M, rushing for 285 yards and four touchdowns versus the Razorbacks. Another top-level talent, Rawleigh Williams III, from Arkansas, was the only other back to top 1,300 yards on the season. He, too, had a 200-yard, four-score game. At 237 pounds, Kam Pettway of Auburn actually paced the conference with 122.4 yards per game.
A trio of dynamic freshmen also reached the special milestone: Missouri's Damarea Crockett, Kentucky's Benjamin Snell, Jr. and Treyveon Williams of Texas A&M. Crockett emerged as a focal point of an offense that averaged over 500 yards per game, the most effective unit in the league. Along with Boom Williams, Snell helped form the first 1,000-yard tandem in Wildcat history. Williams, for the Aggies, rushed for 689 yards in his first five FBS outings.
At Alabama, speedy Damien Harris ran for 1,037 yards. Additionally, Bo Scarbrough rushed for a Crimson Tide bowl record 180 yards against Washington, was named the Peach Bowl Offensive MVP and had multi-score games in his final three outings, all on the big stage. True freshman Najee Harris comes to Tuscaloosa as one of the most highly-rated recruits in the country.
Simply put, the SEC will showcase a staggering number of accomplished running backs, the best collection of rushers in the game.