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Sun Belt Backfield Rankings

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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Southern Pigskin's ranking of the top five Sun Belt backfields.

1. Arkansas State: Senior quarterback Justice Hansen, who began his career at Oklahoma, will be one of the most productive players in the country yet again. Last season, only Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph averaged more total yards per game than Hansen at 365.8. Veteran running back Warren Wand has 2,301 career rushing yards, 58 career receptions and 22 career scores and is a proven, versatile playmaker. Fresh off a year where they finished in the national top ten in total offense, the Red Wolves clearly boast a premier backfield nationally.

2. Louisiana-Monroe: Last fall was an offensive breakthrough for the Warhawks, who jumped to 458 yards and 33.9 points per game. Quarterback Caleb Evans, the younger brother of former Virginia Tech star Jerod, was a big reason why. Since 2000, the only players with 2,800 passing yards, a pass efficiency rating of 144, 500 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in an underclassman season are Evans, Lamar Jackson, Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow, the latter three winning the Heisman Trophy. Alabama-transfer Derrick Gore topped the 100-yard mark in an upset of Appalachian State. 

3. Appalachian State: With 3,170 career rushing yards and 32 career rushing touchdowns, Moore appears likely to become just the sixth back in Sun Belt history to reach the 4,000-yard mark and the seventh to reach 40 scores. Among active players, he ranks second in the country in rushing yards. As a reserve, Marcus Williams has shown plenty of potential, too. Alabama-native Zac Thomas, 6'2'', 205 pounds with modest game experience, gets the chance to step in for the record-setting Taylor Lamb at quarterback.

4. Georgia Southern: The consistent Wesley Fields returns with almost 2,000 career rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, giving the offense a potential workhorse at running back. There is also excitement surrounding dynamic slotback Wesley Kennedy. As a freshman, signal caller Shai Werts showed improvement late in the season, helping to lead the Eagles to two wins, and rushing for over 100 yards twice, over Georgia Southern's final three games.

5. Lousiana: Though there are some obvious questions at quarterback with the departure of Jordan Davis, rising star Tray Ragas is a difference-maker at running back. He rushed for 813 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman, averaging 5.73 yards per carry. Former Clemson and Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier, the new head coach of the Ragin' Cajuns, brings a productive scheme and an established philosophy to Lafayette.