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Top Running Back Universities

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  • Top Running Back Universities

    1. USC
    1) O.J. Simpson - He should've been the first two-time Heisman winner cranking out a 1,543-yard, 13 touchdown junior season leading USC to the 1967 national title.
    2) Charles White - Talk about your great careers, White tore off 6,245 yards and 49 touchdowns and won the 1979 Heisman.
    3) Marcus Allen - A fullback for White in 1978 and 1979, Allen blossomed into a star of his own ripping off a 1,563-yard, 14 touchdown season before his record-setting Heisman campaign in 1981 with 2,427 yards and 22 touchdowns.
    4) Anthony Davis - Davis ran for over 1,000 yards for three straight seasons finishing with 3,724 yards and 44 rushing touchdowns.
    5) Ricky Bell - Bell should have won the 1975 Heisman over Archie Griffin with a 1,957-yard, 14 touchdown junior season. He was strong in 1976 with a 1,433 yard, 14 touchdown season, but that just happened to be the year that Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett went nuts.

    2. Auburn
    1) Bo Jackson - The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner was actually more dangerous in his sophomore season when he averaged 7.7 yards per carry. Injuries kept him from reaching his full potential over his final two seasons getting knocked out of two of the biggest games of the 1985 campaign against Tennessee and Florida making the Heisman race closer than it should have been.
    2) Carnell Williams - The Cadillac would've put up mega-numbers if he didn't have to split time with Ronnie Brown.
    3) Joe Cribbs - After seeing a little bit of time in his freshman season, Cribbs took off rushing for 3,056 yards in his final three campaigns finishing with 34 touchdowns. He was the school's all-time leading rusher before James Brooks barely passed him in 1980.
    4) Brent Fullwood - The program's most spectacular back not named Bo, Fullwood averaged 7.2 yards per carry with a scary-good 8.3 average in his senior.
    5) James Brooks - Rudi Johnson and Stephen Davis deserve this spot, but Brooks was the school's all-time leading rusher before Jackson came along running for 3,523 yards and 24 touchdowns averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

    3. Texas
    1) Ricky Williams - Earl Campbell might be a bit more of a legend for Longhorn fans, but Williams had the better career finishing with 6,279 yards and 75 touchdowns.
    2) Earl Campbell - A star from day one, the Tyler Rose was only slowed down by a bad hamstring in his junior year. He came roaring back with a 1,744-yard, 18 touchdown senior season on his way to the Heisman.
    3) Cedric Benson - The superstar recruit blossomed into a superstar with 65 touchdowns and four straight 1,000+-yard seasons.
    4) Roosevelt Leaks - Leaks finished third in the 1973 Heisman race as a junior with 1,415 yards and 14 touchdowns averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
    5) Hodges Mitchell - Mitchell had a great unsung career blossoming in his final two years finishing with 2,644 yards and 20 touchdowns.

    4. Georgia
    1) Herschel Walker - If Superman had stayed for his senior year, he would've set the NCAA rushing record going at least 500 yards past where Ron Dayne ended up setting the bar.
    2) Garrison Hearst - The only back to come within ten miles to many of Walker's records, Hearst finished his career with 3,232 yards and 35 total touchdowns.
    3) Rodney Hampton - Despite splitting carries in most games with talents like Tim Worley and Lars Tate, Hampton still finished with 2,668 yards and 22 touchdowns averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
    4) Lars Tate - Often overlooked on a national scale, Tate had a nice and steady career finishing with 3,017 yards and 36 touchdowns.
    5) Robert Edwards - One of the best all-around backs in Georgia history, the former defensive back cranked out 2,033 rushing yards and scored 30 career touchdowns when moved over to offense.

    5. Ohio State
    1) Archie Griffin - I'm fully prepared to incur the wrath of the Buckeye faithful; Griffin shouldn't have won two Heismans. USC's Anthony Davis should have won in 1974 and Cal's Chuck Muncie, Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett and USC's Ricky Bell were better backs in 1975. It doesn't matter since facts are facts, and Griffin is the only two-time winner finishing his career with 5,589 yards and 26 touchdowns with a six-yard-per-carry average.
    2) Eddie George - George capped off a stellar career with the 1995 Heisman rushing for 1,927 yards and 24 touchdowns highlighted by a 314-yard performance against Illinois.
    3) Keith Byars - All set for a huge Heisman run in 1985, Byars suffered a foot injury holding him to a mere 208 yards and four scores. His sophomore and junior seasons were legendary tearing off 2,963 yards and 46 touchdowns leading the nation in scoring in 1984.
    4) Pete Johnson - Known as the other back behind Archie Griffin and a top blocker, Johnson was deadly around the goal line with a whopping 58 career touchdowns. He was an automatic short-yardage man on third downs.
    5) Tim Spencer - The Ohio State ground game in 1981 and 1982, Spencer ran for 2,755 yards scoring 15 times in his senior year.

    6. Penn State
    1) Curt Warner - Warner finished his career as the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,398 yards and 24 touchdowns leading the Nittany Lions to the 1982 National Championship.
    2) Ki-Jana Carter - Known now for the unfortunate breaks in his NFL career, Carter was a blur of a college back finishing second in the 1994 Heisman race averaging a serious 7.8 yards per carry rushing for 1,639 yards and 23 touchdowns.
    3) John Cappelletti - He won the Heisman in 1973 with 1,522 yards and 17 touchdowns averaging 5.3 yards per carry. His two-season total of 2,639 yards and 29 touchdowns is good by any measure.
    4) Lydell Mitchell - While he was decent during his first two years rolling up 1,367 yards, his senior season was something special rushing for 1,567 yards and 26 touchdowns averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
    5) Curtis Enis - Larry Johnson, Blair Thomas and D.J. Dozier could be here as well. Enis was phenomenal over his final two seasons rushing for 2,573 yards and 32 touchdowns.

    7. Oklahoma
    1) Billy Sims - The two-time All-American and 1978 Heisman winner was one of the greatest players of all-time. He ran for 4,108 yards and 53 touchdowns scoring a whopping 45 times in his final two seasons.
    2) Adrian Peterson - This might be a bit premature, but few backs have ever possessed the combination of size, speed and skills Peterson has shown.
    3) Steve Owens - Yeah, he breaks the 1970 rule for these rankings, but he comes close enough. The 1969 Heisman winner was a touchdown machine setting the OU record with 57 in his three seasons to go along with his 4,041 yards.
    4) Joe Washington - The two-time All-American ran for 3,995 career yards and scored 39 touchdowns finishing his career as OU's all-time leading rusher.
    5) Quentin Griffin - The diminutive Griffin never received the credit he deserved amassing 4,732 total yards over his last three seasons to go along with 41 rushing touchdowns. Even with all of his touches, he almost never fumbled.

    8. Wisconsin
    1) Ron Dayne - The most disrespected superstar in college football history because he happened to take over the spotlight a year after the flashier Ricky Williams, Dayne is the NCAA's all-time leading rusher leading the Badgers to two Rose Bowls and three bowl victories in four years.
    2) Anthony Davis - The little star can started his career out with 3,021 yards before suffering a setback his junior year with an ankle injury, but he still ran for 682 yards and seven scores.
    3) Billy Marek - Marek tore off three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 1972 to 1974 as the focal point of the Badger attack.
    4) Brent Moss - The first big star of the Barry Alvarez era, Moss was the workhorse for the 1993 Big Ten champions working with Terrell Fletcher in the devastating ground attack.
    5) Terrell Fletcher - Rufus Ferguson, Brian Calhoun and Michael Bennett could take this spot, but Fletcher was the better performer for four years finishing with 3,414 yards and 25 touchdowns averaging a whopping 5.6 yards per carry.

    9. Miami
    1) Edgerrin James - While he didn't play on national title teams and didn't get the spotlight that Willis McGahee and Clinton Portis received, James was still a force averaging 6.2 yards per carry with 2,960 yards and 35 career scores.
    2) Ottis Anderson - In the rush of great Hurricane running backs over the last few years, it's easy to forget about Anderson.
    3) Willis McGahee - He only had one season as the starter, but it was a big one with a school record 1,753 yards and 28 touchdowns.
    4) Clinton Portis - The workhorse for the 2001 national champions, Portis finished his career with 2,523 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns.
    5) Stephen McGuire - A scoring machine, McGuire is tied for the career lead in total Miami touchdowns with 35 while rushing for 1,953 yards as a key cog in two national title winning attacks.

    10. Nebraska
    1) Mike Rozier - A devastating weapon for three seasons, Rozier capped off his career with all of the 1983 hardware rushing for 2,148 yards and 29 touchdowns. 2) Ahman Green - Nebraska's number two all-time leading rusher with 3,880 yards, he helped lead the Huskers to a share of a national title.
    3) Tom Rathman - Call this a nod to all the great Husker fullbacks that were so instrumental in making the Big Red Machine go. Rathman wasn't a bad ball-carrier with 881 yards and eight touchdowns in 1985.
    4) Lawrence Phillips - Yeah, he was far more trouble than he was worth, but he was a brilliant college runner with 2,177 yards and 21 rushing scores. 5) Calvin Jones - While not a sexy pick, Jones was an effective producer finishing his career as the school's number two all-time leading rusher (before Green and Eric Crouch passed him by) with 3,153 yards and 40 touchdowns.

  • #2
    Interesting list...did they forget Priest Holmes from Texas? Yes he was there with Ricky Williams, could you imagine those 2 RB's in the same backfield? Happened at UT..
    fight u dwn the must win.. fight fight fr knows no defet! so roll up the mighty score, Never Give in!!...shouler to shulder we will FIGHT..FIGHT ... FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!


    • #3
      i'm not so sure about penn state or nebraska.

      I think Oklahoma State could be on that list. Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas. Those 2 names get them at #10 already. Don't forget Tatum Bell.


      • #4
        Those lists are not who produced the best running backs for the NFL btw. It is just who had the best in college. That is very evident since Nebraska is on the QB list also and everyone knows their QB's suck in the NFL.


        • #5
          Originally posted by jhns
          Those lists are not who produced the best running backs for the NFL btw. It is just who had the best in college. That is very evident since Nebraska is on the QB list also and everyone knows their QB's suck in the NFL.
          Hey thanks for clarifying that, because when I went back to the site, I realized that their were two separate list. One for ranking in college and the other for ranking the NFL.


          • #6
            Dont forget the most important NFL player to come out of Georgia! Terrell Davis.


            • #7
              Is this list dated or something? How could last year's Heisman Trophy winner not be on there?


              • #8
                Probably because he took nearly a million dollars worth of benefits to not be on that list.


                Myself, Shawn (a chefs fan) and Mike on our way home from the Sand Trap in June '06. (Mildenhall AFB)


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Calif. Bronco
                  Is this list dated or something? How could last year's Heisman Trophy winner not be on there?
                  For those who are confused about this list, here is the site to check out both lists.
                  By Richard Cirminiello
                  Fiu version (just college production) QB U. | RB U. | WR U. | OL U.
                  Rich version (pro and college production) RB U. | WR U. | TE U. | OL U.


                  • #10
                    In recent years (10 or so) I think that with so much talent spread out all over that you can really say that there is one university that stands out. It comes down to really scouting these players like the Broncos. Some teams scout better QB's while others do better defensively. If you need a great RB my approach would be to sneak around and follow the Broncos RB scout and make a move before they do.


                    • #11
                      I think Colorado (Eric Bienemy, Rashaan Salaam, Chris Brown) and Oklahoma State (as previously mentioned) should be in the top 10 in place of Oklahoma and Wisconsin.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tommy1986
                        I think Colorado (Eric Bienemy, Rashaan Salaam, Chris Brown) and Oklahoma State (as previously mentioned) should be in the top 10 in place of Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
                        You had to bring us that weed smokin', funble producing back that broke my heart. Rashaan Salaam i was so certain he'd put us on the map....


                        • #13
                          I'm not saying they belong in here, but Iowa State once had a running back that had 2 2,000 yard seasons and never won a heisman.

                          Thanks to B4Bronco6 for the sig!
                          RB #22 Wisconsin Badgers
                          Know this above all else. This life is your only life. So while you live life, make the most of every second, minute and hour that you have. Time stops for no one. Don't stop for time. Seize the day.
                          -Kobe Bryant-


                          • #14
                            Most definetely Georgia....

                            I owe CP's to: no one


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Broncos72690
                              i'm not so sure about penn state or nebraska.
                              Honestly, why do you go out of your way to try and badmouth the Huskers?

                              Mike Rozier won the heisman as a runningback at Nebraska. Lawrence Phillips was a 1st round pick. If he weren't such an idiot off the field, he would've been amazing. Ahman Green was also a first round pick. If it weren't for all of his injuries, he would still be an elite back in the NFL. Correll Buckhalter was really showing some promise for the Eagles when he rushed for 1,128 yards on 255 carries (4.5 ypc). Once again, he was hot with the injury bug.

                              As for Penn State, Larry Johnson was better than anyone at OU, period.

                              Go Huskers.