In all the years of following football at every level, I am not sure I have ever seen a position group like the Running Back recruiting class of 2014.
The 2014 recruiting class was awesome in every area, but the group of Running Backs was beyond incredible.
But, how would you rate this incredible class of Running Backs?
1. Leonard Fournette – LSU: What I like most about Fournette is the size at 6-1, 230. But, at that
speed, he has near sprinters speed. Fournette would have crushed the 2,000 yard barrier if not for the first game of the season being canceled due to lightening. He still ran for 1,953 yards and 22 Touchdowns.
2. Dalvin Cook – Florida State: Cook is pure speed. Supposedly, he has added some muscle in this off season, but his game will still be based on great speed. Last season, Cook had issues with his hamstring and if he can stay healthy look for him to greatly improve on his 1,691 yards rushing of 2015.
3. Nick Chubb – Georgia: The Bulldogs Spring workouts or under way and Chubb is out there practicing with his teammates. But, it’s not definite when, or even if, he returns to the lineup. If healthy, the 5-10, 220 Chubb has track speed and he has plenty of power. As a true freshman, Chubb was more highly thought of than anyone in the nation.
4. Christian McCaffrey – Stanford: If you have seen this blog before you will know that I have posted often about Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey just ran wild last season as a sophomore breaking Barry Sanders decades old all purpose yardage totals for a season. McCaffrey topped the 2,000 yard barrier by 19 yards. The speedster from Colorado might be hard pressed to repeat that with an almost all new Offensive Line for 2016. But, McCaffrey is 6-0, 205 and he is really strong and patiently follows his blockers really well.
5. Samaje Perine – Oklahoma: Perine had more yardage his first year than anyone on this list. As a true freshman, Perine was 245 pounds an he ran for 1,713 yards and 21 Touchdowns. The Sooners
switched offenses in 2015 and Perine dropped about 15 pounds. They didn’t use him as often early on but went back to him late in the year and he responded with 1,349 yards and 16 Touchdowns. If you want a big power back, then Perine could be your guy.
6. Royce Freeman – Oregon: The 6-0, 230 Freeman is about as good as anyone in the country. He is big, strong and really fast and he may have been one of the bigger surprises in the country in 2014. After running for 1,365 yards and 18 Touchdowns as a true freshman, he topped that impressively last year with 1,836 yards and 17 Touchdowns. With another new Quarterback situation, the Ducks may have to depend more on Freeman than ever this next year, at least early on.
7. Jalen Hurd – Tennessee: Many comparisons to Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George have been made with Jalen Hurd. He’s about 6-3, 240 and really runs hard and with great power. As a sophomore last year, Hurd ran for 1,288 yards and 12 Touchdowns. The Vols haven’t had the experienced Offensive Line in front of Hurd, but this year should be better for him.
8. Elijah Hood – North Carolina: Hood didn’t get off to a great start a year ago, but he made up for it during his sophomore season. Last year, he ran for 1,463 yards and 17 Touchdowns and helped the Tar Heels to an 11-3 record. Hood is yet another bigger back at 6-0, 220 with excellent speed and moves. I see Hood doing nothing but getting better and better.
9. Joseph Yearby – Miami: Believe it or not, Yearby and Dalvin Cook played in the same backfield in high school in Miami. Cook has separated himself, but Yearby is coming into his own as well.
Yearby reminds of former Miami Running Back Duke Johnson as far as size and speed.
10. Bo Scarbrough – Alabama: Scarbrough should be Derrick Henry’s replacement and he has a ton of potential. Henry was huge, but so is Scarbrough who is supposedly 6-2, 240. As a freshman, Scarbrough ran for only 104 yards but he also only got 18 carries. I’d almost be surprised if Bo Scarbrough does not have a huge season in 2016.
Marlon Mack – South Florida: Unheralded player, but he ran for over 1,300 yards a year ago.
Justin Jackson – Northwestern: 2600 yards rushing in 2 seasons.
Sony Michel – Georgia: Michel has battled injuries, but after Chubb went down Michel ran for 1,100 yards.
Qadree Ollison – Pittsburgh: 6-2, 240 James Conner went down early in the season and 6-2, 230 Ollison replaced him and ran for 1,100 yards.
Stanley Boom Williams – Kentucky: Although Williams did run for nearly 900 yards last year, he needs to have that break out season still.
Travon McMillian – Virginia Tech: McMillian redshirted in 2014 and then ran for over 1,000 last
Devine Redding – Indiana: Redding backed up Jordan Howard last year but still ran for over 1,000 yards.
Joe Mixon – Oklahoma: The former 5 star recruit was suspended in 2014 and Samaje Perine came in and stole the job. Last year, as a back up, Mixon ran for 753 yards.
Nick Wilson – Arizona: The track sprinter had a fantastic season as a freshman running for 1,300 yards. but only 725 yards last season.
Jon Hilliman – Boston College: 6-0, 220 Hilliman ran for 860 yards as a freshman, but missed most of 2015.
Nathan Starks – UCLA: Starks will need to beat out Soso Jamabo if he wants to play.
Taiwan Deal – Wisconsin: Deal could be the next big thing at Wisconsin.
D’onta Foreman – Texas: At 6-0, 240, Foreman is a power back that ran for 681 yards before being injured.
Madre London – Michigan State: One of 3 Running Backs for the Spartans.
Darrel Williams – LSU: Almost every season, the Tigers place a back up Running Back in the NFL. Williams plays behind Fournette, but Williams is a talent that would start at a lot of schools.
Mike Warren – Iowa State: Warren redshirted and then busted through the 1,000 yard barrier in 2015.
Demario Richard – Arizona State: Richard is 5-11, 220 and he ran for 1,100 in his first year as a starter.
Ryan Nall – Oregon State: I don’t know the Beavers’ long time plans for Nall, but in limited time at Running Back the former Tight End looked really good at times. He is big at 6-2, 255 and showed surprising speed.