Projecting this year's best running backs
Yesterday we took a look at the best quarterbacks and linebackers for the upcoming season. Here I will dissect the top running backs in the country and name the most NFL-ready of them all.
Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, Montee Ball, Le’Veon Bell and Marcus Lattimore are departing for the next level, making this compilation a little easier to digest.
Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey led the NCAA in rushing last season, but is he the best overall back? Silas Redd is back for another year, but can he help Lane Kiffin keep his job? Can Michael Dyer and Isaiah Crowell turn their careers around by putting up huge numbers at the D-III level?
Only time will tell. But for now, let’s analyze and predict. Here are the best running backs for the upcoming football season.
Jeremy Hill, LSU; Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska; Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State; Dri Archer, Kent State; De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon.
10. John Hubert, Kansas State
Why: Like many of his conrads, Hubert was an underrated (two-star) recruit coming out of high school before landing at Kansas State. Bill Snyder does an incredible job of turning lost gems into stars at the collegiate level, and Hubert is no exception. He doesn’t have top-end speed and lacks size (5-7, 195), but will do anything it takes to fight for that extra yard. With excellent footwork and cuts, he tends to find the perfect gap and can beat defenders with his surprising strength, mainly coming from his lower body.
9. Michael Dyer, Arkansas Baptist
Why: He has a lot of off-field issues – mainly his inability to stick with a program – but Dyer has great NFL talent and should have no problems dominating the Division-III level. It’s kind of surprising that he decided to play football this season instead of enlisting into the 2013 NFL Draft, but he is reportedly trying to earn his Associates Degree, all while improving his stock. Dyer brings a lot to the table – he runs low and is hard to tackle, has elite breakaway speed and can catch the ball out of the backfield.
8. Duke Johnson, Miami (Fla.)
Why: As a freshman in 2012, Johnson emerged as one of the better backs in the country and earned second-team all-conference honors in the ACC. He’s set to get the majority of the carries this year, although Dallas Crawford should get a few touches here and there. Johnson doesn’t have power-back size (5-9, 190) but his outstanding acceleration and balance make up for it. He has great field awareness and is always a threat to take it to the house with his ability to make defenders miss. What makes him even more dangerous is the fact that he can line up at wide receiver, which really adds to his overall skill set.
7. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Why: It wasn’t until mid-season when Urban Meyer discovered Carlos Hyde’s nose for the end zone. He had a combined 35 carries through the first five games (albeit missing two games due to injury) and never really had a role on the offense. However, things clicked when he powered his way to 140 yards and four touchdowns against Nebraska in Week 6. Hyde is a red zone warrior, scoring 14 times in Ohio State’s final seven games. A fullback coming out of high school, Hyde brings that “boom” element to the running game. He’ll come in and hammer his way for four-to-five yards a pop, and won’t hold back if a defender is in his way. He won’t beat you with his speed – although he is deceitfully fast – but is still a major weapon in backfield.