June 16, 2009

College Football Preview: Best Running Backs

With College Football rapidly approaching, KSJ will look at the players, coaches, teams, and issues surrounding college football.

Today KSJ looks at the best running backs in the country. With the proliferation of the spread offense, the running back position has become more and more important. Not only do teams today need their running back to rush for over 1,000 yards, but they also have to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield and have to be able to block.

The spread offense calls for running backs to be the last line of defense for the offense. So running backs have to be able to pick up key blocks on passing plays. Also with the spread offense, running backs are called upon to run different variations of routes. The bubble screen is one of the most important routes of the spread offense. The running back must run the bubble screen to perfection for it can be unstoppable.

So who are the best running backs in the nation? Let's take a look.

Jahvid Best, California: Best is the returning leader in college in rushing yards with 1,580. He average 8.1 yards per carry. He will be the main key for Cal's offense this season. With Cal looking for a starting quarterback and a proven deep threat, Best will be called upon for the offense. He had 27 catches and 246 receiving yards last year. Watch his receiving production go up next season for Cal.

Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma St: Hunter was the best running back in the Big 12 last season by a full 30 yards. Hunter is a little smaller than most running backs (5-8) but he is quick and elusive, almost like a former OK St. running back named Barry Sanders. He makes up a part of a strong trio with Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant. I expect him to have another huge year.

Jonathon Dwyer, Georgia Tech: Dwyer was the perfect running for Paul Johnson's flexbone offense. Last season Dwyer rushed for 1,395 yards and 12 touchdowns. Dwyer has a rare blend of power and speed. He will be the the main offensive weapon in Tech's run-happy schemes. Also Dwyer should be more dangerous next season because he is lighter on his feet. He dropped ten pounds and has improved his footwork and agility.

C.J. Spiller, Clemson: Spiller doesn't have to split carries anymore with James Davis and will look to have a big year. He will be running behind an veteran offensive line. Spiller will be look upon to carry the ball significant amounts of time, since Clemson is breaking in a new quarterback.

Jacquiss Rodgers, Oregon St: Rodgers was one of the nicest surprises last college football season. He shredded the great USC offense for over 185 yards last season. At just 5-7, Rodgers is one of the toughest running backs to contain. His low center of gravity running and his ability to find gaps to run in, make him the most dangerous running back in the nation. And lucky for Oregon St., he's only a sophomore.

LeGarrette Blount, Oregon: Blount is just the opposite of his Oregon counterpart Rodgers. Blout is 6-2 and runs like a runaway freight train. The one problem with Blount is that he does wear down easily and Oregon has continued their search for a compliment to Blount.

Charles Scott, LSU: LSU will be a contender in the SEC because Scott returned for his senior season in Baton Rouge. Scott is the SEC's returning rusher with 1,174 yards. With Jordan Jefferson starting at quarterback and Scott returning, LSU will be one of the favorites in the SEC. I can't wait till Florida visits Baton Rouge on October 10th.

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