August 19, 2009

Preseason running back power rankings

Beginning today, we unveil our preseason power rankings at each position.

You can check out our post-spring practice power rankings here. We will update the power rankings each week during the regular season and release the final rankings for the season after the BCS title game.

The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.

RUNNING BACK POWER RANKINGS

1. Jahvid Best, California (5-10/195, junior)
BUZZ:
Best was third nationally in rushing last season, at 131.7 yards per game. He rushed for 15 touchdowns and averaged 8.1 yards per carry.

2. Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech (6-0/235, junior)
BUZZ:
He's a great fit for Paul Johnson's triple-option offense. Dwyer ran for 1,395 yards last season in his first year in the scheme.

3. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State (5-8/197, junior)
BUZZ:
He led the offense-minded Big 12 in rushing with 1,555 yards. Hunter, QB Zac Robinson and WR Dez Bryant make for a super trio.

4. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State (5-7/191, sophomore)
BUZZ:
The little guy came up big for the Beavers as a true freshman last season, rushing for 1,253 yards and 11 TDs.

5. LeGarrette Blount, Oregon (6-2/240, senior)
BUZZ:
Despite sharing time last season, Blount rumbled for 1,002 yards and a school-record 17 TDs in his first season after transferring in from a junior college.

6. C.J. Spiller, Clemson (5-11/195, senior)
BUZZ:
Spiller never has rushed for 1,000 yards and his rushing total has gone down from each preceding season, from 938 as a freshman to 768 as a sophomore and 629 last season. But with the job all his, expect a big season.

7. Charles Scott, LSU (6-0/234, senior)
BUZZ:
Scott ran for 1,174 yards and 18 TDs last season and is a good bet to lead the SEC in rushing this season.

8. Noel Devine, West Virginia (5-8/176, junior)
BUZZ:
He ran for 1,289 yards but just four TDs last season. Look for both totals to increase this season.

9. Evan Royster, Penn State (6-1/213, junior)
BUZZ:
Royster emerged as a star last season, leading the Nittany Lions with 1,236 yards and 12 TDs.

10. Damion Fletcher, Southern Miss (5-10/177, senior)
BUZZ:
He is trying to become just the eighth back in major-college history to have four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

11. DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma (6-1/214, junior)
BUZZ:
Murray ran for 1,002 yards and 14 TDs last season despite sharing time. He also is a big-time kick returner.

12. Da'Rel Scott, Maryland (5-11/200, junior)
BUZZ:
The speedy Scott ran for 1,133 yards and eight TDs last season, and he should become a bigger part of the offense this season.

13. John Clay, Wisconsin (6-1/248, sophomore)
BUZZ:
It's good to be ground-bound Wisconsin's No. 1 back, and Clay will take over that role from P.J. Hill this season. Clay ran for 884 yards and nine TDs as a backup last season.

14. Harvey Unga, BYU (6-0/237, junior)
BUZZ:
Unga is a dual threat out of the backfield for the Cougars. He ran for 1,132 yards and 11 TDs and also caught 42 passes for 309 yards and four scores.

15. Toby Gerhart, Stanford (6-1/235, senior)
BUZZ:
Gerhart doesn't get enough national attention. He ran for 1,136 yards and 15 TDs last season, including 101 yards against USC and 103 against archrival Cal.

16. Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State (6-1/235, senior)
BUZZ:
Dixon should benefit from the hiring of offense-minded Dan Mullen as coach. Dixon ran for 869 yards last season, when he frequently seemed to be the only Bulldogs offensive player with a pulse.

17. Chris Brown, Oklahoma (5-10/200, senior)
BUZZ:
Despite sharing time with DeMarco Murray, Brown led the Sooners in rushing with 1,220 yards and 20 TDs.

18. Michael Smith, Arkansas (5-9/180, senior)
BUZZ:
He's small but productive, rushing for 1,072 yards and eight TDs despite missing two games with injuries.

19. James Starks, Buffalo (6-2/211, senior)
BUZZ:
He put together his second consecutive 1,000-yard season in '08, rushing for 1,333 yards and 16 TDs despite missing two games with injuries. He also had 52 receptions for the Bulls.

20. Victor Anderson, Louisville (5-9/185, sophomore)
BUZZ:
He ran for 1,047 yards and eight TDs last season, when he was the Big East freshman of the year.

(Rankings by Rivals.com staffers Olin Buchanan, Tom Dienhart, David Fox, Mike Huguenin and Steve Megargee.)




 

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