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ESPN ranks the SEC’s running back position after spring practice

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ESPN ranks the SEC’s running back position after spring practice


April 28, 2016



The SEC is heavy on talented veteran running backs for 2016, and several teams boast more than one capable starter.

Gone are the days where one star running back carries a team; now, multiple capable backs provide depth throughout a season that is sure to present bumps and bruises, and sometimes, major injuries. Sure, there are major stars — LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Georgia’s Nick Chubb, etc., but it takes multiple players at the position to make the offense very good while attempting to stay balanced.

Fournette, Chubb and Tennessee’s Jalen Hurd have all been mentioned as Heisman hopefuls, but the biggest reasons they will — and won’t — are their own teammates. Fournette and Derrius Guice create a nice duo at LSU, while Hurd and Alvin Kamara could prove to be the best tandem in college football. Add to that Chubb and Sony Michel from Georgia, and it’s easy to see why this position is loaded for 2016.

We know Auburn and Gus Malzahn produce running backs that put up big numbers, or have in the past, and Alabama will surely find another talented duo after the loss of Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake.

The team with the biggest upside on ESPN’s ranking is No. 9 Arkansas. Yes, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams are gone, but Rawleigh Williams III, Kody Walker (suffered broken foot this spring) and incoming freshman Devwah Whaley should be really good. It also helps knowing the Hogs produce a good running game under Bret Bielema.

ESPN’s post-spring rankings are bound to change before the season, but it gives us a glimpse into just how talented — and fortunate — the league is with talented backfields in 2016. Here’s how the media outlet ranked the teams with respect to running back after spring practice:

1. LSU
2. Tennessee
3. Georgia
4. Auburn
5. Alabama
6. Kentucky
7. Florida
8. Vanderbilt
9. Arkansas
10. Ole Miss
11. Texas A&M
12. Mississippi State
13. Missouri
14. South Carolina

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