2014 Big 12 Preview: RB Unit Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 15, 2014


Preview 2014 - Big 12 Running Back Unit Rankings & Breakdowns


Running Backs

2014 CFN BIG 12 PREVIEW

- 2014 Big 12 Preview
- 2014 CFN Big 12 Schedules & Picks: Baylor to OU
- 2014 CFN Big 12 Schedules & Picks: OSU to WVU
- CFN All-Big 12 Team & Top 30 Players
- Big 12 Team Looks & Predicted Finish   
 
Unit Rankings QB | RB | WR | OL
DL | LB | DB | ST | Coaches

- 2014 Baylor Preview
- 2014 Iowa State Preview  
- 2014 Kansas Preview  
- 2014 Kansas State Preview
- 2014 Oklahoma Preview
- 2014 Oklahoma State Preview  
- 2014 TCU Preview 
- 2014 Texas Preview 
- 2014 Texas Tech Preview 
- 2014 West Virginia Preview  
1. Texas
If everyone is healthy, Texas has the talent to boast one of the nation’s best backfields thanks to the return of Malcolm Brown after coming up with a strong season and a leading 904 yards and nine scores, and with Johnathan Gray back after suffering an Achilles tendon injury. All of the rushing production is back, and with receiver Daje Johnson blazing away for carries now and then, even with Jalen Overstreet and Joe Bergeron off the team, look out.
Unit Ranking: 9

2. Oklahoma
There’s no Adrian Peterson, but there’s a ton of excellent talent ready to shine to make up for the glaring lack of experience. Keith Ford ran for 134 yards and a touchdown in his limited work, but he’s a great back who should blow up as the No. 1 guy. Alex Ross is a bigger back, and Joe Mixon could blossom right away after coming in as the team’s top recruit. OU always gets production out of the fullback, and Aaron Ripkowski is a blaster of a blocker.
Unit Ranking: 8

3. Baylor
It helps to work in an offense with ten-mile wide holes to run through, and it also helps to have a slew of really, really fast backs. Lache Seastrunk is gone, but Shock Linwood has the wheels to rip off seven yards per carry again after running for 881 yards and eight scores. Johnny Jefferson has good size and can move, and Terence Williams could come up with a big true freshman season in the rotation. It’s going to take some work to blow past 3,000 rushing yards with 47 rushing scores again, but the production will be excellent.
Unit Ranking: 8

4. West Virginia
Is Rushel Shell in shape and ready to rumble? The Pitt transfer who was a star as a freshman two years ago eases the pain of losing do-it-all-back Charles Sims. Combining with Dreamius Smith and Andrew Buie, the Mountaineers are loaded with weapons and options for a ground game that relied too much on Sims. Will the explosion be there? With a good rotation, if nothing else, running game should control the tempo on a regular basis.
Unit Ranking: 7.5

5. Oklahoma State
Get ready for Tyreek Hill. The blazing-fast JUCO transfer will add some flash, and with true freshman Devon Thomas coming in, the ground game should be good with a little bit of time. Desmond Roland is a big, talented back who was outstanding around the goal line with 13 touchdowns and a team-leading 811 yards. However, the quarterbacks have to run for the team to finish in the top half of the Big 12 in rushing again. Rennie Childs and Corion Webster have to be part of the rotation, and it could take a little work behind a rebuilding line.
Unit Ranking: 7

6. Kansas State
John Hubert is gone, and second-leading rusher QB Daniel Sams transferred, but the Big 12’s fourth-best running game should be fine if DeMarcus Robinson can turn into a main man after rushing for just 20 yards. Dalvin Warmack and Jarvis Leverett will be part of the rotation, but if Robinson isn’t great, there will be some scrambling. It’s Kansas State, though – the production will come.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

7. TCU
A major disappointment last season, the TCU running game finished last in the Big 12 in total rushing yards with just 1,423 yards averaging 3.53 yards per try. Aaron Green stepped in after transferring from Nebraska and got in a little work, and B.J. Catalon is back after leading the team with 569 yards and six touchdowns, but the O needs more pop. The production won’t be any worse with three returning starters to pave the way, but there needs to be more balance.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

8. Kansas
The Jayhawk offense had one thing that worked – James Sims – and now he’s gone. However, all the other top backs return with Brandon Bourbon a big back who should be able to pound away for over 500 yards and Darrian Miller a speedster who might add a little bit of flash. Can top recruit Traevohn Wrench and JUCO transfer De’Andre Mann fill in the gaps? They might need to.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

9. Iowa State
The ground game wasn’t bad at times, and it has a nice back in Aaron Wimberly to work around, but the depth needs to be there to help the rotation with DeVondrick Nealy the No. 2 option after running for 158 yards and two scores. With all five starters back on the line, the production should be better and 2,000 yards is an option if Wimberly can stay healthy.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

10. Texas Tech
For what Texas Tech does, the running backs are going to be great. The Red Raiders will finish last in the Big 12 in rushing again, but DeAndre Washington can catch and can burst through the line, and Quinton White and Justin Stockton fit the mold. With leading rusher Kenny Williams moving to linebacker, and with the offense working around the passing game, the running backs will be along for the ride, but they’ll have their moments.
Unit Ranking: 6