2007 CFN All-Americans & Top Players - RBs

Posted Aug 6, 2007

CFN 2007 All-Americans and Top 25 Players - Running Backs

2007 CFN All-Americans

Running Backs

CFN 2007 All-Americans and Top 25 Players
2007 Preview | Quarterbacks | Wide Receivers
Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards | Centers 

2007 CFN Preseason First Team All-Americans
Mike Hart, Sr. Michigan
If it's possible to run for 3,967 career yards, 27 touchdowns, and catch 59 passes for 516 yards and two scores for Michigan and still be underrated, Hart has done it. Coming off a sensational 1,562-yard, 14 touchdown season as the steady, consistent force in a BCS run, he tore off nine 100-yard games, with three more with 91 yards or more, before getting shut down by USC. Even though he only ran for 47 yards against the Trojans, he scored twice. Not a home run hitter, the 5-9, 196-pound veteran is a tough between-the-tackles runner who always cranks out positive yards. With 19 career games with 100 yards or more, he's been one of the nation's best running backs, when healthy. No national title caliber team will rely more on one running back than Michigan will, and Hart needs to stay in one piece.

Darren McFadden, Jr. Arkansas
McFadden is one of the nation's best players and a near-certain top 15 draft pick when, not if, he leaves after this year. He has the power at 6-2 and 215 pounds, and he's a bolt of lightning when he gets into the open field with 1,647 yards and 14 touchdowns while catching 11 passes for 149 yards and a score. In the "Wildcat" package, he'll even spend time lined up at quarterback, where he completed seven of nine passes for 69 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. One of the leading Heisman candidates will be used in every way possible to get the ball in his hands.

Preseason 25 Best Running Backs
1. Darren McFadden, Jr. Arkansas
2. Mike Hart, Sr. Michigan
3. Steve Slaton, Jr. West Virginia
4. P.J. Hill, Soph. Wisconsin
5. Ray Rice, Jr. Rutgers
6. Ian Johnson, Jr., Boise State
7. Damion Fletcher, Soph. Southern Miss
8. Yvenson Bernard, Sr., Oregon State
9. James Davis, Jr. Clemson
10. Jonathan Stewart, Jr. Oregon
11. Branden Ore, Jr. Virginia Tech
12. Tashard Choice, Sr. Georgia Tech
13. Tyrell Sutton, Jr. Northwestern
14. C.J. Spiller, Soph. Clemson
15. Donald Brown, Soph. Connecticut
16. Dantrell Savage, Sr. Oklahoma State
17. Javarris James, Soph. Miami
18. Jorvorskie Lane, Jr. Texas A&M
19. Antone Smith, Jr. Florida State
20. Ryan Torain, Sr. Arizona State
21. Kalvin McRae, Sr. Ohio
22. Kyle Bell, Jr. Colorado State
23. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Sr. Ole Miss
24. Kevin Smith, Jr. UCF
25. Rafael Little, Sr. Kentucky

2007 CFN Preseason Second Team All-Americans

P.J. Hill, Soph. Wisconsin

The only question mark with Hill will be whether or not he can stay healthy. He missed all of 2005 with a broken leg, struggled through neck injury last year, and missed all of spring ball getting his shoulder right. While he's not gong to bust off many huge runs, he'll use his 222 pounds to power over and through everyone. He was a load last year rushing for 1,569 yards and 15 touchdowns, and he even was a decent receiver finishing fifth on the team with 18 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown, but he wasn't the same over the second half of the season after getting dinged up, and he was effectively shut down by Michigan and Arkansas.

Steve Slaton, Jr. West Virginia
Coupled with QB Pat White, Slaton gives West Virginia the most dynamic backfield tandem in America.  A consensus All-American and Heisman finalist a year ago, he’s a scoring machine with the jets to go the distance whenever he gets into space.  Slaton was second nationally with 162 all-purpose yards a game in 2006 and added pass-catcher to his repertoire, pulling in 27 receptions for 360 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  He had off-season surgery on his right wrist, but will be fine by the start of the season.

2007 CFN Honorable Mention All-Americans
(in alphabetical order)

Ian Johnson, Jr., Boise State
The 5-11, 194-pound Johnson had a great freshman season showing flashes of greatness as a home-run hitter, but he proved last year with a 1,713-yard, 25 touchdown season that he could be tough around the goal line as well as a flashy runner with a gaudy 6.2-yard average. The concern about him was whether or not he could become a workhorse, and he answered that with nine games with 20 caries or more with a low yardage game of 88 yards in a blowout of Utah. Out this spring to rest and gear up, he's hitting the weights to get bigger and stronger to handle the pounding. While he's a good receiver, he only caught eight passes for 55 yards.

Yvenson Bernard, Sr., Oregon State
From a lightly-recruited back out of Boca Raton to the soul of the Oregon State offense, Bernard has authored a memorable story in Corvallis.  Considered undersized by some at 5-9 and 204 pounds, he’s been a durable workhorse the last two years, rushing for more than 1,300 yards in each season, catching 80 passes and scoring 27 touchdowns.  Quicker than he is fast, Bernard is a cutback runner that darts in and out of holes, and isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder to get a few extra yards.  Now a fixture on the All-Pac-10 team, he’ll get close to 300 touches running behind one of the league’s best lines, while pocketing more national recognition along the way.

James Davis, Jr. Clemson
While Clemson will once again split the workload among the star backs, 5-11, 205-pound Davis will likely be the starter. He led the team with 1,187 yards and 17 touchdowns averaging 5.8 yards per carry, but he saw hit production slow down over the second half of the season after ripping up Georgia Tech for 216 yards. Able to do a little of everything well, he can run inside or out, and he can catch more than he showed last year. Can he handle not getting the ball 25 times a game? He scored 11 times in the first five games, but didn't get in the end zone over the final four.

Damion Fletcher, Soph. Southern Miss
Fletcher filled the void and then some last season, rushing for a school freshman-record 1,388 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Not very big or super fast, he runs with great vision and hits the hole so quickly that he’ll pick up six or seven yards before the defense ever makes first contact.  At just 175 pounds, Fletcher got banged around some last year, and would benefit from extra time in the weight room.

Ray Rice, Jr. Rutgers
With most of the pre-season attention going to star fullback Brian Leonard, Rice, then a sophomore, unexpectedly rose up to become the face of the program and the catalyst for an 11-win year.  In the greatest individual season in Knight history, he scampered for 1,794 yards and 20 touchdowns, en route to landing on numerous All-America teams and finishing seventh in the Heisman voting.  At 5-9 and 200 pounds, he’s neither the biggest nor the fastest back in the country, but his vision and balance are impeccable.  Filling the massive void left by Leonard will take a lot more than just 423 rushing yards and 38 receptions. 

Jonathan Stewart, Jr. Oregon
After scratching the surface of his enormous upside in 2005 and 2006, Jonathan Stewart is on the brink of a monster junior season.  He’s shown flashes of brilliance, taking back two kicks as a freshman and nearly rushing for 1,000 yards last year, but has yet to really uncork like other third-year players, such as Steve Slaton, Darren McFadden or Ray Rice.  Nagging ankle injuries have been an obstacle, as has a scarcity of touches.  The latter ought to change in a new system that’ll lean a little more on the backs than in recent years.  When Stewart is whole, he’s one of the most physically gifted backs in the country.  At 5-11 and 230 pounds, he has breakaway speed, stop-on-a-dime quickness and the power to plow through defenders.  In June’s Oregon Classic weightlifting competition, Stewart took gold in his weight class, a testament to his raw strength.


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