2007 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings ... RBs

Posted Aug 9, 2007

CFN 2007 Preview Unit Rankings - Running Backs Ranked 1 to 119

2007 CFN All-Americans

Running Backs

CFN 2007 Unit Rankings
2007 Preview | Offenses | Quarterbacks
Receivers | Offensive Lines| Defenses | Defensive Lines
Linebackers | Secondaries | Special Teams

1. Arkansas
Most teams have to throw the ball to get big plays and move the ball effectively down the field. With Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, the Hogs have two backs who can take it all the way from anywhere on the field. This is the nation's best running back tandem, and if they stay healthy, will combine for over 2,500 yards. The coaching staff isn't going to play around and will do whatever it takes to go with it bread-and-butter.

2. Clemson
All appears to be fine ... for now. With two star backs, James Davis and C.J. Spiller, each capable of winning All-America honors, it'll be tough to get them all the work they might like. Offensive coordinator Rob Spence will get them both on the field at the same time as much as possible to provide several different looks and more options get them the ball. These two will carry the team.

3. Texas A&M
The formula should work again with Mike Goodson setting them up and Jorvorskie Lane knocking them down. In a perfect world, the Aggies run like they did against Missouri (despite only gaining 180 yards) when the ground game dominated the second half and Lane turned into a closer. The backs will lead the way to another top ten finish in rushing offense. The Aggies have an embarrassment of riches.

4. Oklahoma State
There's speed, talent, power in the backups, and a whole bunch of production returning. While QB Bobby Reid will chip in with around 500 rushing yards again, it'll be the backs that make all the noise tearing off big play after big play. The coaching staff should be able to tinker with the gameplan using power backs like Julius Crosslin and John Johnson to provide a little bit of power at times. All the tailbacks need is a little bit of a hole and they're gone. Dantrell Savage averaged 6.5 yards per carry while Keith Toston averaged six yards per run.

5. West Virginia
Even without two of his best blockers, Dan Mozes and Jeremy Sheffey, Steve Slaton will be Steve Slaton, slicing through opposing defenses on a weekly basis.  However, unless a reliable reserve or two emerges, he could be gassed by the time November arrives. Senior Owen Schmitt is part fullback and part cult-hero around Morgantown.

6. Wisconsin
It's Wisconsin, so there will always be production from the tailbacks, but there are question marks. P.J. Hill won't have to be everything for the running game, but the longer he can stay effective with 20+ carries a game, the better. In a perfect world, Hill will carry the ground game with star recruits John Clay and/or Zach Brown able to redshirt.

7. Oklahoma
OU has three backs who could be First Team All-Big 12 performers with the full-time workload. Allen Patrick, Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray were all superstar recruits, and they run like it. There's an embarrassment of riches in the backfield in what should be one of the nation's most effective ground games. Call if a perfect convergence of fast, talented backs working behind a tremendous line.

8. Miami
The 1-2 punch of Javarris James and Graig Cooper could be devastating in a rotation. While the idea early on will likely be to get James into a groove, Cooper will have games when he takes over and dominates. Bringing in a veteran like Charlie Jones off the bench is a luxury. Miami is back to being a running back factory again with James and Cooper at the helm. These two are special.

9. Navy
If you liked the nation's number one rushing attack before, you're going to love the production from this year's group of backs. Reggie Campbell, Adam Ballard and Shun White seem like they've been around forever, and now they'll use all their experience to crank out big play after big play. Getting the backups more work will be vital to hit the ground running next year.

10. Michigan
The Big Ten's second best running game should shine again as long as Mike Hart is healthy. He has a great offensive line to work behind, and he should be a 100-yard game waiting to happen yet again. The emergence of the backups, and the hope for Kevin Grady to come back healthy, will be the key to keeping Hart fresh for the finishing kick. There are enough layup games on the schedule to get Hart on the bench relatively early.

11 Georgia Tech 
12 Oregon State
13 Rutgers
14 Oregon
15 LSU
16 Arizona State
17 Auburn
18 Maryland
19 Boise State
20 Louisville 
21 USC
22 Texas  
23 Tennessee
24 Georgia
25 Ohio State
26 Iowa  
27 Northwestern
28 Michigan State
29 Southern Miss 
30 Connecticut
31 Texas Tech
32 Kentucky
33 California
34 Florida  
35 Missouri
37 South Carolina
38 Purdue
39 Virginia Tech
40 Washington
41 TCU
42 NC State
43 Colorado State
44 Minnesota
45 Mississippi  
46 New Mexico
47 Ohio
48 Boston College 
49 Nebraska
50 Washington State
51 Central Michigan 
52 BYU
53 Florida State 
54 Notre Dame
55 Tulsa
56 Colorado  
57 Wake Forest
58 Kansas State
59 San Diego State
60 Mississippi State
61 Alabama
62 South Florida
63 San Jose State
64 Nevada
65 Pitt
66 Syracuse
67 Toledo
68 UCF
69 Bowling Green
71 Arkansas State
72 North Texas
73 Utah  
74 SMU
75 Penn State
76 Arizona  
77 Iowa State
78 Illinois
79 Kansas
80 Western Michigan
81 Indiana
82 Virginia
83 Vanderbilt
84 Stanford
85 Fresno State
86 North Carolina
87 Cincinnati
88 Duke
89 Wyoming 
90 Memphis
91 Air Force
92 Northern Illinois
93 Miami Univ.
94 Kent State
95 Houston
96 East Carolina
97 Tulane
98 Louisiana Tech
99 UL Monroe
100 UL Lafayette
101 Baylor
102 UNLV
103 Marshall
104 Akron
105 Idaho
106 Rice
107 Troy
108 UAB
109 MTSU
110 Army
111 Buffalo
112 Hawaii
113 Ball State
114 Temple
115 Florida Atlantic
116 FIU
117 Utah State
118 Eastern Michigan
119 New Mexico State