2009 CFN All-Americans & Top Players - RBs
Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer
Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer
Posted Aug 11, 2009

CFN 2009 All-Americans and Top 25 Players - Running Backs

Preview 2009 ... All-Americans

Running Backs

- CFN Preview 2009
- CFN's Top 200 Players of 2009

2009 All Americans  | 2008 CFN All-Americans
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2009 1st Team All-Americans

Jahvid Best, Jr., California
Cal has become a factory for NFL backs, sending four players to the pros in just the last six drafts. Best is next in line. One of the most explosive athletes in America and a Heisman contender, he burst out of the shadows of Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett in 2008. In an All-Pac-10 campaign, he rushed for a league-high 1,580 yards, caught 27 passes, and finished No. 2 nationally in all-purpose yards. A true gamebreaker in the Reggie Bush mold, the 5-10, 195-pounder is one of those rare offensive stars, who can change a game with one play and must be accounted for at all times.

C.J. Spiller, Sr., Clemson
The 5-11, 195-pound senior C.J. Spiller finally has the feature role all to himself. After going back and forth on whether to turn pro early, he decided to return and pursue some of his individual, personal, and team goals. The NFL Draft will be there next April, as will a fat first-day signing bonus. The author of 12 school records, including all-purpose yards, he’s one of the most versatile game-breakers in the country. Despite starting just seven games in three years, he’s rushed for 2,335 yards, caught 87 passes, and scored 30 touchdowns, including seven of at least 80 yards. With his speed and acceleration, you can forget about catching him once he gets into space.

25 Best Running Backs
1. Jahvid Best, Jr., Cal
2. C.J. Spiller, Sr., Clemson
3. Jonathan Dwyer, Jr., Georgia Tech
4. Kendall Hunter, Jr. Oklahoma State
5. LeGarrette Blount, Sr., Oregon
6. Jacquizz Rodgers, Soph., Oregon State
7. MiQuale Lewis, Sr., Ball State
8. Damion Fletcher, Sr., Southern Miss
9. John Clay, Soph., Wisconsin
10. Noel Devine, Jr., West Virginia
11. James Starks, Sr., Buffalo
12. Eugene Jarvis, Sr., Kent State
13. Ryan Mathews, Jr., Fresno State
14. Victor Anderson, Soph., Louisville
15. Charles Scott, Sr., LSU
16. Darrell Scott, Soph. Colorado
17. Derrick Washington, Jr. Missouri
18. Reggie Arnold, Sr. Arkansas State
19. Michael Smith, Sr., Arkansas
20. Evan Royster, Jr., Penn State
21. Anthony Dixon, Sr., Miss State
22. DeMarco Murray, Jr. Oklahoma
23. Bryce Beall, Soph., Houston
24. Toby Gerhart, Sr., Stanford
25. Chris Brown, Sr. Oklahoma
*Darren Evans of VT was No. 4 before going out for the year with a knee injury.
2009 2nd Team

Jonathan Dwyer, Jr., Georgia Tech
Sometimes a player is a hand-in-glove fit with a system. Junior Jonathan Dwyer and the option is just such a marriage. The reigning ACC Player of the Year, he emerged as one of the nation’s premier backs, rushing for 1,395 yards and a dozen scores on only 200 carries and catching eight balls for 209 yards and another score. The B-back, or feature runner in this offense, he’s already built for a career at the next level, combining the punishing skills of a fullback with the 4.4 jets and cutback ability of a much smaller tailback. With enough carries and support up front, he’s a legitimate Heisman contender.

Kendall Hunter, Jr. Oklahoma State
Hunter followed up a nice 696-yard, ten touchdown season by turning in one of the best seasons of any runner in America. Not only did he rush for 1,555 yards and 16 touchdowns, while catching 22 passes for 198 yards and a score, but he was tremendously consistent. He ran for 90 yards or more in 11 games before being held to 84 yards by Oklahoma and 37 against Oregon. At 5-8 and 190 pounds, he's not all that big and he's not a blazer, he rips off yards in chunks, is great at getting through the hole, and is ultra-reliable as both a workhorse runner and a receiver.

Honorable Mention

LeGarrette Blount, Sr., Oregon
Blount proved capable of sharing with others in his first year out of East Mississippi Community College, rushing for 1002 yards and 17 touchdowns, while splitting carries. Now that Jeremiah Johnson is gone, he'll get a bigger spotlight and more than last year's 137 carries. At 6-2 and 229 pounds, he's a powerful runner, but will also run past defenders and has shocking agility and change-of-direction for such a big back. If the rebuilt line cooperates, he's capable of delivering one of the best seasons by a back in program history.

John Clay, Soph., Wisconsin

It took about a half a season, and then Clay showed why he was one of the nation's top running back recruits two years ago. The 6-2, 247-pound sophomore has the look of the next great Badger back with size and stunning speed; he was a star high school sprinter who was good enough to be a part of the 4x100 Wisconsin state finals two years in a row. He had three 100-yard games in the final four in the regular season finishing second on the team with 884 yards and nine touchdowns with a 5.7-yard-per-carry average, highlighted by a 111-yard, one touchdown day on just 14 carries against Michigan State. Not used as a receiver, he only caught one pass for two yards, but that will change with his increased role in the offense. He hasn't had to be a workhorse yet, carrying the ball more than 20 times just once, and he had a problem with an ankle injury this spring, but he'll play through the little stuff and should be a lock for at least 1,200 yards and 15 touchdown.

Damion Fletcher, Sr., Southern Miss
The 5-10, 177-pound Fletcher was reinstated after a rocky offseason and a suspension for gun-related charges. The offense needs him. One of the nation's most productive backs over the last three seasons, he's gobbled up 4,287 yards and 36 touchdowns on the ground to go along with 80 receptions for 615 yards and a score. A prototypical slasher, he has tremendous vision in the hole and almost never gets taken down behind the line of scrimmage. While not a gamebreaker, he's a professional, intelligent runner, who gets the most out of every carry

Noel Devine, Jr., West Virginia
Now that Pat White is with the Miami Dolphins, Devine is poised to take over as the star of the offense. He really came into his own a year ago, turning 206 carries into 1,289 yards and four touchdowns, while catching 35 passes for 185 yards. Lightning quick at 5-8 and 175 pounds, he's almost impossible to corral in the open field. He's got blazing speed, insane cutback ability, and a knack for hiding behind his linemen until it's time to burst into daylight. A home run waiting to happen, he's averaged almost seven yards a carry in his first two seasons.

MiQuale Lewis, Sr., Ball State
Lewis always had the talent, but he never had the health. From a torn ACL that knocked him out of the 2007 season, to a shoulder injury that limited him a few years ago, Lewis wasn't able to show what he could do. And then came last year when he was finally able to stay injury-free and the former coaching staff rode him into the ground. Lewis, who's only 5-6 and 184 pounds, was the best player in the MAC finishing with 1,736 yards and 22 touchdowns while finishing third on the team with 35 catches for 325 yards. He's lightning quick and great at being able to hit the hole and blow through it, but for his size, he's able to run with surprising power. While he was held to 35 yards in the embarrassment against Tulsa, Lewis was dominant the rest of the year with 11 100-yard games and five with more than 150 yards.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Soph., Oregon State
Rodgers became an overnight and improbable superstar in his first season out of high school, becoming the first freshman ever to be named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the year. A blend of shiftiness and power in a compact, 5-7, 193-pound frame, he's always moving forward and surprisingly difficult to bring down. Despite not being the starter when the season began and missing the final two games, he wound up with 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns on 259 carries, adding 29 receptions for 247 yards and another score.