2009 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings ... RBs
Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer
Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer
Posted Aug 12, 2009

CFN 2009 Preview Unit Rankings - Running Backs Ranked 1 to 120


Preview 2009 ... Unit Rankings

Running Backs

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

CFN 2009 Unit Rankings
- Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defenses | Defensive Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries  | Special Teams

1. Georgia Tech
With all due respect to Oklahoma and USC, Georgia Tech, too, belongs in the discussion when it comes to  the nation’s most talented collection of running backs. Not only is Jonathan Dwyer a bona fide All-American candidate, but he’s now surrounded by a terrific ensemble that’ll keep defenses from focusing on stopping him. If opponents commit too many resources to stopping the junior, Roddy Jones, Anthony Allen, and Marcus Wright will make them pay.

2. Oklahoma
Lost in all the bells and whistles of what Sam Bradford did with the nation's third best passing game was a rushing attack that tore off 2,779 yards and 45 touchdowns averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray form an NFL-quality tandem, while Matt Clapp is a tremendous fullback who'll pave the way when needed. Calhoun will soon be a great one.

3. California
If everyone stays healthy, and that's no sure-thing, this will be one of the most exciting big-play backfields in the country. Jahvid Best is an ethereal figure with the ball in his hands, but his track record of getting banged up should somewhat temper enthusiasm as the Heisman hype begins to percolate. Shane Vereen is a strong No. 2.

4. Oklahoma State
After finishing eighth in the nation in rushing two years in a row, it'll be a stunner if OSU isn't in the top ten again as long as QB Zac Robinson is healthy. The backfield is loaded with talented runner with Kendall Hunter an All-American, Keith Toston a fantastic No. 2. and more talent on the way from a strong recruiting class. Durability has been a problem in the past, but there are too many options to worry much about one injury, even to Hunter.

5. Wisconsin
It's Wisconsin, so the running game was solid with a Big Ten-leading 211 yards per game, but it didn’t control games as much as it should have. With P.J. Hill’s ill-advised early jump to the NFL, the time is now for Zach Brown to be an even bigger part of the attack while John Clay will go from being a strong No. 2 to one of the nation’s leading rushers. A top-blocking fullback needs to emerge and the line has to undergo some changes, but Clay and Brown will be the stars of the show.

6. Clemson
What is C.J. Spiller capable of doing when he doesn’t have to share touches? We’re about to find about. Fresh and poised to make his decision to return look good, there’s no limit to what he’s capable of achieving this fall. Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington will get weaved into the picture before commanding much bigger roles in 2010.

7. Georgia
The running game will be relied on more now that Matthew Stafford is gone, and Georgia has more than enough backs to handle the work even without Knowshon Moreno. If Caleb King isn't getting the job done, then Richard Samuel will step in. If Samuel is having problems, then Carlton Thomas, Dontavius Thomas, or Washaun Ealey will step in. The backfield is loaded and will blow up behind the great Bulldog O line.

8. Colorado
It's not a stretch to call this the most talented group of backs in the Big 12, especially if Darrell Scott turns out to be as good as expected. There are four excellent options, including Demetrius Sumler and Rodney Stewart, who can all fly and can all make things happen. There should be a good rotation and a great year if there's some help from the line.

9. Oregon State
Well, it didn’t take the program long to recover from the loss of Yvenson Bernard, did it? After taking the country by storm in 2008, what can Jacquizz Rodgers possibly do for an encore. If he can stay healthy for the entire season, a concern in Corvallis, he’ll stockpile the numbers and the individual accolades for a second straight season. Ryan McCants is a strong, reliable No. 2.

10. USC
As is the case with so many Trojan units, Pete Carroll will be forced to perform a juggling act to be sure that all of his best skill position players are well fed throughout the year. It’ll be a weekly challenge. Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight, assuming he’s healthy, to get the bulk of the work, while C.J. Gable, Allen Bradford, and even Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler scrap and claw for a bigger spotlight. With so much talent, and with the nation's best line to run behind, the backs and the running game have to be more consistent. Finishing 22nd in the nation in rushing, like last year, isn't good enough for this backfield.

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