2010 CFN All-Americans & Top Players - RBs
Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers
Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers
Posted Aug 17, 2010

CFN 2010 All-Americans and Top 30 Players - Running Backs

Preview 2010 - Running Backs

All-Americans & Top 30 Players

2010 CFN All-Americans & Top 30 Players
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Tight Ends
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- 2009 CFN All-Americans | 2008 CFN All-Americans

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Note: This isn't a ranking of the top pro prospects. This is based on the seasons we think the players are going to have. 


1. Mark Ingram, Jr. Alabama
Ingram was great as a true freshman, thumping away for 728 yards and a team-leading 12 touchdowns, but no one saw what was coming next. With a special combination of speed, shiftiness, and power, the 5-10, 215-pounder cranked out 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns, along with 32 catches (finishing second on the team in receptions) for 334 yards and three scores, on the way to becoming Alabama's first Heisman trophy winner.

Others ran for more yards and others came up with more impressive stats, but Ingram's worth was his ability to come up big in the biggest of games and the tightest of moments. For a team that relied on good defense, solid special teams, and a bruising running game, he was the sparkplug who made everything else go with 150 yards and a score against Virginia Tech, 246 yards and a score against South Carolina, 155 yards against LSU, and a Heisman-clinching 113-yard, three touchdown, two-catch, 76-receiving-yard SEC Championship against Florida. If there was any doubt about whether or not he was worthy, he came through big against the tremendous Texas run defense tearing off 116 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

2. John Clay, Jr. Wisconsin
As the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, Clay is on the list of legitimate Heisman candidates after running for 1,517 yards and 18 touchdowns hitting the 100-yard mark in each of the final six games including 121 yards against Miami in the bowl game and 151 against Michigan. Not just a big bruiser, he can fly when he gets into the open field with the speed to be a part of 4x100 in the Wisconsin state high school finals two years in a row. While he's not used as a receiver, he has the hands to have a few screens and delays come his way. The key will be staying healthy after undergoing surgery on both ankles this offseason.

He might have been able to get through the year without missing a game, but he was banged up late, mostly with an ankle problem, and took his share of big shots. It's salary drive time as he has the talent and potential to be a first rounder with another big season, but he has to prove he can play through everything and he has to show he can be the main man against the top-shelf defenses. He might have been fine against Miami, but he ran 41 times for 144 yards in the losses to Ohio State and Iowa. Over the last two seasons, Wisconsin is 9-2 when the 6-1, 248 pounder gets 100 yards or more.


3. Jacquizz Rodgers, Jr. Oregon State
Go ahead and include the 5-7, 191-pound Rodgers on the short list for just about any individual award this season; he is that special. Healthy for an entire season, he displayed his full arsenal of skills rushing 273 times for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns , and catching 78 passes for 522 yards and another score. He also threw a touchdown pass on his only attempt. A confluence of shiftiness and unexpected power in that compact frame, he won't dance around and is always moving forward for more yards. Destined to be one of the best to ever play in Corvallis, injuries about the only thing capable of slowing him down this season.

4. Dion Lewis, Soph. Pitt
There's no way Pitt was going to adequately replace LeSean McCoy in such short notice. Yeah, right. Good luck convincing Lewis, who authored one of the great true freshman seasons ever for a back. Almost completely bypassed out of high school because of his 5-8, 195-pound frame, he erupted for 1,799 yards and 17 touchdowns on 325 carries. He added 25 catches for 189 yards and another score in an unexpected national coming-out party. Forget the size thing. He runs much tougher than expected, and has the vision and cutback ability to pick up yards even when it appears there's nothing there.


5. Ryan Williams, Soph., Virginia Tech
With Darren Evans out for the 2009 season, the ground game failed to skip a beat with Williams running 293 times for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also caught 16 passes for 180 yards and a score in an epic debut. A solid 5-10, 211-pounder, he wastes no movement getting to the hole and has the wiggle and game-breaking speed to cripple defenses in the open field.

6. LaMichael James, Soph. Oregon
In one of the strangest developments of 2009, the 5-9, 180-pound James turned the opening day suspension of LeGarrette Blount into his personal launching point to stardom. Who could've imagined? Thrust into the starting role, he responded with 1,546 yards and 14 touchdowns on 230 carries, adding 17 catches for 168 yards. A model of consistency, he went over 100 yards nine times, shredding rival Oregon State for 166 yards and three scores. Like a missile coming out of the backfield, he hits the hole with authority, runs with great vision, and can make defenders look silly with his shake-and-bake in the open field. Oh, and don't be fooled by his size. He's tougher than he looks and won't be brought down by arm tacklers. Now a sophomore, he'll begin vying for national honors after serving a one-game suspension for a domestic violence charge.


7. Daniel Thomas, Sr. Kansas State
Thomas went from being a top JUCO transfer into a possible first round draft pick. The 6-2, 228-pounder is getting a long look as one of the top next-level NFL prospects after running for 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns averaging 5.12 yards per carry while also adding 25 catches for 257 yards. With size, speed, and workhorse ability, he's also a passing threat after serving as a dual-threat option at NW Mississippi JC. The Wildcats were 4-1 when he ran for 100 yards or more last season, and he'll be the focal point of the attack once again. The key will be able to produce when he's the focus of the entire opposing defensive game plan. Of his 100-yard games, none came against a team that went to a bowl, two were against the FCSers (UMass and Tennessee Tech), and the other three were against Louisiana, Colorado, and Kansas.

8. Donald Buckram, Sr. UTEP
The singular bright spot in last year's 4-8 campaign was the improbable eruption of the 5-10, 195-pound Buckram into a contender for national awards. Oft-injured throughout his career, he finally put it all together for a dozen games, rushing for a school-record 1,594 yards and 18 touchdowns on 259 carries. He also added 30 catches for 453 yards and three scores to lead the country in yards from scrimmage. One of the fastest players in El Paso, he's a slasher, who isn't afraid to run between the tackles and does a surprisingly nice job of bouncing off tacklers.

9. Evan Royster, Sr. Penn State
Franco Harris, Curt Warner, John Cappelletti, Ki-Jana Carter, Blair Thomas, Larry Johnson, Curtis Enis … senior Evan Royster could turn out to be the most productive Penn State running back ever needing just 482 yards to pass Lydell Mitchell as the school's all-time leading rusher. Along the way, he could be a top five pick in next year's draft. With 6-1, 213-pound size, smarts, and breakaway speed, he has all the tools to be phenomenal at the next level, but first he has to carry the offense with so many issues with the quarterbacks and the passing game. Working behind a mediocre line (by Penn State standards), he tore off 1,169 yards and six touchdowns last year, but scored only twice on the ground over the final eight games. With a few breaks and good healthy, he could easily double his scoring production and could run for well over 1,500 yards. He has had problems with a sprained knee and a bad ankle in the past, but he has been relatively durable.

10. Bernard Pierce, Soph. Temple
All Pierce did as a true freshman was rip apart the MAC and carry the offense to a huge season rushing for 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns with a 212-yard, three-touchdown day against Toledo and 267 yards and two scores against Navy. However, he broke down with shoulder injury after carrying too much of the workload, and he missed the key game of the year, the regular-season finale against Ohio, and was limited against UCLA. At 6-0 and 218 pounds, the sophomore is big, runs with power and quickness, and has the potential to be used more as a receiver after catching just eight passes for 39 yards.

11. Noel Devine, Sr. West Virginia
12. Trent Richardson, Soph. Alabama
13. Vai Taua, Sr. Nevada
14. Jordan Todman, Jr. Connecticut
15. Kendall Hunter, Sr. Oklahoma State
16. Alexander Robinson, Sr. Iowa State
17. DeMarco Murray, Sr. Oklahoma
18. Montel Harris, Jr., Boston College
19. Victor Anderson, Jr. Louisville
20. Marcus Lattimore, Fr. South Carolina
21. Matt Asiata, Sr. Utah
22. Anthony Allen, Sr., Georgia Tech
23. Lance Dunbar, Jr. North Texas
24. Chad Spann, Sr. Northern Illinois
25. Christine Michael, Soph. Texas A&M
26. Isaiah Pead, Jr. Cincinnati
27. Shane Vereen, Jr. California
28. Alfred Morris, Soph. Florida Atlantic
29. Mario Fannin, Sr. Auburn
30. MiQuale Lewis, Sr. Ball State

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