AUBURN, Ala. — The offseason hype continues to build for Auburn football star running back Kamryn Pettway.
On Monday, Bill Bender of Sporting News ranked Pettway inside the first five of his Top 25 running backs for the 2017 season. The Auburn junior comes in at No. 5 in Bender’s countdown, which covers all of the FBS.
“Pettway’s decision to stay in school adds another level of excitement for Auburn, which seems poised to compete for the SEC West championship,” Bender wrote. “Pettway produced 1,224 yards and seven TDs, and figures to build on that with Jarrett Stidham at quarterback.”
Pettway led the SEC in rushing yards per game last season with 122.4 per contest. He missed three games due to injury and didn’t get a single carry in Auburn’s opener against Clemson.
But the former fullback from Prattville, Ala., emerged as one of the top rushers in college football during October. He rushed for at least 160 yards in four straight games, including a 236-yard performance at Ole Miss.
“Obviously, the production he had last year was really incredible,” Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton said earlier this spring. “He went on that string of four to five weeks where he was clipping off big-time yardage in conference games for us. Once you’ve done it, you sure hope and expect that he can continue to do that again.”
While Pettway led the SEC in rushing yards per game last season, he isn’t the league’s top back on Bender’s list. LSU’s Derrius Guice leads the way at No. 2, and Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough is right behind him at No. 3.
Half of the top 10 is from the SEC, as Georgia’s Nick Chubb (No. 7) and Vanderbilt’s Ralph Webb (No. 10) made the cut as well.
Pettway opened with the fourth-best Heisman Trophy odds of any running back last month. New teammate Stidham was a few spots behind at 50-1 odds.