“There is plenty of talk throughout football about how the running back has been slowly dying. Teams cannot rely on running backs to last and the pass has taken over with more running quarterbacks and wide-open offenses that use wide receivers in essentially extended handoffs to the perimeter.
It is clear though in college football, a strong running back can make a huge impact. The running back can still be king in college football in many, many ways.
Leonard Fournette is the poster boy for this. He is the vision of what a game changer a great running back can be. And that is why he leads the SEC’s 17 players in CBS Sports’ list of the 50 most impactful players in college football as the second most impactful player in the country.
“In two seasons, the native son of New Orleans has run 13 yards short of 3,000,” Dennis Dodd wrote. “For all the praise heaped on Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Fournette was the nation’s leading rusher a year ago at 162.75 yards per game. They’re calling him a Herschel Walker-like talent. That’s about the highest praise you can get in SEC land. Wait, actually, Walker telling TMZ that Fournette is ‘better than I was’ is actually the highest praise you can get.”
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson came in as the most impactful player.
But Fournette is that good. And so is the group of running backs in the country right now. Fournette is one of three running backs in the top four (Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffery the others). And there is one more in the top 10. Georgia’s Nick Chubb is just outside the top 10 at No. 12.
The SEC leads the way with impact players with 17 players on the list. Alabama has six players in the top 50, led by Jonathan Allen (No. 7) and Cam Robinson (No. 9). Tennessee has three players and Texas A&M has two. Myles Garrett of the Aggies is No. 5 on the list.
The SEC obviously has plenty of impact players. The best players in the SEC are among the very best in the country.
The full list of SEC players on the list with their rank:
48. Arden Key, LSU
44. Rueben Foster, Alabama
43. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
41. O.J. Howard, Alabama
38. Jalen Hurd, Tennessee
34. Jalen Tabor, Florida
33. Tim Williams, Alabama
30. Jamal Adams, LSU
25. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
21. Calvin Ridley, Alabama
20. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
15. Derek Barnett, Tennessee
12. Nick Chubb, Georgia
9. Cam Robinson, Alabama
7. Jonathan Allen, Alabama
5. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
2. Leonard Fournette, LSU