When compiling a list of college football’s most exciting running backs, the discussion for the No. 1 spot is centered around LSU’s Leonard Fournette.
So Tigers and SEC fans alike can take solace in the fact that NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein didn’t try any funny business when he released the list of the top 10 college running backs to watch in 2016.
Fournette, who rushed for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns in 12 games last season, was placed firmly at the top of the list.
“Fournette runs with intimidating power and understands when to challenge tacklers with brute force and when to show some shake in the open field,” Zierlein wrote. “Fournette isn’t going to dazzle many with his work out of the backfield, but his combination of size and speed could produce record-setting rushing numbers that land him a Heisman Trophy.”
However, after Fournette, there was a significant gap until the next SEC running back made his appearance on the list.
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Florida State’s Dalvin Cook understandably rounded out the Top 3, but the SEC doesn’t get mentioned again until Georgia’s Nick Chubb at No. 10.
Saddled with the weight of a comeback from a gruesome knee injury, the Bulldogs star was lower on the list than he would have been pre-injury.
“Pre-injury, Chubb showed off plus play speed, balance and an ability to run with power when called on, Zierlein wrote. “While Chubb’s success this season will be tied to his recovery, his breathtaking talent makes him one to watch if he makes it back.”
The third and final SEC running back mentioned was Tennessee’s Jalen Hurd. While the Vols’ lead back did not make the official Top 10, he did receive an endorsement in the “Others to watch” portion of the rankings:
“At 6-4, 240 pounds, he’s big, athletic, fast and no fun to tackle when he squares up his pads and drives through contact,” Zierlein wrote.
It was the second list in a NFL.com series of singling out the best college football players by position. Two SEC quarterbacks were recognized in the first installment.