Others Considered (Alphabetical): Boston College, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, USC
#10 – Florida State
Five-star Cam Akers burst onto the scene in 2017 with 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns. With the quarterback play likely improving in 2018, that should clear up space for Akers to further improve on those numbers in 2018. Akers is backed up by another five-star, Jaques Patrick.
#9 – Florida Atlantic
After a slow start to the year, Devin Singletary absolutely tore up Conference-USA in the back half of the 2017, rushing for 1,920 yards and 32 touchdowns on 6.4 yards per carry. Former Alabama commit BJ Emmons will back him up for Lane Kiffin and the Owls. The run game will be a key part to success if FAU wants to make a NY6 bowl this year.
#8 – Washington
Myles Gaskin stayed for his senior season much to the delight of Washington fans. Gaskin has been incredibly consistent in his three years with the Huskies, rushing for over 1,300 yards every season. With Washington likely becoming a College Football Playoff contender again, I’d be shocked if Gaskin doesn’t shine in the spotlight.
#7 – Clemson
Travis Etienne was one of the most important players in the country that wasn’t a household name in 2017. Etienne only rushed for 766 yards, but he did that on a 7.2 yard per carry basis, and whenever the Tigers needed some extra yards, Etienne was there to provide them. Five-star Tavien Feaster is the backup.
#6 – Oklahoma
After being hurt for pretty much the entirety of his first two years on campus in Norman, Rodney Anderson was finally able to stay healthy in 2017. Rushing for 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns on a 6.2 yards per carry average, the Sooners saw no drop-off from the run game. He is backed up by freshman Trey Sermon, who ran for 744 yards and 5 touchdowns.
#5 – Georgia
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are both gone to the NFL, yet the Bulldogs find a way to stick in the top five for the running back position group on the back of De’Andre Swift, who even behind two first-round talents, still racked up 618 yards on an incredible 7.6 yard per carry average. With a chance to step into the spotlight in 2018, he will shine.
#4 – Wisconsin
We seem to see Wisconsin up in the top five of these rankings every single year, as Jonathan Taylor is just the latest national name to be pumped out of the running back factory in Madison. Racking up 1,977 yards on 6.6 yards per carry and 13 touchdowns in 2017, Taylor was a late player in the Heisman race, and could be again this year.
#3 – Ohio State
It’s not often that a team brings back two 1,000+ yard rushers, but Ohio State is doing just that his year, as Mike Weber and JK Dobbins both return for the Buckeyes. Weber racked up his 1,096 in 2016, but after an injury, Dobbins stepped right in and put up 1,403, including a tremendous 7.2 yards per carry average.
#2 – Stanford
Bryce Love was one of two players to return that made my Heisman ballot last year (the other being UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton). Love rushed for 2,118 yards last year and 19 touchdowns, racking up an incredible 8.1 yards per carry. If he puts up those numbers again, this might be a spot too low for Love and the Cardinal.
#1 – Alabama
Yeah, we all saw this coming a mile away. Damien Harris returns after rushing for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2017, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. He is backed up by the #2 overall player in the class of 2017, Najee Harris. This is the deadliest 1-2 punch and college football, and the combination of Harris and Harris earns ‘Bama the #1 spot.