When considering the best running backs in college football, you have to start with the Southeastern Conference and then go from there. You can follow Northbet on Twitter to get the best betting insight around, and you have to go to the SEC to find the best running back in the land. Todd Gurley has been a dependable running back at Georgia for a few years ago, and it’s unwise to disagree with The Sporting News in its assessment of Gurley as the best in the country at his position.
Gurley has the mixture of toughness and speed to be seen as a complete running back. He’s a well-rounded player who can function well with either a steady diet of touches or a lesser amount of carries. Gurley’s experience as a teammate with Keith Marshall over the past few seasons has conditioned him to the reality that he’s not going to get the ball every time. He has demonstrated a readiness to produce when called upon, even after a stretch of a few plays in which he doesn’t see any action. That’s impressive, and it’s something you don’t always see from a top running back.
Next on the list of top running backs is Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin. The reason Gordon should be so highly recommended here is that he knows how to run behind his sturdy offensive line. Wisconsin running backs have benefited from line play over the years, but when they get to the NFL, they’re ready to contribute because they understand the craft of running. That’s part of the task of the running back: not just being tough or fast, but using blocks to find holes at the right time and make cutbacks when they need to be made. Gordon will have the ability to use his skills and get the most out of them in 2014. The Badgers are going to give him plenty of carries, and he should be ready to translate those carries into a lot of production.
The next two running backs on the list are both from Alabama. T.J. Yeldon is a great change-of-pace back, a fast runner who is great at catching the ball in open space out of the backfield. He’s such a multifaceted runner with the ability to impact a game in many ways. The other running back for Alabama who demands to be put on this list, though, is Derrick Henry. This is the power back for the Crimson Tide, a player who showed a lot in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma. Henry is going to be a bruising force, and with some experience under his belt, he’s probably going to be a beast this season.
The fifth running back on the list is Duke Johnson of Miami. Johnson is a spectacular athlete. His 2013 season was cut short by injury, but when healthy, he’s as good as you’ll find in college football. He’s more explosive a player than any of the others on this list. Health is really the one true concern.