Published October 12, 2011 - 10:45am
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We’ve reached the midway point of the 2011 season, and the SEC running backs are plentiful this season – stronger than seasons past, even with no Knile Davis.
Here is how the rankings stackup midway through the 2011 season:
10. Tauren Poole, Tennessee
9. Jeff Scott, Ole Miss
8. Vick Ballard, Mississippi State
Tauren Poole has struggled this season for Tennessee because the Vols cannot get anything going on the ground. Poole has 325 yards on 78 carries and only one touchdown. Poole rushed for 1,000 yards last year, but it looks like that will come to an end this season unless things change drastically on Rocky Top…Jeff Scott has been Ole Miss’ MVP this season. He has 350 yards rushing on the year with five touchdowns, and he has been a menace in the punt return game as well. He is the spark plug Ole Miss was looking for this season…Vick Ballard started off the year hot against Memphis, but the offense has cooled down somewhat because of stiff competition. Ballard has gained 531 yards on 85 carries, and he is very gifted at the position. Last year, Ballard led the SEC in scoring, but he is not having that much of an impact getting into the end zone like a year ago. However, I think he will have a strong second half of the year for State.
7. Eddie Lacy, Alabama
6. Isaiah Crowell, Georgia
5. Chris Rainey, Florida
Eddie Lacy has proven he can be a formidable No. 2 running back and a perfect combination with Trent Richardson. Lacy has 46 carries for 397 yards and five touchdowns. He has only played in five games this year, but he would be a No. 1 running back for virtually five or six teams in this league…Isaiah Crowell has arrived, and he is making his mark on the SEC in what is his freshman season in Athens. Crowell is giving the offense a sense of balance and stability by not having to rely on Aaron Murray all the time. Crowell is fourth in rushing yardage, carrying 118 times for 573 yards and four touchdowns. This kid is going to be a player throughout his career at Georgia…I’m going to get a little flack for naming Chris Rainey the fifth best back in the SEC, but that is ok. He’s super explosive, but Florida has had a hard time getting him the ball in space against better defenses – Alabama and LSU. Rainey can take it to the house on any given play, and he is the heart and soul of this Florida offense now that John Brantley is hurt. Rainey leads the team in receptions, rushing and punt returns. He has shown to be very versatile and rather durable this season.
4. Spencer Ware, LSU
3. Michael Dyer, Auburn
2. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Spencer Ware has been Mr. Steady for LSU this season. He has the perfect combination of speed and power at running back for Les Miles’ offense, and he has 105 carries for 432 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Ware will get stronger as the season goes along for LSU because of him splitting time with Michael Ford. Ware is a good-looking prospect who will get better and better…Michael Dyer is having a monster season for the Tigers this year. He is the backbone of that offense, and he’s currently third in the league in rushing with 679 yards. Dyer is also just behind Lattimore in total carries with 124. He has been a horse this year for the Auburn Tigers…Marcus Lattimore has been the offense up to week seven for South Carolina. Lattimore is leading the league in rushing (779 total yards), and he proves once again that is oh so durable, averaging over 24 carries per game. And while that might not seem like a lot, SEC linebackers put licks on ball carriers, as you well know. It’s not that Lattimore’s game has fallen any whatsoever, but Trent Richardson’s play has just elevated this season.
1. Trent Richardson, Alabama
I’m not sure there is any denying Trent Richardson has been the best running back this season. While Marcus Lattimore means more to his team, Trent is a beast. He runs through would-be tacklers every time he hits the hole. Trent is second in the SEC in rushing yards (729), behind Lattimore, but he’s leading the league in rushing touchdowns (11) and leading the league in scoring (72 total points). Richardson has been a beast by any account this season, and I think he is the top running back midway through this 2011 season.