We’ll be taking a look around the country, as well as the SEC, at five-star prospects according to Rivals.com. We’ve already looked at the quarterbacks over the last 10 years, and here are the running backs.
There are five five-star backs in the 2013 class in Derrick Green, Thomas Tyner, Greg Bryant, Ty Isaac and Taquan Mizzell. We’ll keep an eye on these five in the next few years.
There have been 34 running backs and five athletes who were all five-stars and played running back in college.
2003 – 3 RBs
Reggie Bush, USC: Bush won a Heisman and eventually became the first player to ever return it. He amassed 4,470 yards and 38 touchdowns on offense, as well as 1,522 punt return yards and three touchdowns. What a player!
Kregg Lumpkin, Georgia: Lumpkin was hampered by injuries throughout his career and shared carries with Thomas Brown, Danny Ware and Knowshon Moreno. He rushed for 1,699 yards and 17 total touchdowns in four years. He didn’t exactly live up to the hype.
Demetris Summers, South Carolina: Summers was All-SEC as a freshman, but he just played two years for the Gamecocks, totaling 1,125 yards and four touchdowns rushing and six total touchdowns. It was hardly a five-star career.
RBs ranked lower: DeAngelo Williams, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Alley Brousard, Lendale White, Lawrence Maroney, Pierre Thomas, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner, Tashard Choice and Danny Ware
2004 – 1 RB
Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma: Peterson will go down as one of the best in the history of college and the NFL. He rushed for 4,045 yards in his career with 41 touchdowns. He escaped college without winning a Heisman, and his 1,925 yards as a freshman is remarkable.
RBs ranked lower: Marshawn Lynch, Arian Foster, Danny Woodhead and Mike Hart
2005 – 5 RBs, 1 ATH
Jonathan Stewart, Oregon: Stewart played three seasons for Oregon, totaling 2,891 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. Stewart only notched one 1,000-yard season. He also returned kick offs for 1,664 yards and two touchdowns. He later went on to set the Carolina rookie rushing record with the Panthers.
Marlon Lucky, Nebraska: Lucky played all four years at Nebraska, rushing for 2,393 yards and 22 touchdowns. Lucky had one 1,000-yard season in 2007 as a junior. He later went undrafted and signed a free agent deal with the Bengals in 2009.
Jason Gwaltney, WVU: Gwaltney shunned Ohio State and USC on national TV and signed with WVU only to play one season. He rushed for only 186 yards before getting injured. He wasn’t committed to his rehab and was a complete bust.
Kevin Grady, Michigan: Grady entered Michigan with very high aspirations, but he never lived up to the hype. He played four years, but he didn’t even rush for a combined 1,000 yards in his career. He finished with 783 yards and 10 touchdowns, with 14 of them his freshman season. He later switched to fullback.
Antone Smith, Florida State: The Pahokee, Florida, product had a solid career at FSU, rushing for 2,253 yards and 26 touchdowns in four years. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Lions in 2009 and was released in July.
Darren McFadden, Arkansas (ATH): One of the more electrifying tailbacks in SEC history, McFadden was on the front end of the Wildcat under Houston Nutt. Run DMC rushed for 4,590 yards and 41 touchdowns. He logged rushing touchdowns, receiving touchdowns and passing touchdowns in three years and combined for 5,160 yards and 50 touchdowns throughout his career. He currently plays for the Oakland Raiders.
RBs ranked lower: Ray Rice, Felix Jones, Shonn Green, James Davis, Jamaal Charles, Roy Upchurch, Rashard Mendenhall and Glen Coffee
2006 – 3 RBs, 1 ATH
Beanie Wells, Ohio State: Wells rushed for 3,382 yards and 30 touchdowns in three years at Ohio State. He logged back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons as a sophomore and junior. He plays for the Arizona Cardinals.
Stafon Johnson, USC: Johnson was a stud coming out of high school, but he suffered a barbell injury in 2009 when 275 pounds came down on his throat. He had rushed for 1,395 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first three seasons. He signed a free agent deal with the Titans in 2010.
CJ Spiller, Clemson: Spiller was electric with the ball in his hands, and he had a strong career at Clemson. He combined for 4,967 yards and 43 touchdowns rushing and receiving, as well has notching over 2,000 yards and eight touchdowns as a kick and punt returner. He plays for the Buffalo Bills.
CJ Gable, USC (ATH): Gable was the No. 1 ranked athlete in 2006, but he was destined to be a running back. Gable played five years at USC, with a season-ending injury as a sophomore. He totaled 1,549 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, as well as 1,196 kick return yards for one touchdown. He signed a free agent deal with the Saints.
RBs ranked lower: Demarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, Charles Scott, Knowshon Moreno, Javarris James, Anthony Dixon, Evan Royster, and Dexter McCluster
2007 – 3 RBs, 1 ATH
Joe McKnight, USC: McKnight came to USC as the next Reggie Bush, but he wasn’t nearly as good as Bush. He combined for 2,755 yards and 15 touchdowns, while returning two kickoffs for touchdowns, too. He currently plays for the New York Jets.
Marc Tyler, USC: Tyler played four years at USC, totaling 1,751 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. He was known more for off-the-field incidents as opposed to on them. He was on the Packers’ practice squad in 2012.
Noel Devine, WVU: Devine still has the most electrifying high school video of any prospect. He had a great career at WVU, combining for 5,027 yards and 31 touchdowns on offense, while returning kickoffs for 736 yards and no touchdowns. Although he was injury prone, Devin torched defenses.
Richard Samuel, Georgia (ATH): Samuel entered Georgia with high expectations, but his career was more defined by the coaches than anything he ever did. He started at running back, then he moved to linebacker and then back to running back and fullback. He combined for just 943 total offensive yards and four touchdowns in his career.
RBs ranked lower: Alfred Morris, Jahvid Best, Jonathan Dwyer, Chris Rainey and Shane Vereen
2008 – 2 RBs
Darrell Scott, Colorado: Scott started his career with Colorado and later transferred to South Florida. He combined for 1,252 yards and six touchdowns in the three years he played between the two schools. He left school early and went undrafted.
Jermie Calhoun, Oklahoma: Calhoun was considered the best prospect since Adrian Peterson from Texas, but he had a minimal impact at OU. He was injured in just his second season before transferring to DII Angelo State in 2011.
RBs ranked lower: Mark Ingram, Cyrus Gray, Kenjon Barner, Johnathan Franklin, Ryan Williams, Brandon Bolden, Andre Ellington, Jeff Demps and LaMichael James
2009 – 3 RBs
Bryce Brown, Tennessee: Arguably the biggest bust on the list, Brown was the top overall player in 2009. He played just one season at Tennessee, rushing for 460 yards, but transferred to Kansas State, where he only rushed for 16 yards. Sure, he’s in the NFL, but he was a huge college bust.
Trent Richardson, Alabama: Unlike Brown, Richardson dominated college football. He rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns and went on to become a top-five pick in the NFL Draft. He won two championships with Alabama.
Christine Michael, Texas A&M: Michael had a good career with the Aggies. He combined for 2,791 yards and 34 touchdowns without ever having a 1,000-yard season an ACL injury in 2011.
RBs ranked lower: David Wilson, Michael Ford, Cierre Wood, Lamar Miller, Eddie Lacy, Knile Davis, Stepfan Taylor, Zac Stacy, Mike Gillislee, Tavon Austin, Stephon Jefferson and Montee Ball
2010 – 4 RBs, 1 ATH
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina: Lattimore lived up to the hype, but he couldn’t escape injuries. After two major knee surgeries, he’s entering the draft. He combined for 3,444 total yards on offense with 41 touchdowns in three years.
Michael Dyer, Auburn: Dyer wasn’t a bust, as he rushed for 2,335 yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons before leaving the Auburn program in 2012. He transferred to Arkansas State and then to Arkansas Baptist College. Dyer was key in Auburn’s 2010 championship as a freshman.
Lache Seastrunk, Oregon: Seastrunk started his career at Oregon, but he now plays for Baylor. He rushed for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012.
Dillon Baxter, USC: Baxter was a standout athlete in high school, but he never made any type of impact at USC. He combined for just 357 yards and one touchdown in two seasons, and he enrolled in Baker University in 2012.
Spencer Ware, LSU (ATH): Ware had a solid career at LSU with a star-studded depth chart. He rushed for 1,249 yards and 10 touchdowns in three seasons. He is leaving LSU early for the NFL Draft.
RBs ranked lower: Silas Redd, Giovani Bernard, Ben Malena and Brennan Clay
2011 – 6 RBs, 1 ATH
Malcolm Brown, Texas: Brown has split time at the position and logged two full seasons with the Longhorns, rushing for 1,066 yards and nine touchdowns.
James Wilder, FSU: Wilder has split time at the position in the first two years, rushing for 800 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Brandon Williams, Oklahoma: Williams played as a freshman, rushing for 219 yards, but he since transferred to Texas A&M where he will be eligible to play in 2013.
Isaiah Crowell, Georgia: Crowell rushed for 850 yards and five touchdowns before being dismissed from the program and transferring to Alabama State. Soft and selfish come to mind when discussing Crowell.
Mike Bellamy, Clemson: Bellamy played at Clemson as a freshman rushing for 343 yards and three touchdowns before being ruled academically ineligible and transferring to JUCO.
Dee Hart, Alabama: Hart played sparingly in 2012 before reinjuring his knee. He should be healthy for the 2013 season.
DeAnthony Thomas, Oregon (ATH): One of the more electrifying backs in college, Thomas has rushed for 1,296 yards and 18 touchdowns, while returning 1,372 yards and three touchdowns. He will be in Heisman talks in 2013.
RBs ranked lower: Kenny Hilliard, Tre Mason and Ka’Deem Carey
2012 – 4 RBs
Johnathan Gray, Texas: Gray just finished his freshman season at Texas and rushed for 701 yards and three touchdowns.
TJ Yeldon, Alabama: Yeldon was a key cog in the Tide’s championship run this season, and he rushed for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he’s remembered for his touchdown reception against LSU in the closing minutes.
Trey Williams, Texas A&M: Williams rushed for 376 yards and five touchdowns, while returning 25 kicks for 557 yards.
Duke Johnson, Miami: Johnson was electrifying as a freshman, rushing for 947 yards and 10 touchdowns.
RBs ranked lower: Todd Gurley, Rushel Shell, Barry Sanders, Keith Marshall and DJ Foster
Lived up to the hype
- Reggie Bush, USC
- Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
- Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
- Darren McFadden, Arkansas
- Beanie Wells, Ohio State
- CJ Spiller, Clemson
- Noel Devine, WVU
- Trent Richardson, Alabama
- Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
- DeAnthony Thomas, Oregon
- TJ Yeldon, Alabama
- Duke Johnson, Miami
Good careers but mixed reviews
- Kregg Lumpkin, Georgia
- Marion Lucky, Nebraska
- Antone Smith, FSU
- Stafon Johnson, USC
- CJ Gable, USC
- Joe McKnight, USC
- Michael Dyer, Auburn
- Christine Michael, Texas A&M
- Spencer Ware, LSU
- Demetris Summers, South Carolina
- Jason Gwaltney, WVU
- Kevin Grady, Michigan
- Richard Samuel, Georgia
- Darrell Scott, Colorado
- Jermie Calhoun, Oklahoma
- Bryce Brown, Tennessee
- Marc Tyler, USC
- Dillon Baxter, USC
- Isaiah Crowell, Georgia
- Mike Bellamy, Clemson
- Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
- Malcolm Brown, Texas
- James Wilder, FSU
- Brandon Williams, Texas A&M
- Dee Hart, Alabama
- Johnathan Gray, Texas
- Trey Williams, Texas A&M