Spring position rankings:
- SEC’s All-Spring Team
- Top 10 Offensive Players
- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Linemen
- Top 10 Defensive Players
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Defensive Backs
The SEC may look much different at the quarterback position, but the running back position returns so much talent, experience and players you know all about. Great running backs have been the offensive backbone of the SEC’s dominant BCS era, and that will continue on into the future.
With Jeremy Hill and Tre Mason gone to the NFL, let’s take a look at the SEC’s top returners ahead of spring practice. This list also does not include Georgia running back Keith Marshall, who is returning from a season-ending knee injury and hopes to be ready for the start of the season. When healthy, he’s a top five SEC back.
10. Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn (SR)
9. Terrance Magee, LSU (SR)
8. Jerron Seymour, Vanderbilt (JR)
Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for 610 yards and six touchdowns, and he’ll try and replace Tre Mason’s every-down production in 2014. He has a position to win this spring…Terrance Magee seemingly came out of nowhere. Neither Alfred Blue nor Kenny Hilliard got many touches because Magee took them all. He rushed for 626 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per carry. He’ll play a bigger role in 2014…Jerron Seymour is one of the best players you’ve never heard of. He’s not a home run hitter, but he’s a between the tackles plugger who creates production. He recorded 164 carries for 716 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013.
7. Derrick Henry, Alabama (SO)
6. Kenyan Drake, Alabama (JR)
5. Jonathan Williams, Arkansas (JR)
Derrick Henry deserves to be on this list, but where? Henry didn’t have the numbers or the touches of any of the other players, but the Sugar Bowl should be all the proof anyone needed. He’s going to be a star. He finished with 382 yards rushing and three touchdowns…All the talk is about TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry, but Kenyan Drake was the Tide’s offensive spark plug in 2013. Drake rushed for 694 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards per carry…Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins formed a nice duo, and Williams still rushed for 900 yards and four touchdowns sharing carries with a 1,000-yard rusher and defenses knowing exactly what’s coming every single play.
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4. Alex Collins, Arkansas (SO)
3. TJ Yeldon, Alabama (JR)
2. Mike Davis, South Carolina (JR)
Alex Collins exploded onto the scene last season, and he was one of two offensive threats for the Hogs. Collins rushed for 1,026 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. His running style will remind you of Trent Richardson, and he’s ultra-talented…TJ Yeldon could be the country’s top running back, but he has to stop fumbling. Yeldon has rushed for 2,343 yards and 26 touchdowns in two full seasons, and he’ll be a big-time Heisman contender in a stacked backfield for the Tide. How will Alabama keep all those backs hungry and satisfied?…Mike Davis is a star for the Gamecocks, and he rushed for 1,183 yards and 11 touchdowns last season in his first year as a full-time starter. He’s physical; he’s tough, and he’s not afraid to hit you in the mouth. Davis received over 200 carries this past season, and he’ll be the backbone of the Carolina offense in 2014.
1. Todd Gurley, Georgia (JR)
Todd Gurley will be on every Heisman list, and he’ll be on every SEC’s top player list. He’s a boss, who if healthy, will be a first-round pick. Gurley has rushed for 2,374 yards and 27 touchdowns in two full seasons, and he missed about four total games in 2013 due to an ankle injury. He’s the definition of a bully running back who runs through tackles with his physical style.
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