Power ranking the SEC's RBs after Week 3
In an effort to track the SEC’s best running backs, we’ll release a running top 10 each Monday. The criteria will involve a mix of talent, recent past performance, 2015 production and outlook. Often times, there will be some deserving snubs, or at least omitted players for which one can build a credible argument.
After Week 3, here are the SEC’s 10 best running backs.
POWER RANKING THE SEC RUNNING BACKS SINCE WEEK 3
10. Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt — The sophomore is much more involved in the passing game this season. Webb never had a game with more than two catches in his freshman campaign, but he’s had at least three in every game this season. Against Austin Peay, he accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). Through Week 3, defenses have been able to focus on taking Webb out of the game, but the Commodores are hoping that will change with the emergence of receiver Trent Sherfield and the chemistry he showed with QB Johnny McCrary on Saturday against Austin Peay. Any semblance of a passing game can help free Webb up to make plays like Vandy knows he’s capable of doing.
This Week: 15 carries, 54 yards, 2 TD; 3 catches, 22 yards, TD
Season: 58 carries, 192 yards, 2 TD; 13 catches, 106 yards, TD
9. Sony Michel, Georgia — It’s time to start giving Michel some love. The sophomore enters the rankings after accounting for three touchdowns against South Carolina (one rushing, two receiving). He’s scored in all three games so far this season, showing himself to be dangerous in the flats and at the goal line. It’ll be interesting when Alabama and Georgia collide in Week 5 as we get to see Henry/Drake vs Chubb/Michel to prove which school has the better one-two punch.
This Week: 8 carries, 51 yards, TD; 3 catches, 32 yards, 2 TD
Season: 26 carries, 148 yards, 2 TD; 7 catches, 141 yards, 3 TD
8. Kenyan Drake, Alabama — Drake had a rough game against Ole Miss, only posting 33 yards on 11 carries and was not a factor in the passing game. Still, Drake is second on the team in receiving yards, and he has the team’s longest play from scrimmage this season: a 69-yard reception against Middle Tennessee State. That was a week after his 43-yard touchdown run against Wisconsin. He’s proven himself to be a versatile playmaker.
This Week: 11 carries, 33 yards
Season: 27 carries, 150 yards, TD; 7 catches, 139 yards, TD
7. Peyton Barber, Auburn — The sophomore will see better days than the one he had against LSU. Barber only touched the ball a total of seven times for 34 yards in the beatdown in the Bayou, a place where nothing worked for Auburn. After all, LSU held Mississippi State to just 49 yards on the ground the previous week. Barber will look to get back to rushing for 100 yards like he did in each of Auburn’s first two games this season.
This Week: 7 carries, 34 yards
Season: 54 carries, 274 yards, TD
6. Jalen Hurd – Tennessee didn’t need Jalen Hurd to shoulder his normal workload, but Hurd still finished with 68 yards on just 11 carries in a 55-10 blowout of Western Carolina. There’s no doubt that Hurd is looking forward to this week’s matchup against Florida, which held him to 39 yards in a devastating 10-9 loss a season ago.
This Week: 11 carries, 68 yards, TD
Season: 58 carries, 300 yards, 5 TD
5. Boom Williams, Kentucky — The only thing consistently working for Kentucky against Florida’s stifling defense on Saturday was Williams, who had 80 yards on just 16 carries. Those 80 yards accounted for a little over 33 percent of the Wildcats’ offense. It wasn’t a dazzling performance running the ball, but it was against a stifling Gators defense. Kentucky may live to regret not getting Boom more carries in that contest.
This Week: 16 carries, 80 yards
Season: 40 carries, 322 yards, TD
4. Alex Collins, Arkansas — Collins had 170 yards and a touchdown in Arkansas’ loss to Texas Tech, proving that the infection that sent him to the hospital for treatment and kept him out of practices was probably the reason for his poor performance against Toledo in Week 2. Collins has 351 rushing yards up to this point, well on his way to a third straight 1,000-yard season.
This Week: 28 carries, 170 yards, TD
Season: 60 carries, 351 yards, 3 TD
3. Derrick Henry, Alabama — It didn’t help Bama’s bell cow that Ole Miss jumped out to an early lead. Otherwise, Henry may have finished with even more than his 23 carries against Ole Miss. He finished with 127 yards and reached pay dirt for an eighth straight game. His seven touchdowns are tied with Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols for the most in the FBS.
This Week: 23 carries, 127 yards, TD
Season: 54 carries, 370 yards, 7 TD
2. Nick Chubb, Georgia — It’s incredible that the No. 2 back on our list is a player that’s rushed for 100 yards in every game he’s ever started. On Saturday, Chubb rushed for 159 yards, extending his streak of 100-yard games to 11, tied with Toledo’s Kareem Hunt for the longest active streak in the FBS. While his streak certainly gets attention, Chubb has also found the end zone in 10 of those 11 career starts. The only time he didn’t score was in Week 2 against Vanderbilt. Chubb averaged 7.6 yards per carry against the Gamecocks, who were tortured by the Bulldogs’ backfield all game.
This Week: 21 carries, 159 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 56 carries, 468 yards, 4 TDs
1. Leonard Fournette, LSU — The Bayou Bruiser. Freight Train Fournette. The sophomore sensation not only moved to the top of this list, he’s now the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. Actually, the top three on this list are all Heisman candidates, so that’s almost the same thing. Fournette moves up to No. 1 from No. 3 after his 228 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Auburn. Vision, speed and power were all on display, the ingredients of a great running back. Even if you chalk it up to Auburn’s defense being bad, Fournette clearly has the skill-set to break out any given week. Some players have Heisman moments. Some players have Heisman games. That’s what Fournette had on Saturday.
This Week: 19 carries, 228 yards, 3 TDs
Season: 47 carries, 387 yards, 6 TDs
Dropped Out: Brandon Wilds, South Carolina