Unlike single-season passing records among SEC teams, which have seen 10 records since 2000, rushing records have had a longer shelf life. In fact, five teams’ single-season rushing records have stood since before 1990.

With nine 1,000-yard rushers returning in the SEC (including one QB), could this be the season some of those records get updated?

Here are the single-season rushing records for every SEC team and the level of jeopardy they’re in.


Record: Derrick Henry (2,219 – 2015)

Prediction: record safe

Why: For starters, Henry’s total is the SEC record, and he’s the only back in league history to top 2,000 yards.

Junior running back Bo Scarbrough appears to be on the brink of stardom, considering how his 2016 ended. Over his last four games, Scarbrough averaged 113.5 rushing yards on 7.2 per carry.

The problem for Scarbrough is depth. He’ll compete for touches with last year’s leading rusher Damien Harris (1,037 yards), Josh Jacobs (567) and newcomers Najee Harris and Brian Robinson.

Not to be forgotten is quarterback Jalen Hurts, who ran for 954 yards as a true freshman last season. As good as Scarbrough appears to be heading into this season, with so many potential candidates to rush the ball for Alabama, it will be difficult for anyone to get enough carries to break Henry’s record.


Record: Darren McFadden (1,830 – 2007)

Prediction: record probably safe

Why: When Rawleigh Williams retired from football after suffering a neurological injury in the spring game in May, the door was opened for sophomore Devwah Whaley to become Arkansas’ featured back.

Whaley rushed for 602 yards as a true freshman and figures to get plenty of carries as defenses focus on slowing down last year’s leading passer in the SEC, quarterback Austin Allen.

Whaley has a good chance to gain 1,000 yards and might even lead the SEC in rushing yards. But to surpass McFadden’s school record, he would need to average nearly 141 yards per game over a 13-game season. That might be expecting too much from a player in his first full season as a starter, especially with a star quarterback returning.


Record: Tre Mason (1,816 – 2013)

Prediction: record could be challenged

Why: Last season, in just 10 games, Kamryn Pettway rushed for 1,224 yards, topping the 150-yard mark five times.

But Auburn has another solid running back returning in Kerryon Johnson (894 yards in 2016) and a highly touted new quarterback in Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham, who is expected to throw a lot.

The Tigers figure to put up a lot of points and yards this season. The question is whether Pettway gets enough chances to allow him to make a run at the record.


Record: Emmitt Smith (1,599 – 1989)

Prediction: record probably safe

Why: The Gators have had a lot of great running backs since 1990, but none has been able to top Smith’s 28-year-old mark.

So, while Florida fans can look forward to the return of junior Jordan Scarlett (889 yards in 2016), it’s probably not fair to expect him to come close to doubling his output from a season ago, even as the unquestioned feature back. On the other hand, with the quarterback position unsettled, Florida might opt to run a lot.


Record: Herschel Walker (1,891 – 1981)

Prediction: record could be challenged

Why: It’s true, Nick Chubb is coming off arguably the worst of his three seasons with Georgia. It’s also true that the Bulldogs have another solid running back in fellow senior Sony Michel (840 yards in 2016).

So, why will Walker’s 35-year-old record at least be challenged this season? Consider these numbers:

  • Over his first two seasons, Chubb averaged 7.4 yards per carry
  • Last season, Chubb averaged 17.2 carries per game

So, if Chubb can get back to his average of 7.4 yards per carry, and if he can increase his carries to 18 per game, that works out to about 1,864 yards for the season, within striking distance of Walker’s record.

The catch? Those numbers are based on a 14-game season, meaning Georgia would have to make the SEC title game. (Walker, of course, set the mark in an 11-game regular season.)


Record: Moe Williams (1,600 – 1995)

Prediction: record in jeopardy

Why: As a true freshman last season, Benny Snell rushed for 1,091 yards while splitting time with Stanley “Boom” Williams.

Now the starting job belongs solely to Snell. And it’s not unreasonable to think that his carries could increase from 14 per game to 20 this year. At his freshman average of 5.9 yards per carry, that would mean Snell could have over 1,500 yards assuming the Wildcats play in a bowl game.


Record: Leonard Fournette (1,953 – 2015)

Prediction: record could be challenged

Why: Fournette’s total is the second-highest in SEC history.

Splitting time with an oft-injured Fournette last season, Derrius Guice still managed to lead the SEC in rushing yards (1,387). With Fournette off to the NFL, the job is all Guice’s.

However, to reach the school record Fournette set as a sophomore, Guice will need to average about 43 more yards a game than last season. That could be asking a bit much, but it’s not impossible.

Ole Miss

Record: John “Kayo” Dottley (1,312 – 1949)

Prediction: record is safe

Why: Kind of hard to believe the school’s single-season rushing record has stood for nearly 70 years. But expect it to last another season, given those returning at the running back position.

The leading returning rusher for the Rebels is Eugene Brazley (261 yards). The expected starting running back, Jordan Wilkins, was academically ineligible last season.

Considering Ole Miss hasn’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2009 (Dexter McCluster, 1,169 yards), it’s hard to imagine someone coming along and topping 1,000, let alone challenging the record.

Mississippi State

Record: Anthony Dixon (1,391 – 2009)

Prediction: record will be broken

Why: Last season, not only did quarterback Nick Fitzgerald finish second in the SEC in rushing yards with 1,375, he nearly broke the single-season school record in his first season as a starter, falling just 16 yards shy of the mark.

This season, Fitzgerald seems to be poised to become one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. The feeling here is, that progression will include a new rushing record in Starkville.


Record: Devin West (1,578 – 1998)

Prediction: record could be challenged

Why: As a true freshman in 2016, Damarea Crockett rushed for 1,062 yards in 11 games while splitting carries with Ish Witter.

Both are back this season, but it appears Crockett will receive the starting nod. And if Crockett can carry his strong finish last season into 2017, the school record is in jeopardy.

Over his final six games in 2016, Crockett averaged 136.2 yards. Played out over a 12-game season, that would come out to a record-breaking 1,634 yards. And if the Tigers go to a bowl, that provides even more opportunities and a little breathing room.

South Carolina

Record: George Rogers (1,894 – 1980)

Prediction: record is safe

George Rogers has the two highest rushing totals in Gamecocks history. There is almost a 500-yard gap to No. 3 Marcus Lattimore (1,197).

Why: Rico Dowdle had a solid 2016 as a true freshman, rushing for 764 yards in nine games. That included a four-game stretch from late-October to mid-November when Dowdle averaged 130 yards a game, including 226 against Western Carolina.

But there are a couple of factors that make a serious pursuit of the record unlikely. First, it’s probably not fair to expect a running back to go from less than 800 yards to 1,900 in one season. Second, Dowdle struggled against quality opponents.

In three games against AP-ranked teams last season – Florida, Clemson and South Florida — Dowdle rushed for a TOTAL of 98 yards. South Carolina’s November schedule this season again includes games against Florida and Clemson, as well as a trip to Athens to face Georgia.

So, while it’s fair to expect a 1,000-yard season out of Dowdle, Gamecocks fans should probably leave it at that.

Rogers, who won the Heisman in 1980, did all of his damage before the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1992.


Record: Travis Stephens (1,464 – 2001)

Prediction: record probably safe

Why: This one is interesting. Last season as a sophomore, John Kelly averaged just eight carries a game, yet still rushed for 630 yards.

Because of various circumstances, Tennessee was the only team in the SEC that had four players with at least 98 carries, Kelly being one of them. Now three of those players are gone, leaving Kelly as the back to handle the load.

Tennessee is also one of two SEC schools that doesn’t return its starting quarterback from a season ago, possibly putting more emphasis on the running attack.

The biggest obstacle for Kelly is the Tennessee schedule. The Volunteers have road games at Florida and Alabama, and home games against Georgia and LSU. All four opponents figure to have good-to-elite defenses, particularly against the run.

Texas A&M

Record: Darren Lewis (1,692 – 1988)

Prediction: record is safe – for now

Why: Trayveon Williams had an excellent season as a true freshman in 2016, rushing for 1,057 yards on 6.8 per carry. Williams split time with Oklahoma transfer Keith Ford, who tallied 669 yards and also returns this season.

In addition, the biggest offensive weapon on the team is junior wide receiver Christian Kirk. Expect whomever head coach Kevin Sumlin picks as the Aggies’ starting quarterback to work at getting Kirk the ball as much as possible.

Another 1,000-yard season for Williams? Very likely.

A school record? Not yet.


Record: Ralph Webb (1,283 – 2016)

Prediction: record will be broken

Why: Webb, the Commodores’ career leader in rushing yards (3,342), has increased his production every year — from  907 to 1,152 to 1,283 yards. So why shouldn’t fans expect an even better season for Webb in 2017?

Barring injury, Webb should top his own mark and finish with four of the 10 best rushing seasons in Vanderbilt history.