ESPN’s The Undefeated has taken on the monumental task of ranking the 50 best black athletes of all time across all sports, covering everyone from LeBron James to Muhammad Ali to Wille Mays (and 47 others). The SEC has produced some legendary some legendary running backs over the years, and three made the cut for Undefeated’s list:

  • No. 34 – Herschel Walker
  • No. 25 – Bo Jackson
  • No. 19 – Emmitt Smith

When the debate focuses on play at the college level, Walker is almost always ranked the highest of the three. Jackson’s two-sport talents landed him his own “30 for 30” film , but for The Undefeated’s list, it’s Smith’s NFL accomplishments that put him in the top 20:

On Oct. 27, 2002, with an 11-yard carry in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks, Smith broke the late Walter Payton’s 18-year record for career rushing yards. After two more seasons, Smith finished his 14-year career in 2004 with 18,355 yards rushing, a virtually untouchable record he still holds to this day at more than 5,000 yards ahead of the next closest active player. Yet, if his rushing total doesn’t sell Smith as one of the greatest running backs ever, if not the greatest, take a closer look at his stats. Smith rushed the ball into the end zone 164 times in his career, ranking him No. 1 all time in career rushing touchdowns.

Michael Jordan comes at No. 1 overall on the list, which includes notable SEC non-football SEC alumnus Shaquille O’Neal at No. 16, can be found here.