By John Michaels
This year will be the year of the RB in college football. Since 2009 a QB has walked away with the Heisman Trophy, but these 5 guys plus a few others could make a serious run at college football’s most prestigious award.
5. Royce Freeman, Oregon – Freeman was so good and so ready to play as a true freshman that the Ducks moved 1000 yard back Byron Marshall to WR before the 2014 season. Freeman while splitting time with Thomas Tyner responded with 1365 yards and 18 touchdowns. He reminds many of a faster LaGarrette Blount, so look for even bigger numbers in 2015.
4. James Conner, Pitt – Doesn’t get as much national respect as he should, simply because he plays at Pitt. Conner really does terminate opposing defenses with a bruising style. Overall, he ran 298 times for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns, earning ACC player of the year honors. The 250-pounder has even taken some snaps on defense as an end, and could top his 2014 numbers.
3. Samajie Perine, Oklahoma – Perine is built like a Greek god, and runs like a hall of famer in the making. Samajie made national headlines last year becoming the NCAA single game rushing record holder when he ran over, around and through Kansas for 427 yards and 5 TDS. He wrapped up the season with 21 scores and looks to be the bell cow for the Sooners in 2015.
2. Nick Chubb, Georgia – Chubb did in 2014 what very few could do, and that was step in for an injured Todd Gurley and pick up and maybe exceed the productivity of Gurley. Chubb only had 31 total carries in the Dawgs first 5 games, but was uber impressive after that with 1547 yards by year’s end. The backfield is still crowded with Sony Michel and Keith Marshall, but Chubb will once again be the lead Dawg in Georgia’s offense.
1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio St – I know Georgia fans will see this and say “really” you have Elliott over Chubb? My answer is yes, and the reason is simple. On the biggest stage EE shined the brightest. 220, 230 and 246 were his yardage totals in the Buckeyes last 3 games vs Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon respectively. With teams focused on the OSU QBs, Elliott once again should find more than ample running room to at minimum get an invite to New York as a finalist for the biggest trophy.
Just missing the cut….
Dalvin Cook FSU, Derrick Henry Alabama, Leonard Fournette LSU, Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins Arkansas