Lyle McCombs, Connecticut
During his freshman campaign at Connecticut, Lyle McCombs rushed for over 1,150 yards on 275 carries. However, the biggest knock on McCombs is that he only scored seven touchdowns, four of which came in the Huskies' first game against a weak Fordham team.
Going into just his second year at the college football level, McCombs will look to continue his steady rise as top running back in the Big East—especially in the Huskies' four biggest games to close out the season.
Zach Line, SMU
Southern Methodist's Zach Line, like the majority of the list, will enter the 2012 season seeking redemption for missing games due to injury.
In his 10 games played in 2011, Line rushed for over 100 yards in eight of them, proving his potential at the running back position. However, despite solid production from Line, the Mustangs finished the season by losing by four of their last six regular games.
Had Line played the final three games of the season he would have needed just 90 yards in each game to match his 1,494 from 2010.
Robbie Rouse, Fresno State
Rouse is one of the most promising backs on the list as he improved by over 500 yards from 2010 to 2011.
In 2011, Rouse ripped eight different opponents for 100 yards. However, his Bulldogs lost nine of their 13 games—one of them a major upset by San Jose State University.
Rouse is the biggest weapon that Fresno State has on their roster, and after finishing second in the country in rushing attempts it's clear the Bulldogs want to lean on him.