College Football Predictions: 10 RBs Certain to Rush for over 1,000 Yards

Dan Vasta@CI_StatsGuruSenior Writer IIIJune 1, 2012

College Football Predictions: 10 RBs Certain to Rush for over 1,000 Yards

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    Last season there were 47 players that ran for over 1,000 yards, and only three of those were quarterbacks.

    Not even half of those studs are returning to college football, which means there will be a boatload of new stars that will surprise us.

    Many usually end up from the non-BCS conferences, but the top players on the top teams will always get their dues (I will gladly talk about players most are unaware of). 

    So, looking at some of the top BCS running backs, here are 10 backs locked to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark. 

    Note: Feel free to shout out your favorite backs that will have zero issues topping the 1K yardage total

Knile Davis, Arkansas

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    Was there a hotter back in the entire country heading down the stretch in 2010 than Knile Davis?

    He helped lead the Razorbacks to a BCS bowl by rushing for 1,322 yards (204 carries), and he might just do it again in 2012. Davis is a freak athlete and quite the load to bring down (6’1”, 230), yet many are really questioning his ability to perform like an All-American this season.

    Even with the team turmoil, Paul Petrino and this offense can accomplish anything that is put in front of them.

    Assuming he suffers no late setbacks before the season opener, this Razorback will burst past the 1,000 rushing yard marker.

    Tyler Wilson at quarterback will spread the ball around well in the passing game; Davis will feast off on seven, six and sometimes five men fronts. It showed two seasons ago with Ryan Mallett at quarterback, and even in the SEC Davis should pick up right where he left off.

Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

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    Even coming off an injury in which many will question how much quickness he will lose (more like gain), Marcus Lattimore is a beast to be reckoned with.

    South Carolina will feed him the rock 20-25 times a game, and it isn’t as if Lattimore is a one dimensional type of back.

    He is arguably the best receiving back on the planet, and he is a true superstar capable of racking up over 1,000 yards in the month of September.

    Vanderbilt, East Carolina, UAB, Missouri and Kentucky have not had great defenses in recent memory (Mizzou and Vandy are solid), so we could see a few 150-plus yard games in rushing yards alone.

    If he will be used at all against Wofford in November, Lattimore could be eying on a special season where his name is mentioned in the Heisman.

    Certainly by late October, the soon to be junior will have well over 1,000 yards rushing and many will expect him to eclipse 2,000 yards when the season comes to an end.

Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State

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    Jooseph Randle really deserve hiss dues because Montee Ball stole all of the national attention that the Pokes star should have had going his way.

    Randle was a touchdown machine (26), but he also totaled for over 1,400 yards in an offense that had Justin Blackmon going bonkers with Brandon Weeden as his quarterback.

    Oklahoma State has many players that have a great sense of field vision, and Randle is one of those. It also helps that he is more than athletic enough to blow by would be tacklers once he gets by the front seven.

    Randle will be the focal point of the offense in 2012, and just getting more opportunities will make him a mortal lock (when healthy) to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark.

Stepfan Taylor, Stanford

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    Mr. Consistency for the Cardinal is a beast that is primed to finish his career in Palo Alto on a strong note.

    This consistent workhorse has a ton of mileage on his plate, as he has accounted for 2,770 yards, 27 TD and 521 carries!

    Those are glaring numbers, and although they do not match Montee Ball, this stud is right up there in overall production.

    Without Andrew Luck and two of the better lineman in the country, Taylor is the guy to lead the way if they expect to have anywhere near the same season they have had in recent years.

Cierre Wood, Notre Dame

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    This Golden Domer will be the workhorse for the Fighting Irish, and he will earn his dues while facing the toughest schedule in America.

    This quick, one cut back will have a legit offensive line blocking for him, but he will be going up against a few of the arguably best defenses in the country.

    Michigan State, USC, Oklahoma and Michigan all have stout defenses, and they are relentless at stopping the run. Still, even without Michael Floyd around splitting out wide, there is All-American Tyler Eifer that should help Wood out.

    A dynamic and underrated back (Wood eclipsed 1,102 yards for 9 TD on 217 carries), Wood has the potential to become a top ten overall back in the country in 2012.

    The hype of Notre Dame will get the fans going in either a positive or negative reaction, but Wood is one of the bright spots that Sound Bend’s faithful will be pumped to take the field.

Lyle McCombs, Connecticut

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    Nearly leading the Big East in rushing as a freshman is a remarkable achievement, and Lyle McCombs certainly looks like a special player in the immediate future.

    The Connecticut Huskies will get little to zero props heading into the start of the season, but they deserve a little love. Their offensive line has always been respectable for run blocking, but that is mainly because of the talent they have in the backfield.

    Donald Brown and Jordan Todman had fine careers, but McCombs may be the best one the program has ever seen.

    The guy is tough enough to see let alone to tackle because at 5’8”, McCombs will usually camp out and hide behind his lineman before he bursts past the opposing secondary.

    Even with an improved Big East slate coming up this season, look for the sensational sophomore to avoid that second year slump because he is the type of workhorse that could eclipse 1,500 yards and 300 carries!

    Note: McCombs toted it 275 times for 1,151 yards and 7 TD (8 total)

Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

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    Yes, another freshman (albeit redshirt) is coming off a sensational season in which he was third in the conference for total rushing yards.

    Giovani Bernard put together a fine freshman campaign toting the rock 239 times for 1,253 yards and 13 TD.

    Larry Fedora may be a new coach for the Heels, but any smart coach that is coming off a conference championship (C-USA) will find ways to improve both his numbers and his production.

    Book Bernard for well over 1,000 yards once again thanks to a UNC that is expected to be improved (Phil Steele has UNC at No. 13!). 

Kenjon Barner, Oregon

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    The Oregon Ducks offense is arguably the toughest to stop in America, and they have a ton of electrifying players that can do it all.

    Kenjon Barner is one of them as every touch of the pigskin is purely electric. Barner had just short of 1,000 yards as a backup for one of the best backs in the country.

    With LaMichael James gone in Eugene, Barner will fill in admirably. This stud is not only primed to break 1K in yardage, but he should have no issues topping 1,500 yard with the playmakers around him demanding attention as well.

Rex Burkhead, Nebraska

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    Rex Burkhead runs just how you would want a fierce Big Ten to grace the gridiron on fall Saturdays. Burkhead is a throwback type of back who does not mind contact one bit, but he is such a competitive guy that he literally will do anything to guide his team to a victory.

    Against Penn State, we even saw Burkhead line up center since he is so dynamic with the football in his hands.

    Outside of rushing for 1,357 yards along with his 15 TD on 284 carries, Burkhead also hauled in 21 passes for 2 TD. He is becoming a complete back and essentially is the entire Huskers offense, depending on the consistency of quarterback Taylor Martinez.

    Nebraska’s most important and valuable player in several seasons on the offensive side of the ball is this potential Big Ten Player of the Year, because without him, they would be lost.

Montee Ball, Wisconsin

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    The best running back and arguably player in the entire country is coming off setting the FBS record for most total touchdowns (39) in a season.

    Ball does have to share the load with Melvin Gordon and James White, but he will be taking a back seat to nobody!

    Running behind one of the premier lines in the country will go a long way once again, but Ball nearly broke the 2,000 yard marker in his magical junior season.

    Not only does Montee avoid facing any star defenses (save MSU perhaps twice), but the guy is just simply the best.

    His vision awareness and cutback ability makes him a can’t miss prospect for the next level, but in terms of college there is nobody you have more confidence in than Mr. Ball.

Other Running Backs Who Will Eclipse 1,000 Yards

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    Zach Line, SMU

    Silas Redd, Penn State

    Onterrio McCalebb, Auburn

    Isi Sofele, California

    Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan

    Branden Oliver, Buffalo

    Jesse Callier, Washington

    Andre Ellington, Clemson

    Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt

    Curtis McNeal, Southern California

    Cameron Marshall, Arizona State

    Isaiah Crowell, Georgia

    Eddie Lacy, Alabama

    George Winn, Cincinnati

    Perry Jones, Virginia

    Jawan Jamison, Rutgers

    Raymond Maples, Army

    D.J. Harper, Boise State

    Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State

    John White IV, Utah

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