SEC Football: Power Ranking Top 5 Running Back Tandems in the Conference
Despite the recent influx of spread offenses, the Southeastern Conference is still a ground-based league on offense. The SEC features some of the best running backs in the country.
The are multiple backs across the 14-team league that will eventually play on Sundays. With the specter of injuries constantly hanging over everyone's head, a lot of teams have resorted to a two-running-back system on offense.
The SEC features multiple running backs who are talented enough to compete for All-American honors in 2013. They will face off against the top defenses in the country on a weekly basis during the fall.
This is a look at the top running-back tandems in the SEC in 2013.
5. LaDarius Perkins and Josh Robinson, MSU
LaDarius Perkins gets lost in the shuffle when talking about great SEC running backs, but he is as productive as any back in the conference. Perkins led the Bulldogs in rushing as a junior with 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns.
Josh Robinson burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman and averaged an impressive 6.1 yards per carry. He rushed for 335 total yards with one touchdown.
Perkins will still be the workhorse in the MSU offense, but Robinson should see more carries as a sophomore. Together, they should combine for at least 1,500 yards rushing in 2013.
4. Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard, LSU
As long as Les Miles is prowling the sidelines in Baton Rouge, LSU will feature one of the nation's best rushing attacks. The 2013 season will be no different as the Tigers feature some of the most talented running backs in the nation.
With Jeremy Hill's status up in the air due to legal issues, look for Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue to get the majority of the carries in the LSU offense. With a lot of talent returning on the offensive line in 2013, both Hilliard and Blue should have plenty of holes to run through.
In 2012, injuries decimated LSU's offensive line, forcing young players on the field. The payoff for those growing pains comes in 2013 when linemen like Vadal Alexander and La'el Collins will help the Tigers have one of the stronger offensive lines in the country.
Hilliard rushed for 477 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012. He may end up being the starter in 2013 if Hill is not allowed back on the team.
Blue rushed for 275 yards and two touchdowns in 2012. He should see a lot more carries in 2013 than he did in 2012.
Hilliard and Bell could each surpass 800 yards rushing behind the Tigers' strong line in 2013.
3. Ben Malena and Brandon Williams, Texas A&M
Aggie running back Ben Malena's solid junior season was lost in all of the hubbub over quarterback Johnny Manziel. Malena rushed for 808 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
He provided the inside running game to keep defenses honest when they tried to defend the Aggies' spread attack. Malena also contributed to the passing game with 18 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Williams had to sit out the 2012 season after he transferred from Oklahoma. Williams possesses true breakaway speed to go along with his 6'0", 200-pound frame.
He will be a difference-maker in 2013. Williams has been arguably the Aggies' best offensive weapon in practice ever since he arrived on campus. Aggie fans will finally get a chance to see what he can do when it counts in 2013.
Malena and Williams should form one of the better one-two rushing combinations in the country. They should come close to 2,500 total yards between them.
2. T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, Alabama
T.J. Yeldon rushed for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He topped the century mark in his first career game against Michigan on national television and never looked back.
Yeldon is one of the top running backs in he country and will play in the NFL. However, he may not even be the best running back on his own team.
Incoming freshman running back Derrick Henry could have a similar impact in the SEC to what fans saw when Herschel Walker took the field at Georgia in 1980. Henry will remind fans of NFL running back Stephen Jackson, only he is still in college.
Some would argue that a tandem of running backs should not be ranked this high based on potential, but Henry has the kind of talent that could have him getting consideration for the Heisman Trophy as a freshman.
Yeldon and Henry should combine for over 2,000 yards rushing in 2013.
1. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, Georgia
Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are the top running-back tandem in the SEC and the country. An argument can be made that Gurley by himself is the top running back in the country.
Gurley rushed for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2012. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and was the best freshman running back to play at Georgia since Herschel Walker was toting the rock for the Bulldogs in 1980.
Marshall was actually a higher-rated recruit than Gurley and was thought by many to be the best running back in the nation when he was coming out of high school. Marshall rushed for 759 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012.
With Gurley and Marshall in the backfield, Georgia is a legitimate national title contender. The two sophomore running backs could each rush for 1,000 yards in 2013 and lead the Bulldogs to their first national title since 1980.