Maurice Clarett was headed toward a stellar college career after topping off a 1,237-yard, 18 touchdown freshman campaign by playing a key role in Ohio State's national championship win over the Miami Hurricanes.
Unfortunately for Clarett, that would be the sum total of his football accomplishments, and also leaves him just short of the following list of the top five all-time college freshman running backs.
Mississippi wasn't known as a traditional hunting ground for college running backs—that is, until Philadelphia, MS native Marcus Dupree made his way to Norman, OK.
Though he didn't start until the second half of the season, Dupree still racked up four 100-yard rushing performances, on his way to 905 yards and 13 touchdowns for the season.
He was named Big Eight Newcomer of the Year and the AP All-Big Eight first team. If that wasn't enough, he also graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in November, 1982.
Dupree ended his freshman year by gaining 239 yards on 17 carries against Arizona State in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl and was named Most Valuable Player, depsite only playing half the game and the Sooners losing, 32-21.
Dupree's mark still stands as the all-time Fiesta Bowl rushing record.
Though he'll always be remembered as the engine that made the Greatest Show on Turf go, Faulk initally leapt on the national stage and into the NCAA record books as a freshman at San Diego State.
On Sept. 14, 1991, Faulk torched Pacific for 386 yards rushing and seven touchdowns (both NCAA records) and went on to finish the season with 21 rushing scores (also an NCAA record).
Going to St. Louis later in his NFL career wasn't a stroke of luck; it was just a continuation of what he'd always done.
Adrian Peterson, in the tradition of Texas running backs who played for the Sooners, not only turned down the Longhorns—but USC, Miami, Arkansas, and UCLA as well.
Too bad for them. Peterson, nicknamed "All Day," imposed his will on the NCAA record book in 2004 with four all-time freshman records: most rushes in a season (339); most yards gained in a season (1,925); most games gaining 100 yards or more (11) and most consecutive games gaining 100 Yards or more (9).
He was also the Heisman Trophy runner-up that year to USC's Matt Leinart.
And though Peterson still counts the 43-42 overtime loss to Boise State in the 2007 Orange Bowl as one of his worst memories, surely his freshman year was one of his best.
Long before he became a Dallas Cowboys mainstay and two-time Super Bowl champion, Bill Bates was an All-SEC safety at Tennessee.
He, unknowingly, ushered in the Herschel Walker era by getting run over en route to the Bulldog freshman's first career touchdown (it's still available on YouTube) in a 16-15 Georgia upset win at Knoxville.
Walker would go on to set the all-time freshman rushing record that season (1,616 yards) and help lead Georgia to an undefeated season and the 1980 National Championship.
Walker and Bates would meet again as teammates with the Cowboys in 1986, though this time Bates would have the last laugh.
He ended up with two Super Bowl rings, thanks to Walker's 1989 trade to Minnesota that set the whole thing in motion.
Ron Dayne was never flashy—he didn't have to be. As a freshman in 1996, the Wisconsin bruiser surpassed Hershel Walker's all-time freshman rushing record by more than 200 yards (1,863 yards) and instantly raised the Badgers' national profile along with a lot of welts on the competition.
He finished his career with a Heisman Trophy and the all-time (four-year) career rushing record of 6,397 yards. Statistically, he was the best running freshman running back of all-time.