Small Wonders: College Football's 10 Best Pint-Sized Running Backs
Once in a while a running back comes along who may not have the toughest appearance or biggest stature, but who more than makes up for it with heart.
Last time out we looked at the tough guys; this time we look at the best little guys to ever run the ball on the college football field.
We have a few this season who may someday be part of this list, like Ball State's MiQuale Lewis, Cal's Jahvid Best, and West Virginia's Noel Devine, but here are the best running backs to play the college game that are under 5'10".
Archie Griffin, Ohio State
College football's only two-time Heisman Trophy winner was 5'9" and 189 pounds. Archie Griffin never let his size nor the size of any defender ever get in the way of gaining yardage.
Griffin led the Buckeyes in rushing all four years he was there and is one of only two college football players to ever play in four consecutive Rose Bowls.
Durability was never a factor for Griffin, as he carried the ball 924 times for 5,589 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State
Barry Sanders is a name that comes up in every discussion of the best all-time running back at every level of football.
A Heisman Trophy winner, Sanders was unstoppable and had more moves than most teams see in a decade. At 5'8", Sanders didn't need size; what he was best at was simply making defenders dive and tackle an armful of air.
While I don't believe Sanders' 39 touchdowns in a season will ever be broken, his five consecutive 200-yard rushing games are no less amazing.
Mack Herron, Kansas State
At 5'5", 170 pounds, Mack Herron may be one of the smallest running backs even on this list. If there was ever living proof that a little guy could play football, Herron was certainly it.
Herron was an All-American at Kansas State, where he had some of the gaudiest single-game numbers ever, including a single game where he had a 70-plus-yard run from scrimmage, a 99-yard kickoff return, threw a touchdown pass, and caught another for a score.
Joe Morris, Syracuse
At 5'7", 195 pounds, Joe Morris played a lot bigger and tougher than his measurements and was one of the most exciting college backs to ever play the game.
Morris averaged 146.9 all purpose yards per game and was an All-American his senior year. Morris also broke some big-time records of some big guys who preceded him at Syracuse, such as Jim Brown, Larry Csonka, and Floyd Little.
Darren Sproles, Kansas State
At 5'6", Darren Sproles is currently the shortest player in the NFL, but he always has played a big game.
At Kansas State, Sproles was a leader on the field, rushing for 45 touchdowns as a Wildcat and 4,979 yards. Of course, that doesn't even include his all-purpose yard numbers.
Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois
Garrett Wolfe is listed at 5'7", 186 pounds, but I think that might even be an stretch. What isn't a stretch was that Wolfe was one of the most exciting players ever to play college football.
The diminutive Wolfe showed up big in the big games against the big teams such as Michigan and Ohio State, where he had 285 total yards in Columbus.
Wolfe led the nation in rushing in 2006 with 1,928 yards.
Troy Davis, Iowa State
Troy Davis was a rushing yardage machine at Iowa State. Davis measured in at 5'8", 183 pounds, most of which was undoubtedly heart.
Davis led the nation in rushing for two consecutive years in 1995 and 1996 and came in second in the Heisman Trophy voting to Danny Wuerffel.
Warrick Dunn, Florida State
At 5'9", Warrick Dunn wasn't a physically imposing figure on the football field. Dunn more than made up for his lack of physical intimidation with sheer grace and speed.
What is most amazing about Dunn is the fact that he gained so many of his yards running between the tackles.
Dunn is the only Seminole to ever have three consecutive seasons rushing for more than 1,000 yards.
Quentin Griffin, Oklahoma
I'm sure there are some out there who are surprised to see the 5'7" Quentin Griffin on this list, but his career accomplishments at Oklahoma certainly merit it.
Griffin was a three-year starter who won a National Title and is fourth on the all-time Oklahoma career rushing list. Looking at the roster of big-time backs to play in Norman, this is no small feat.
Griffin also had an opportunity to break Billy Sims' all-purpose yardage record at Oklahoma but chose instead to let it stand.
Tyrell Fenroy, Louisiana Tech
Since the 5'8" Fenroy is the most recent of the players on this list, it's probably somewhat surprising that he is the least known as well.
Fenroy is one of only seven players in the history of college football to rush for over 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons. Fenroy was a walking record book last season as he smashed records on a weekly basis.