College Football Pre-Season: 2008 Top 10 Running Backs

Gustavo DestroSenior Analyst IJuly 2, 2008

College Football is a great little machine. No matter the year, you are sure that great players will have great seasons and no matter the position, there will always be a discussion on which player is better.

Even with the loss of players such as Darren McFadden, Steve Slaton, Ray Rice, and Mike Hart, 2008 has as good a crop of running backs as any year this decade.

So, without further ado, here it goes:


1. Chris 'Beanie' Wells, Ohio State

With all the hate that Ohio State receives every year, one thing nobody can question is the amount of talent the Buckeyes produce every year and Beanie is a prime example.

Even with a couple of nagging injuries all throughout last year, he still rushed for over 1,600 yards and scored fifteen touchdowns.

Now, healthy entering the season, and running behind an O-line that returns four starters and plugs in the best OL prospect (Mike Adams) at Right Tackle, expect Beanie to run for over 1800 yards and help Ohio State win another Big 10 title.


2. Ian Johnson, Boise St.

Injuries slowed Johnson down last year (207 carries, down from 276 in 2006) and limited him to 1,041 yards rushing (he did score 16 TDs).

But expect Johnson to have another great year for a team that is good enough to crash the BCS party for the second time in three years.

The only thing that could diminish Johnson's production, besides injuries, is the fact that Boise St. has tremendous depth at the running back position and if his coaches choose to, Johnson could see limited touches early on in the season.


3. Knowshown Moreno

From being a complete unknown to a household name.

That's the easiest way to describe Moreno's season, and he did most of the damage in the second half of the year. After only one 100-yard performance in the first six games of the season (15 carries/game), Moreno exploded for five 100-yard games and 11 TDs in the final seven (23 carries/game).

With a five game stretch that saw him run for 157, 188, 196, 101, 124 yards Moreno finished strong.

If Moreno plays like he did for the second-half of the '07 season, expect him to get an invite to NYC.


4. DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma

I am still not sold on Oklahoma as the class of the Big 12, but I am sure Murray will take that Conference by storm and keep many defensive coordinators awake at night.

He showed what he could do last year before injuring his knee with two games remaining in the regular season by scoring 13 rushing touchdowns in only 127 carries (1 TD per 9.7 carries) and also returned two kickoff for touchdowns.

With Allen Patrick graduating, Murray will have plenty more touches and, barring any injuries, will definitely eclipse 1,000 yards.


5. Noel Devine, West Virginia

Even in his first year, while splitting carries with Pat White and Steve Slaton, Devine still managed to run for 627 yards and 6 TDs.

His big-play ability is undeniable (8.6 yard per carry) and with more touches this year, Devine will create many more highlights and will more than likely surpass 1,000 yard and even with White cutting into his touchdown count, 10 TDs is a very realistic number.

New Head Coach Bill Stewart will employ a spread option offence just like Rich Rodriguez, so Devine will still have the ability to make plays in space, just the way he likes it.


Rounding out the Top 10:

6. PJ Hill, Wisconsin

7. CJ Spiller, Clemson

8. LeSean McCoy

9. Darrell Scott

10. Joe McKnight


Disagree? Was your favourite running back not on the list? Was player X too high or too low? Well, the comment box is made for you.

Let the discussion begin.