Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and the Top 20 Running Backs in SEC history

Michael CahillCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2011

Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and the Top 20 Running Backs in SEC history

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    These days the Southeastern Conference is the premiere conference in the world of college football. Teams in the SEC have been consistently ranked in the top ten and have accounted for the last five national championships. 

    This conference has seen some the very best college players, and truth be told, it's been that way for decades. One of the areas the SEC has been particularly prolific in is their running game. While other conferences, like the Big 10, have been more thought of for their big physical defenses, the SEC is all about the running back. So here are the Top 20 running backs in SEC history.

20. Tim Tebow

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    School:

    Florida

    Achievements:

    Before you discredit the entry of Tebow he is valid on this list for two reasons. 

    1.) He is the SEC career leader in rushing touchdowns. While it wasn't his position, the truth is he knew how to play the running back position. 

    2.) He rushed for 2900 yards in his career. Say what you want about Tebow, but he was arguably a better running back than he was a quarterback. 

19. Moe Williams

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    College: 

    Kentucky 

    Achievements:

    Rushed for 3,333 yards over three seasons. Averaged 5.4 yards per carry and had 27 touchdowns. He isn't the best back on this list, but he certainly belongs in the top 20. 


18. Charlie Trippey

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    School:

    Georgia

    Achievements:

    There aren't a lot of stats available for Trippey's career, but he gets the nod on this list for being a two time All-American and the 1943 Rose Bowl MVP. And, he did someone no one else on this list did: he took a two year break to fight in World War II.  

17. Felix Jones

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    School:

    Arkansas

    Achievements:

    Felix Jones didn't set the world on fire as the Arkansas back, but he did amass a very good career. In his three seasons he managed over 2,900 yards and 23 touchdowns. Nothing to blow your hair back, but impressive nonetheless.  

16. Johnny Musso

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    School:

    Alabama

    Achievements:

    In three seasons with the Crimson Tide he had 2,700 yards and 34 touchdowns. He averaged over 5 yards per carry for his last two seasons and amassed 3,200 yards from scrimmage.

15. Travis Henry

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    School:

    Tennessee

    Achievements:

    Travis Henry was a big reason why the Vols won a national championship in 1998. He had 916 yards and 8 touchdowns that year while splitting carries with Jamal Lewis. In his career he collected 3,000 yards on the ground and owned the school record with 14 100-yard games.

14. Billy Cannon

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    School:

    LSU

    Achievements:

    Cannon is a former Heisman trophy winner and one of two men to ever have LSU retire his number. He won a national championship and was voted player of the year.

    Of course his career did have the shame of a counterfeiting scheme that ruined his election into the College Football Hall of Fame, but nothing can take away what he did on the field.  

13. Garrison Hearst

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    School:

    Georgia

    Achievements:

    In his three years as a Bulldog he collected 3,200 yards rushing. He had 35 touchdowns and ran second only to the great Herschel Walker in 100-yard games. When you are only bested by Herschel Walker you must be doing something right.

12. Deuce McAllister

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    School:

    Mississippi

    Achievements:

    McAllister was one of the best backs to grace the SEC and Mississippi. He currently stands as the only Rebel with three seasons of 1,000 all-purpose yards. He finished his career with 3,060 rushing yards, 36 rushing touchdowns and 41 total touchdowns. These are all Ole Miss records.

11. Charles Alexander

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    School:

    LSU

    Achievements:

    While playing for LSU, Alexander racked up over 4,000 yards and hit paydirt an impressive 40 times. He had 4,400 yards from scrimmage. He currently ranks 92 on the all-time list of college rushers.

10. Mark Ingram

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    School:

    Alabama

    Achievements:

    It might seem a little early to rank the Heisman Trophy winner but 3,271 yards and 42 touchdowns certainly has to get some consideration. He never averaged less than 5 yards per carry.

    He simply had to make the list.

9. Carnell Williams

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    School:

    Auburn

    Achievements:

    Had he managed to stay healthy all four years, you could argue his worth among the tops on this list. However, his first two seasons were injury prone. Still, even with injuries he managed to run for 3,800 yards and 45 touchdowns.

8. Dalton Hilliard

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    School:

    LSU

    Achievements:

    Although often forgotten about, Dalton Hilliard is one of the best backs in SEC history; he's got over 4,000 rushing yards to prove it. He still ranks in the top 100 of all college backs for career rushing. He was on the all-SEC team in both 1984 and 1985.

7. Errict Rhett

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    School:

    Florida

    Achievements:

    Errict Rhett proved he could do something that most men can't lay claim to: he could out rush Emmit Smith. At Florida he rushed for over 4,100 yards and also had 1,200 receiving. When you add that to his 34 touchdowns you have the makings of a very good SEC career.  

6. Shaun Alexander

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    School:

    Alabama

    Achievements:

    While he didn't get off to a great start in his first two years at 'Bama, he more than made up for it in his last two. During his final two seasons he rushed for 31 touchdowns and 2,400 plus rushing yards. Had he produced like that for four years, he'd be a top five guy.

5. Emmitt Smith

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    School:

    Florida

    Achievements:

    Despite the fact that the Gators had no passing game, there still wasn't a team that could stop Emmit. His time at Florida ended with 58 school records. He rushed for over 3,900 yards and hit pay dirt 39 times. He was as good as advertised going into the NFL draft and responded with a Hall of Fame career.  

4. Darren McFadden

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    School:

    Arkansas

    Achievements:

    While only playing three years, McFadden was one of the most outstanding backs in college football during that time, and he makes this list. When you consider that he rushed for 4,500 yards and scored a remarkable 41 touchdowns you can understand why the Raiders were so high on him. Why he chose to play for Oakland is still anyone's guess.

3. Kevin Faulk

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    School:

    LSU

    Achievements:

    While his pro-career hasn't been anything worthy of Canton consideration, he did amass one of the greatest college careers. In his 41 games at LSU he rushed for over 4,500 yards, racked up 6,800 all purpose yards, and held the record for rushing touchdowns with 53. His career was nothing short of astounding.   

2. Bo Jackson

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    School:

    Auburn

    Achievements:

    If this list were the best athletes in SEC history, Bo would be tops.

    For this list he has to settle for number two. He rushed for 4,303 yards in his Auburn days. He got himself a Heisman Trophy and he had his number retired at Auburn. An amazing resume for one of the best athletes of his generation.   

1. Herschel Walker

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    School:

    Georgia

    Achievements:

    This is an absolute no-brainer. There are great college backs, then there are guys like Herschel Walker. It's always fun to go against the grain, but truthfully it can't be done. He rushed for over 1,600 yards in each of his three seasons. He had 50 touchdowns and was the embodiment of the unstoppable running back. It's cliché to have him on top of this list, but it's so deserving.