Cincinnati Bearcats: Could Isaiah Pead Be the Nation's Best Running Back?

Alex CallosCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2011

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 15:  Isaiah Pead #23 of the Cincinnati Bearcats runs with the ball during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 15, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While running is not the name of the game for the Cincinnati Bearcats, when they do run, they just might have the most explosive running back in all of college football in 2011. 

The big play ability of senior Isaiah Pead makes him one of the college football biggest threats this coming season. 

Pead has seen his playing time steadily improve over each of the last three seasons, and has been near the top of the country in yards per carry the past two years. 

As a true freshman in 2008, Pead saw limited action on an Orange Bowl team that had a lot of experience. 

He finished the season with 30 carries for 194 yards. Still, a 6.5 yards per carry average as a true freshman showed the promise he possessed. 

As a sophomore, Pead split carries with senior Jacob Ramsey. When he did get the ball, he didn't disappoint and finished the season with 806 yards on only 121 carries. That was good for a 6.7 yards per carry average. 

Add in nine rushing touchdowns, along with 201 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and you have some big time numbers. 

Last season, Pead was hampered by an injured knee for the first few weeks of the season, but burst onto the scene against Oklahoma in Week 4. 

Pead finished that game with 169 yards on 21 carries. The very next week, he pounded out 197 yards on Miami (OH) on only 10 carries. 

Overall, his 157 attempts and 1,029 yards were good for a 6.6 average per carry. 

Among running backs with more than 150 carries, Pead was second in the nation last season in yards per carry, behind only James White of Wisconsin. 

His combination of speed and strength make him elusive enough to run by defenders and strong enough to go right through them. 

While he was not heavily recruited out of high school, Pead did have offers from nuAmerous Big Ten, Big East and ACC schools. His 4.4 40-speed and 38-inch vertical leap make him one of the best athletes on the field.

In high school, he broke all of Archie Griffin's records at Columbus Eastmoor Academy. 

The presence of incoming freshman Jameel Poteat and returning junior Darrin Williams will force Pead to fight hard to keep the bulk of the carries. 

For Cincinnati to be successful in 2011, they have to limit turnovers and run the football effectively. 

If they do that and make an effort to run the ball more next season, Pead has the potential to easily rush for 1,500 yards. 

If that happens there are certain to be a lot of wins in the future for the Cincinnati Bearcats.