Chris Polk and the Top 10 Huskies Running Backs of the Last 25 Years

Luke KemperContributor IIIOctober 4, 2011

Chris Polk and the Top 10 Huskies Running Backs of the Last 25 Years

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    Lets face it, Chris Polk is one of the most dominant running backs in the NCAA and one of the greatest Huskies of all time as well. Polk runs with great speed, elusiveness and an amazing amount of power and break tackle ability for a guy his size. 

    The University of Washington has produced many big-name running backs, sure, such as Hugh McElhenny and Chuck Carroll, among others, but they will not be shown on this list. Why? Because while they would be in the top Husky running backs of all time, we are looking just at the last 25 years. 

    Try not to act disappointed because on the list we still have the greatest one-and-done running back in school history, along with possibly the best four-year player as well. 

10. Kenny James

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    That's right, Kenny James.

    James was the leading rusher for the Huskies in 2004 and the last year of Keith Gilbertson coaching at the school. James would have been a bigger name if he had not played second fiddle to Rich Alexis.

9. Rich Alexis

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    Career yards of 2,455 puts him ninth on the school all time list, and that along with being tied for 10th for most touchdowns in a season (10) proved his dominance as a Husky. 

    Alexis didn't have the greatest top speed, but the first burst out of the backfield is what made him so good. He could barrel out through arm tackles and break big runs. 

8. Jake Locker

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    That's right, a quarterback is on the list.

    For those who do not remember (or are blocking it from their memory), when Tyrone Willingham was the head coach Jake Locker was a run-first quarterback. He ran for 986 yards in his freshman year, second on the team that year and setting the school record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season.

    Locker also has school records in the career marks when it comes to rushing, including 10th for career touchdowns (23) and 14th on the career total rushing yards (1,939).

7. Willie Hurst

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    Willie Hurst was a firecracker at 5'9" and 200 pounds. His low center of gravity allowed him to bounce off defenders and push up the field, much like Chris Polk.

    Twelfth on the school career list with 2,334 yards.

    Eighth on the school career TD list with 25.

6. Louis Rankin

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    I don't know about the rest of you Dawg fans, but Louis Rankin was really the only gem in the offense when Willingham was coaching in 2007. Locker was young and inexperienced and Rankin was the real balance that helped the offense under such terrible coaching. 

    His 1,294 yards in the 2007 season puts him at sixth on the list of Husky rushers' single-season record and is eighth on the school career rushing list with 2,480 yards.

5. Rashaan Shehee

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    In my opinion, if Rashaan Shehee had not been in Corey Dillon's shadow for a season, he could have pushed to break some of the school rushing records. Even though his numbers took a hit with Dillon arriving in 1996, Shehee still is 10th on the career rushing list for the school with 2,361 yards. He does, however, hold the school record for yards per carry (with a minimum of 300 carries) with an average of 5.7

4. Greg Lewis

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    Greg Lewis should always remembered if not for his great game performances, but simply for earning the Doak Walker Award. The award goes to the nation's top running back for the season, and the first year it was ever presented, Greg Lewis brought it home to Montlake. 

    Besides Lewis' great 1990 season (the season he won the Doak Walker Award), he is third on the school's career rushing list with 2,903 yards. In the 1990 season, however, he set a school record for most 100-plus yard games in a single season with 10, including nine consecutive. 

3. Chris Polk

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    Chris Polk may be the most electric and fun running back to watch in all of college football. He bounces off of guys and will make them pay for missing the tackle. For a back that can break tackles so easily, it is amazing to see the kind of burst out of him that he has. He has tremendous field vision, is patient on his blocks and is quick to the hole. 

    Of the backs who have played at UW with a minimum of played at least 18 games, Polk leads the yards per game with an average of 94.9 yards.He set the rushing yards for a freshman record with 1,113 yards, and his performance last season earned him the No. 2 spot on the yards in a season list with 1,415. Polk currently sits sixth on the career list with 2,561 and poised to move into the top three after this current season if he rushes for a third consecutive 1,000-yard season.

2. Napoleon Kaufman

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    This is where it got tough: Do I pick the all-time career leader to be No. 1, or do I pick the single-season star? As you can tell, I picked Napoleon Kaufman at No. 2, who leads the University of Washington in many rushing records: 4,106 rushing yards (all-time school career leader), 34 TDs (all-time school career leader), most 100-plus yard games in a career (17).

    While Kaufman did accomplish so much for himself, in his four seasons with the Huskies they won a national championship as well as the program's most memorable game, the "Whammy in Miami," where the Huskies went down to Coral Gables, Fla. and ended Miami's home winning streak of 58 (which still stands as the record for the NCAA).

1. Corey Dillon

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    Yes, the one-and-done wonder makes it to my No. 1 spot. 

    Corey Dillon was a freakish athlete and deserves to be considered top five for any list involving great UW running backs. In his single season with the Huskies, he managed to set three team records, as well as two NCAA records.

    In the first quarter against San Jose State University, Dillon rushed for 222 yards and caught an 83-yard touchdown pass, setting NCAA records for both rushing yards and all-purpose yards (305) in one quarter.

    School record: 1,695 yards in a single season

    School record: 24 TDs in a single season

    Most rushing attempts in a single season with 301