ESPN.com has named what they believe to be the best running backs in College Football entering the 2017 season. Top backs typically = top teams.
On that list, Alabama Crimson Tide’s Damien Harris and Najee Harris:
Damien Harris was the Tide's No. 1 rusher last year with 1,037 yards (7.1 per carry). Bo Scarbrough, at 232 pounds, took over as the top guy the last four games, including 180 yards vs. Washington, and his injury against Clemson was a factor in their last-second loss. Now they add Najee Harris, who is 6-foot-2, 227 pounds and was in for the spring and looks like a junior physically. Fourth string is B.J. Emmons. This is the first time in seven years that the Tide has not had to replace a running back who rushed for 875-plus yards the previous year.
Georgia Bulldogs - Nick Chubb and Sony Michel should be healthy this season. Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards (7.1 yards per carry) as a true freshman in 2014 and had 747 yards (8.1 YPC) in six games before he found himself injured. Sony Michel had 1,161 yards (5.3) in 2015 then broke his arm last summer.
Penn State Nittany Lions - Saquon Barkley rushed for 1,076 yards (5.9 YPC) as a true freshman and 1,496 (5.5 YPC) in 2016 with 402 (14.4 YPC) receiving. Miles Sanders had 896 all-purpose yards as a true freshman.
LSU Tigers - Derrius Guice led LSU in 2016 with 1,387 yards (7.6 YPC) despite the presence of Leonard Fournette in the same backfield. Darrel Williams has 831 career rush yards (4.7 YPC). Nick Brossette and Lanard Fournette provide depth. They were at 18-1 odds of winning the Championship.
Oregon Ducks – They have long odds of winning the 2018 College Football Championship at 100-1. Their backs make it tough to see why the price is so long. Royce Freeman rushed for 1,365 yards (5.4 YPC) as a true freshman and an amazing 1,836 yards (6.5 YPC) as a sophomore while backups Kani Benoit, Tony Brooks-James and Taj Griffin have a combined 2,574 rush yards (6.9 YPC) and a combined 1,166 career receiving yards.
- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com