Friday, July 12, 2013
Tracking the Big 12 rushing race in 2013
By David Ubben
The field of Big 12 running backs is deep in 2013, and the vote for the league's leading rusher reflected that. Baylor's Lache Seastrunk has had a brief run of success, but the spectacle of that success has him on the short list of the league's best returning offensive players.
He's my pick to lead the Big 12 in rushing this season, but collected just 26 percent of the fan vote from our readers. "The field" earned a solid 38 percent of the vote. Oklahoma State's Jeremy Smith would lead that group for me, possibly followed by Waymon James at TCU, despite a crowded backfield. We'll get to your emails and some surprising picks in a bit.
Kansas State's John Hubert would be my No. 2 pick to lead the league in rushing, but he earned just 15 percent of the vote. Like Seastrunk, Oklahoma's Damien Williams isn't very experienced at the major college level, but he earned 13 percent of the vote. Kansas' James Sims brought up the rear of the vote with 8 percent of the vote. Kansas' backfield is crowded with Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox, and Sims is a workhorse who's tough to bring down near the line of scrimmage, but his yardage comes with a big pile of carries.
Who would the fans campaign for? Here's a bit of what you had to say:
Marshall Stirtz in Iowa writes: For the Big 12 leading rusher in 2013, I believe that maybe not as an individual but as a team Iowa State should have one of the best rushing offenses in the Big 12
Cole in Wilson, N.C., writes: Charles Sims -- West Virginia. Saw he was the 5th ranked 2014 pro prospect (RB) and he is on a team desperate for offense and has not even named a QB ... so looks like they will be executing a lot of running plays as well as screens and WVU's favorite "drop pass" that they made popular in the Orange Bowl against Clemson
Phillip in Vernon, Texas, writes: I think with a healthy OL and new OC, Johnathan Gray will have a breakout year 2013 and challenge for the leading rusher title in the Big 12!!!
Stephen Lopez in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: What about Waymon James and/or Aaron Green? James rushed for 99 yards vs Kansas before being taken out in the fourth quarter (Lache Seastrunk rushed for 103 yards vs Kansas) and had 168 yards in two games. I bet if he wasn't injured, he would have had an incredible season and would be on this list. And Aaron Green was same situation as Lache Seastrunk was in before transfering: 5 star recruit out of high school, went to a school where they didn't have a lot of playing time, then transferred. I think he is poised for a grand season. And don't you forget about B.J. Catalon, Kyle Hicks.
Clifford Mitchell in Guthrie, Okla., writes: You know Jeremy Smith will lead the league in rushing. He's a better runner than Randle was, Tailback U for a reason. We have the best O-line returning and we're the only spread in the country that proves year-in-year-out we can run the football. Kid at Baylor tremendous talent, but I am afraid his mouth has already written some checks his you-know-what won't be able to cash. One of those runners from UT would look good in OSU's backfield unfortunately for them poor line and no qb play...keep up the good work and Bedlam decides Big 12 ship and I'm goin with the Pokes
Sean in Flower Mound, Texas, writes: I would make a strong case for the Big 12's most overlooked RB -- TCU's Waymon James. To refresh memories, he went out in the 2nd game in 2012, but had already accumulated 168 yards rushing on a rediculous 9.9 per carry mark for the season at the time of the injury ... ran for 99 yards on 12 carries while adding two receptions and a season-long 28-yard kickoff return in that game at Kansas. He's TCU's human bowling ball who increased his ypc mark each year and looks to explode next year as the featured back with a true throwing threat back to force defenses not to load the box.
Alex in Ames, Iowa, writes: Referring to your rushing leader question, I think you have to have the ISU backfield at least on the radar. I don't specify an individual because there are too many options to be certain. James White and Shontrelle Johnson are the obvious frontrunners, but DeVondrick Nealy and Aaron Wimberly are two guys that have impressed coaches in the spring. Woody, of course will do his work as a pound-it-out back as well. The biggest reason for the excitement is the focus on the pistol offense ISU will have with the new OC, coupled with the strong offensive line. The Cyclones may not field the Big 12's leading rusher, but don't be surprised if they lead the league as a team.