Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Prediction: ACC's 1,000-yard rushers for '11
By Heather Dinich
Earlier this morning I predicted that Miami would not have a 1,000-yard rusher. It’s not because the Canes aren’t good enough, it’s because they’re too good to let one guy do all of the work. Florida State is the same way. Chris Thompson? Stud. Had 841 yards last year, and 6.31 yards per carry. But he, too, is in a crowded backfield. Miami and Florida State probably have the deepest, most-talented groups of running backs, but that usually means it won’t be a one-man show.
So which teams in the ACC are most likely to produce a 1,000-yard rusher this fall? Here are the top five, ranked in order from most to least likely:
1. Georgia Tech – Not even coach Paul Johnson knows who his top B-back will be yet, but you can almost always bank on a 1,000-yard rusher to come out of his spread-option offense. The Jackets led the nation in rushing last year. When you run the ball 753 times, somebody should crack the 1,000-yard mark. Georgia Tech’s question isn’t if, it’s who.
2. Virginia Tech – With only three scholarship runners on the roster, it’s going to be the David Wilson show this year, and he’s blazin’. You won’t see him in the Hokies’ spring game, because he’ll be competing with the track team that day, but there’s no question he’ll take center stage this fall.
3. Boston College – Montel Harris already has 21 career 100-yard games. You don’t think he’ll get a few more his senior season? C’mon. The only reason he wouldn’t reach the 1,000-yard mark is if offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers lightens his load by using Andre Williams, who proved more than capable of leading the running game when Harris was injured last year.
4. Clemson – With Jamie Harper’s early departure for a shot at the NFL, Andre Ellington will be the Tigers’ workhorse. He led the ACC with a whopping 6.6 yards per carry last year despite being limited by a toe injury. He hasn’t practiced this spring because of the injury, but if he can stay healthy, there’s no reason he shouldn’t get a majority of the reps and earn 1,000 yards.
5. Wake Forest – That’s right, the Deacs. Just ask the Hokies, who couldn’t stop Josh Harris from running all over them last year (241 yards -- in Blacksburg!). Harris finished the 2010 season with 720 yards, seven touchdowns and 5.7 yards per carry.