Friday, March 29, 2013
T.J. Yeldon tabbed as SEC's leading rusher
By Chris Low
Had we asked this question a year ago, nobody would have gotten it right.
Can we all agree on that?
Our SportsNation poll question earlier this week was: Who will lead the SEC in rushing in 2013?
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is the reigning rushing champion in the league, and I would bet that not even he would have predicted a year ago at this time that he would have led the SEC in rushing during his first season.
The same goes for winning the Heisman Trophy.
Anyway, we let the fans pick who they think will be the 2013 rushing champion, and with more than 9,500 votes cast, Alabama sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon has emerged as the winner.
Yeldon, who rushed for 1,108 yards last season while sharing carries with Eddie Lacy, received 33 percent of the vote.
Georgia freshman running back Todd Gurley was second with 28 percent. Gurley led all SEC running backs with 1,385 yards last season and also shared the backfield duties with Keith Marshall.
Manziel was third with 24 percent. Maybe fans think he won’t look to run as much in 2013 or that defenses will be better equipped to keep him in the pocket
LSU sophomore running back Jeremy Hill was fourth with 11 percent, and Mississippi State senior running back LaDarius Perkins was fifth with 4 percent. Hill is my sleeper. He wasn’t really unleashed until midway through the season a year ago and finished with 755 yards. Look for the Tigers to ride him a lot more in 2013.
The next question becomes: Who are those guys who will fly in under the radar in 2013 and have big years running the football similar to Manziel last season?
A few names to remember: Missouri's Henry Josey, Vanderbilt's Wesley Tate, Texas A&M's Brandon Williams, Florida's Matt Jones and South Carolina's Brandon Wilds.
And given Bret Bielema's track record, somebody at Arkansas is going to run for a few yards next season. Sophomore Jonathan Williams is the Hogs' leading returning rusher, and incoming freshman Alex Collins will also be one to watch.