This should be a special season for running backs in the SEC. We’ve discussed that likelihood frequently on the SEC blog, but how might the conference stack up nationally?
Pretty well, according to NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer. In ranking the top running back duos in college football, Fischer rated three SEC combinations among his top five.
Leading the pack in Fischer’s No. 1 spot are Arkansas' Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins, both of whom rushed for 1,000-plus yards in 2014. He ranked Georgia’s Nick Chubb -- the league’s top returning rusher -- and Keith Marshall fourth. And he completed the top five with Alabama’s Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake.
Those are all reasonable picks. Considering how much Arkansas runs the ball, Williams and Collins are sure to post big numbers as long as they stay healthy. Chubb is sure to have a huge season, although it could easily be Sony Michel or A.J. Turman who emerges as his top backfield mate instead of the injury-prone Marshall. Henry and Drake, who is returning from a serious leg injury, should receive plenty of touches for an Alabama offense that lost many of its most experienced performers.
During the lean summer months, it’s fun to consider which SEC duos might crack such a top 10 by season’s end. Auburn looks like a safe possibility, with junior college transfer Jovon Robinson joining Roc Thomas and others in the backfield. What about LSU, with Leonard Fournette and Darrel Williams running behind a veteran offensive line? Or Missouri with Russell Hansbrough and Ish Witter? Or Tennessee’s Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara?
Those are just a few that immediately come to mind. The three Fischer picked all look to be strong choices, but this is shaping up to be a season where there will be lots of strong options since the running games should rule in the SEC this fall.