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Running Back

West Virginia

RB Steve Slaton-Jr 1744 net yards 7.0 average Also team's third-leading receiver
RB Owen Schmitt-Sr 351 net yards 5.4 average Lost a total of two yards in 113 career carries
QB Pat White-Jr 1219 net yards 7.4 average Best running QB in the country
RB Noel Devine-Fr -- -- No. 1 rated high school RB

For the second preseason in a row, WVU takes the top spot when it comes to running the football. And why not when the same faces are in this backfield? Most schools are elated just to have one 1000-yard rusher in their backfield. Steve Slaton rushed for 1744 yards and Pat White rushed for 1219 yards in 2006, both averaging over 100 yards a game. OK, so QB is not as much of a consideration with these RB units, but in Morgantown, the QB really is a viable RB in the approach of head coach Rich Rodriguez and his unique spread system. Pat White is the best running QB in college football, bar none, and that equates to big gains at this level. Even bone crushing FB Owen Schmitt is back in the fold to blow open holes and bowl over defenders. If that were not enough, watch for incoming frosh Noel Devine to garner a few carries and turn heads. Both White and Slaton are legitimate Heisman candidates playing on the same team, and rightfully so.


RB Darren McFadden-Jr 1647 net yards 5.8 average 2006 Heisman runner-up, worthy of No. 1 NFL draft pick
RB Felix Jones-Jr 1168 net yards 7.6 average No. 2 in the nation in KR average, can also play receiver
FB Peyton Hillis-Sr 57 net yards 4.4 average Missed the final four games of 2007, the Hogs lost three
FB Farod Jackson-Sr 24 net yards 6.0 average A regular in the backfield playing in 34 games in 3 seasons

If it weren't for WVU, new offensive coordinator David Lee would have the best 1-2 combination of RBs in the country with juniors Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. They rushed for 1647 and 1168 yards, respectively, last season. McFadden won the Doak Walker Award (nation's top RB) and finished second in the Heisman voting. Weighing in at 215 pounds with legit 4.3-forty speed, he is the favorite to take both awards at this early junction. Senior FB Peyton Hillis is a superb blocking back and an established receiver out of the backfield (tied for second on the team in receptions). Razorback fans may be getting tired of Houston Nutt's offensive philosophy, which includes a lagging passing game, but the numbers in terms of carrying the pigskin speak volumes…one that includes a 2006 SEC West Championship ring. You know they are coming and you can try to stop them, but these Hogs will still run right through almost any defense.


RB James Davis-Jr 1187 net yards 5,8 average School record 17 TDs in '06, Doak Walker Award candidate
RB C.J. Spiller-So 938 net yards 7.3 average 2006 Second Team All-ACC as a true frosh

To beat Clemson, opponents have to stop this powerful running game. As a freshman, James Davis exploded two seasons ago while earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors. Just when most felt he would be the back of the future for coach Tommy Bowden, young C.J. Spiller enters the mix as a frosh in 2006 and left opposing tacklers chasing a shadow. The speed and power both possess are unequaled in this conference by any other duo. The QB situation has hampered this offense's progress, and defenses are left crowding the box in an effort to slow this running train down. Given this scenario again, the Tigers will still be tough to stop on the ground.

Texas A&M

RB Mike Goodson-So 847 net yards 6.7 average No 1 rusher as a frosh on Big 12's top rushing team
RB Jorvorskie Lane-Jr 725 net yards 4.4 average 274 pound RB who is a third-and fourth-down monster
FB Chris Alexander-Sr 76 net yards 5.4 average Second Team All-Big 12, one of the better blockers nationally
QB Stephen McGee-Jr 666 net yards 4.6 average Dual-threat QB with over 2,100 yards passing and 600 rushing

The option-style of offense head coach Dennis Franchione employs at College Station should be a cause of concern for those attempting to defend this unit. The Aggies have three RBs who earned some form of All-Big 12 recognition at last season's end. At 270+, Jorvorskie Lane is a fan favorite. He produced either a first-down or touchdown 26 times on 29 third- or forth-down carries. Mike Goodson was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year while racking up 6.7 yards per carry and gives this team the speed needed to stretch the field. Senior FB Chris Alexander (Second Team All-Big 12) is a thumper known for head-knocking blocks while he averages 5.4 yards per carry. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield. QB Stephen McGee is also a big part of the rushing mix in their option system, giving A&M four difference-makers who might be carrying the ball.


FB Adam Ballard-Sr 792 net yards 5.1 average 5.5 yards per carry in his career, 5th best in school history
SB Reggie Campbell 706 net yards 7.1 average No. 2 rusher, No. 1 receiver and KR, fastest on the team
SB Shun White-Jr 578 net yards 12.0 average Electric runner who can take it the distance every time
SB Zerbin Singleton-Sr 191 net yards 6.8 average Team's MVPs blocking and making plays, a future astronaut

Isn't it about time somebody recognized the nation's #1 rushing offense? It's more than just a product of coach Paul Johnson's triple option system - the Middies have been the nation's #1 rushing offense three out of the last four years. OK, so the system does work apparently with whoever lines up in the backfield, but senior FB Adam Ballard is as good as any counterpart. Adam is averaging 5.5 yards per carry over his career as a big, bruising runner that possesses outstanding speed (played tailback and receiver in high school). Slotback Reggie Campbell is a game breaker, averaging 7.1 yards per carry, 18.8 yards per reception and over 20 yards returning kicks and punts. Depth here is as deep as Johnson has had during his Annapolis tenure with Shaun White, Zerbin Singleton and Eric Kettani sharing carries as well. With smaller, quicker linemen that pull effectively wherever needed, this non-BCS-aligned service academy impresses even against their biggest foes.


Just Missed: BoiseState, Michigan, Oregon, Rutgers, Wisconsin