Pick-6: Fabulous freshman running backs
A stellar class of freshman running backs has quickly found success all over the country.
Here are six stars college football fans can hope to see churning out yards on the ground for another couple years (in alphabetical order):
Chubb and fellow freshman Sony Michel figured to provide depth for the 16th-ranked Bulldogs behind star Todd Gurley and capable backup Keith Marshall. Injuries and Gurley's suspension left Chubb to carry the load, and he proved more than capable. The 228-pound Chubb had 68 carries and 345 yards in back-to-back wins against Missouri and Arkansas. Gurley returns Saturday against Auburn, but he'll likely be in the NFL next season. Chubb looks like the future in Athens.
The most-hyped player in the 2014 recruiting class, Fournette drew a roundabout comparison to Michael Jordan by LSU coach Les Miles and struck a Heisman pose after his first touchdown - against Sam Houston State. A slow start tempered some of that, but he's getting better. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Louisiana native leads the Tigers in rushing yards (736) and touchdowns (seven), and he has led a run-dependent offense in carries six straight weeks. The ceiling is sky high.
Coach P.J. Fleck had to fend off Big Ten schools to bring this 220-pound three-star recruit from Illinois to Kalamazoo. No freshman back has been more productive. Franklin ranks fifth in the nation in rushing (147.8 yards per game) and leads the country in rushing touchdowns with 22.
Freeman has added power and punch to the Ducks' hyper-drive spread offense. The 230-pound Californian has run for 945 yards, 5.6 per carry, and 14 scores. He also seems to have inspired sophomore power back Thomas Tyner (387 yards) while allowing Oregon to use Byron Marshall in a utility roll. After Marcus Mariota leaves Eugene, Freeman becomes the next Heisman Trophy contender for the Ducks.
Tennessee native leads the Volunteers in rushing at 598 yards, running behind a struggling offensive line with a spotty passing game. When the Vols' offense grows up, Hurd could be a star.
The bullish Texan has had one huge game (242 yards and four touchdowns against West Virginia) in an otherwise solid season. The 243-pound Perine also had three touchdowns against TCU and ran for 110 yards against Iowa State.