While I was creating this list of the top three running backs to rock orange and blue over the past decade, I came across a problem that the quarterback room didn't present.
Several former Gators' running backs worthy of making the cut carried their careers from the 2000s into the 2010s: Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. That makes choosing only three players extremely difficult at positions like running back, cornerback, and so on.
So with that being said, Rainey and Demps will be left off of the list. Their accolades deserve mention, and if they began their careers in 2010 at least one of them would probably find a way into the top three. Though the two split snaps, one can't argue against how dynamic the duo was.
And for the sake of establishing rules for this list and the remaining positions, players will qualify if the majority of their careers took place in the 2010s. For three-year players, that would mean two seasons accrued minimum in the 2010s, and for four-year players or more, each must have completed at least three seasons in the decade.
With that being said, who did crack the top three?
3. Kelvin Taylor (2013-15)
Kelvin Taylor, the son of Gator Great Fred Taylor, may not have lived up to the production that his father posted before becoming a first round NFL Draft pick in 1998, but he did enough to get himself drafted after breaking the 1000 yard mark in 2015.
Taylor was productive out the gate after enrolling at Florida, earning 111 carries as a freshman while splitting carries with Mack Brown and Matt Jones. He took those rushes for 508 yards and four touchdowns. The Gators ran a similar committee approach at RB the following year, and Taylor posted similar production at 116 carries for 565 yards and six scores.
His junior season, and final at Florida, was where Taylor took off. He recorded 1035 yards on 259 carries, and scored 13 touchdowns - the most of any Florida running back in the 2010s.
While he didn't "wow" you with crazy skills or traits on the field, Taylor was a workhorse who produced in some miserable offenses.
2. Mike Gillislee (2009-12)
Gillislee, like Taylor, had a massive final season at Florida and prior to that was productive within a committee including Rainey, Demps, Matt Jones, Trey Burton, Jordan Reed, and others.
An elusive back with plenty of burst out of his cuts, Gillislee often had to create yardage for himself behind poor offensive lines during his career, especially in 2012. But despite a lack of solid run blocking ahead of him, Gillislee was able to muster together 5.3 yards per carry in his Gators career.
As the lead back in 2012, Gillislee took 244 carries for 1152 yards and 10 touchdowns, to go with 16 receptions for 159 yards and a score through the air. In an offense that ranked 78th in the nation in points per game, Gillislee was the Gators' focal point to take stress off of quarterback Jeff Driskel, much like Taylor in his 2015 season for Will Grier and Treon Harris.
1. Lamical Perine (2016-19)
Perine didn't finish his career at Florida the way he wanted to as a rusher, accounting for only 539 yards on the ground in 2019 despite finally taking over as the Gators' lead back.
Florida's run blocking was as bad as ever, which drastically limited his production, but didn't stop him from averaging 4.6 yards per carry, scoring four touchdowns, and his game-icing 88-yard touchdown against Auburn in the biggest game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in seven years.
But, Perine's 2019 season earned him the No. 1 spot on this list. After tallying 1809 yards and 16 scores while splitting carries with Jordan Scarlett, Malik Davis, and Mark Thompson to start his career, Perine made the adjustment to catching passes in order to continue producing for the Gators.
He caught 35 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns this season - for comparison's sake, Perine only caught 32 passes in his first three years combined. Growing into an all-around threat near the end of his career for the best interest of the team makes Perine the No. 1 Florida Gators running back of the decade.