SI.com ranks the top 15 running backs in college football. This list does not take a player's NFL prospects into account. Adrian Peterson and Michael Bush are not included, due to their inactive status. <br><br>The Hokies are ranked a lowly 82nd nationally in rushing offense (119.14 yards per game), but you can't blame it on Ore. The bruising back has pounded his way to 736 yards in seven games, running for a career-high 207 yards and two touchdowns against Southern Miss last week.
2 of 15AP
Averaging 123.3 yards per outing, Bradshaw leads Conference USA in rushing (eighth nationally). In a tight win over UAB last week, the 5-11 197-pounder rushed 25 times for 242 yards and two touchdowns, earning conference Player of the Week honors.
3 of 15Robert Beck/SI
The highest-rated player Oregon coach Mike Bellotti has ever signed, Stewart saw limited time as a true freshman, partly due to nagging injuries. But now that Terrence Whitehead has graduated, Stewart has the lead role and is quickly proving himself as one of the nation's best underclassmen. Oregon's starting back is truly a load at 5-11, 234 pounds, but he also possesses plus speed.
4 of 15Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
The hard-nosed 5-foot-9 junior has the ability to carry a large workload and reminds many of Beavers great Ken Simonton. Last season he played through a number of injuries en route to 1,321 yards and 13 TDs (as well as 316 yards receiving and an additional score). With 746 yards through seven games, he's well on his way to breaking the 1,000-yard plateau again.
5 of 15John Biever/SI
One of the nation's most underrated players, Pittman is constantly overshadowed by Heisman favorite Troy Smith and dynamic wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. But the junior running back is a rock -- just last week Pittman had his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown snapped at 12.
6 of 15Damian Strohmeyer/SI
The SEC's leading rusher in 2005 (1,293 yards), Irons has been plagued all season by a smorgasbord of injuries (missing two full games and playing hurt in others). But the senior really turned it on in the second half last season and looks to do the same in '06.
7 of 15AP
With 18 running touchdowns (first nationally), 1,182 yards rushing (second nationally) and a seven-yards-per-carry average, Johnson owns the most impressive numbers on this list. The motor that makes undefeated Boise State go ran for 375 yards and eight touchdowns ... in his last two games.
8 of 15Chris Bernacchi/SI
The nation's leading rusher (1,413 yards through eight games), Wolfe dropped down the list with back-to-back sub-par weeks against Western Michigan and Temple, but the senior still has plenty to hang his hat on, including 285 total yards and a touchdown against Ohio State and 353 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Ball State.
9 of 15John Biever/SI
In his first season, Hill is already evoking memories of Badgers legend and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. The 5-11, 242-pound truck has run for at least 100 yards and a touchdown in seven of his eight games. (Michigan, the nation's No. 1 run defense, held him to 54 yards and no scores.)
10 of 15Damian Strohmeyer/SI
A first-team All-SEC player in 2005 (and SEC Freshman of the Year), McFadden began the season on a sour note, missing most of the season opener due to a toe injury (which stemmed from a bar fight). But he's bounced back strong. In Arkansas' shocking 27-10 win over then-No. 2 Auburn, McFadden ran wild (145 yards and a touchdown) on the Tigers' highly regarded defense.
11 of 15David Bergman/SI
Nobody has been more integral to Clemson's surprising 7-1 start than Davis, who averages 6.9 yards per carry and has already hit paydirt 16 times. James, known as "Thunder," combines with C.J. "Lightning" Spiller to make up the nation's best one-two running back punch.
12 of 15John Biever/SI
To truly appreciate Hart, it's imperative to watch him on a weekly basis. At 5-foot-9 (on a good day), he's far from physically imposing. He doesn't possess flashy, game-breaking speed, either. But the junior stays true to his surname and never stops churning his legs. Also, his ball security is unparalleled -- he hasn't fumbled in his last 637 carries.
13 of 15Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Rice ran for 1,120 yards as a true freshman last season, but nobody noticed. Now that Rutgers (7-0) is garnering national headlines, Rice is receiving the attention he deserves. The diminutive runner averages 160.5 yards per game (second nationally) and has scored 12 touchdowns.
14 of 15David Bergman/SI
One of the fastest running backs in the country, Slaton fits perfectly in Rich Rodriguez's spread option offense, which leads the nation in rushing. As a true freshman in 2005, Slaton came out of nowhere midway through the season and made a name for himself by torching Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Nobody's sleeping on Slaton this year, though, especially with his seven-yards-per-carry average.
15 of 15Peter Read Miller/SI
Lynch -- who has rushed for 907 yards and eight touchdowns and averaged nearly seven yards per carry -- packs excellent, all-around talent into his 5-foot-11, 223-pound frame. The junior uses his 4.4 speed to easily get around the edge, but he's no stranger to mixing it up between the tackles, regularly delivering crushing blows to brave defenders. With three receiving TDs, he's a dangerous target out of the backfield, too.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!