Greatest College Running Backs

The Top TenXW

1Herschel Walker

Just look at his aggregrate Heisman trophy votes during his entire career. He came in third his firts year, second his second year and won it his third year. Over three years I'm not sure you can say that about the other leaders. Barry Sanders had one great year and was a backup his Fresh and Soph years. Marcus DuPree had talent no doubt, but to put him over Herschel.. Come on man.. This is not a vote on potential but actual accomplishments. Bo gets compared to Hershel all the time because they both played similar, wore #34 and in the SEC. The truth is Bo may have been the overall better athlete with consideration to his baseball accomplishments.. But those shouldn't weigh in on the RB arguement. "oh you Herschel Walker! "

Herschel walker not only had the skills to run people over but he had the speed power acceleration and explosiveness and those five skill define a great running back in college football he might have not had the best stats but had the best class skills and most importantly confidence

What Herschel Walker did he did SEC defenses and the other conferences had a team maybe two with defenses to match SEC but playing continuance week end week out against SEC defenses and doing what he did...there is no question best running back in History.

The man was a machine, best to ever play the game.

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2Barry SandersBarry Sanders is a former American football running back who spent his entire professional career with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League.

By far the best college back! He broke records in all categories and never complained about playing time or boast about his accomplishments. He ran better than any other back, but his composure and patience are what put him over the top!

Remember him backing up Thurman Thomas as a freshman and soph and playing Nebraska... Thurman was a spectacular back but was completely shut down against the Cornhuskers (had almost as many carries as he had amassed yards) then they would put that back-up in and he tore the huskers up. When Thomas graduated and Sanders had center stage to himself his junior year he had what has to be the best season in the history of ncaa football. He was a home run hitter extradonaire if you thot the best way of achieving a big play was throwing deep you may have a better chance flipping the ball to #21 who could take it the distance at any given time. I know there are others with better bodies of work... Walker was a phenomenal athlete with integrity and heart but besides his frosh season was never a take it the distance back even with all that speed and ability (go figure? ) and is fortunate to have a heisman on his mantel... Dickerson was arguably more impressive and would've been unlikely to beat ...more

Dude... Really, broke all those records in 88... And most of them still stand...25 years after! Most 200 yard games in a season, most 300 yard games in a season, most tds in a season, only really played one year of college... That was just a preview of the greatest running back in the nfl... That whole 88 season was nothing but a highlight reel!

Best guy to get the ball to

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3Marcus DuPree

The greatest combo of strength, size, speed, awareness ever.. He didn't play as long as these others, but what he did when he played at full health was the best ever. Bo, Barry, Ron, Herschel had better stories, careers, etc. , but this boy topped them all and doing it behind a weak offense, He is all they had that freshman year of 1982. And of course a still standing for decades fiesta bowl record for rushing. And he played in only half the game. Go see the highlights on the net. He was only at 50 percent with that hamstring problem. These other running backs below couldn't do half that with Marcus's injuries. These other RBs had good QBs and WRs. OU didn't. So boo yah to all the haters with this argument. Cased closed. Smoke em if you got em.

I saw Herschel. I saw Barry. I saw Bo. All GREAT RBs. But when I saw Marcus in 1982, I must say I never saw another like him. He had Strength and Speed that both Bo and Herschel had. The difference is he had running ability, not quite Barry's instincts and moves but this dude could cut, make you miss and frankly he was "The Total Package. " NO ONE else has ever done it as well.

even out of shape and slow he set a record at the fiesta bowl which still stands today. and in only one half playing... these others below go 20 plus pounds overweight and no good line like marcus did, they will suck... I know.. cause I've watched all your top ten backs when they played...

Barry sanders

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4Bo Jackson

Bo n Mr. Dupree, man among men, neither really trained, just god given mixes of size, strength, speed and smarts... Bo ran a 4.1 40 yard dash at a NFL combine, still a record to this day. Bo's entrance into the NFL was a "hobby" to keep him from getting bored in the MLB off-season... Not enough can be said about him in his college days, his stories are bunyonesque...

Bo should be #1 and here is why: the defenses he played against were infinitely better than the ones Barry or DuPree played. and he ran a 4.12 not a 4.31 for those of you who hate Bo's swag.

Saw AU play UGA when Bo was a freshman and Herschel a Junior. What a heavyweight fight! No doubt the best two to ever be on the field together.

Bo is by far the greatest running back ever

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5Reggie BushReginald Alfred "Reggie" Bush Jr. is an American football running back who is currently a free agent.

Every time he touched the ball he made at least one guy miss... He was never tackled by the first guy... And if he gets into the open field it's an automatic 6

Reggie bush best player in college history never seen a player more feared

Was great to see on T.V. always electrifying

I think is top 3 at worst

V4 Comments
6O.J. Simpson

O.J. simpson was a great running back throughout his college and professional career, but he is an awful person. Even though he was not convicted or murder, that is still what most people attach his name to and he will never be able to shake that one off. Really a shame considering how great of a player he was

Yes! It is a shame that O J Simpson was allegedly accused of murder! But you can never take away something that was already accomplished! No doubt that O J was the best running back of all time! He did what he did against the best in College during his time! Period!

Too bad everyone gets to vote on these things. You should have to take an IQ Test or something. This is horrible. I think O.J. was the best COLLEGE back of all-time, but even if he wasn't the best, there is no way he should be this low. - ryguys9

The wife-beater

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7Archie Griffin

Dude he won the Heisman 2 times he should be #1 or 2 at least

I think he is the best player who ever played the Game.

He is the greatest football player ever.

He is the best.

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8LaDanian Tomlinson

It's no dout he is the best. Reggie Bush is nothing like this guy.

He owns one of the best games in college football history. No doubt he should be on this list

Ok we are talking about College right?
This guy was electrifying in College!

9Earl Campbell

"No question one of the greatest running backs of all time... He was big and fast, WOW... That's all you can say about this guy.

Out of all the RBs on this list--while he may not be the best--he IS the one I would least like to try and tackle in the open field.

V3 Comments
10Emmitt SmithEmmitt James Smith III is a former college and professional American football running back who became the National Football League's all-time leading rusher during his fifteen seasons in the league during the 1990s and 2000s.

Hello has any one ever watched football

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The Newcomers

?Ezekiel Elliott

The Contenders

11Jim Brown

Best running back of all time hands down end of story

Jimmy Brown was a freak of nature...the perfect back. And during this time they didn't have all of the special diets and amino acids, etc to build the body. Jim Brown was in no doubt the very best, with another Syracuse back that died of leukemia challenging him for the #1 position. Earl Cambell was a workhorse and probably should be in the top 3. Larry Szonka, another Syracuse (Jim Brown's school) should be in the mix...a power back. John Riggins is another out of Kansas.

College or pro, Brown is the best. I am a "Long Time" Browns fan (1950) Saw Brown play last pro game!
Bill Menz

V1 Comment
12Darren McFadden

Pure power when he runs, he hits the hole as he was being timed in the 40 dash.

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13Eric Dickerson

Playing half the snaps his senior over 1600 yards enough said

This man has speed he is strong he should be crown #1

14Tony Dorsett

The most underrated GREAT running back in history. You NEVER hear his name mentioned in the discussions of the best all time runners and that is a crime. People dismiss the fact that he was the all time leading rusher when he left college and 2nd all time leading rusher when he left the NFL. They also overlook the fact that he had incredible toughness and durability for a 180 lbs running back - kickers are bigger than that these days.

Agree with everything said about Tony "D". My favorite RB of all time by far. Watching the 1976 season was really my first infatuation with football whereas TD broke a long run every game. Sitting and waiting to see it to happen was just as much of a thrill as it was watching it happen!

He held the NCAA rushing record for 20 years. First guy to win a national title, heisman and be super bowl champion. Is in the college and NFL hall of fames. Great speed and burst and his ability to cut at full speed was 2nd to none.

He held the NCAA rushing record for years at 6082...And is still ranked 3rd all-time...TOP 5 RUNNING BACK WITHOUT A QUESTION!

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15Ricky Williams

Should be top 3 at least, maybe best ever (modern era).

Broke everyone's records above him on the list

Yes he's a trouble but look at the guys talent!

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16Red GrangeHarold Edward "Red" Grange, nicknamed "The Galloping Ghost" or "The Galloping Red Ghost", was a college and professional American football halfback for the University of Illinois, the Chicago Bears, and for the short-lived New York Yankees.V1 Comment
17Marshall FaulkMarshall William Faulk is a former college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League for twelve seasons.

He compiled one of the greatest freshman seasons in NCAA history, gaining 1,429 yards rushing, with 23 total touchdowns (21 rushing), and 140 points scored. In one game he rushed for 386 yards and 7 TD's

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18Mike Rozier

He was the greatest running back in college history he only average two and a half quarters again for all the rest of the running backs average four quarters

He was the greatest running back in college history he only averaged two and a half quarters again we're all the rest of them play for all four quarters

Take his Heisman season and put it against ANY of these running backs. Rozier was the best!

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19Adrian PetersonAdrian Lewis Peterson is an American football running back for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League.

His freshman year, 2004, was greatest any freshman has produced. His power, speed, and phenomenal vision were as good as the game's ever seen! Peterson has been great at every level since he first picked up a football.

Even though he was injured he was still undoubtedly a top ten college back of all time, go look at his highlight reel. It's better than any other player's.

Why is he so low he was great in college numbers don't lie

If he wasn't injured he'd be top 5

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20Marcus Allen

Marcus was the business! 200 yard games, 300 yard games, and mostly played as a back up his first two years.

Not a fan of the school and a Michigan fan but Allen and the oj amazing.

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List StatsUpdated 29 May 2016

1,000 votes
62 listings
8 years, 261 days old

Top Remixes (7)

1. Barry Sanders
2. Archie Griffin
3. Billy Sims
1. Barry Sanders
2. Herschel Walker
3. Bo Jackson
1. Barry Sanders
2. Bo Jackson
3. Herschel Walker

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