Greatest College Running Backs
The Top Ten
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
Herschel was a good receiver, but teams didn't throw much to backs in the pro set back then. He was tough too. Look at the Sugar bowl against and, he dislocated his shoulder the first play from scrimmage. They took him aside, popped it back in, and he returned to rush for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns against a salty and defense.
This man carried Georgia to astonishing heights, in his three years. He ran all over the competition and should have won three Heisman Trophies. He was simply the best.V 33 Comments
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 RUNNING back ever. There may have been better backs at blocking, receiving, etc. but NO ONE was as quick, shifty, and elusive as Barry. Created the art of running from the tailback position. Look at his career #'s playing for a crap team w/a crap O line...imagine his #'s on a good team?V 15 Comments
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...
Man I would have loved to see him in the NFL WOW.This kid was just a beast with not much in front of him imagine him behind a a line like the cowboys have now man what fun would that be to just watch every sundayV 15 Comments
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...
Had he taken the path of pure football I think he would hold every record possible. He was as strong as Earl Campbell, faster than McFadden, and had amazing stamina. It has to be either him or Herschel for #1
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.
I'm a big fan of super Bo so I just gotta vote for him.V 25 Comments
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!
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
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
Was ithe greatest college most exciting running back ever. He was found not guilty In a court of law, but yet you won't even mention him without the murder case. Sad!
Tony Dorsett was number two he's not even mention here.
Reggie bush best player in college history never seen a player more feared
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
Was great to see on T.V. always electrifying
Most exciting of all the top tenV 12 Comments
"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.
Enjoyed watching this big running back - one of a kind.
Besides Bo and Herschel, Earl Campbell is the next best.
Agree. He was the beast, Very powerful and quick.V 2 Comments
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.
By far the greatest running backV 7 Comments
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
TCU is awesome
Ok we are talking about College right?
This guy was electrifying in College!
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!
Tony Dorsett held the NCAA rushing record for 20 years and he is number 14, you people got to be deranged, no way Dorsett is not number 1 or number 2
Really? #10? how short sighted...V 8 Comments
Hello has any one ever watched football
He played for best team
No one caught him 22
3 rings 4 yrs
Talking all his smack about Franco Harris and Franco shut him up as he beat him in the 100 yard dash an jimmy brown faked like he had a cramp... Whatever!
Best running back of all time hands down end of story
No way he would have started over Maarcus Allen on his comeback
What a jokeV 6 Comments
Pure power when he runs, he hits the hole as he was being timed in the 40 dash.
Really? Who is this guy? What did he ever do?
Power, strength, agile. The hardest hole hitter ever.
After Barry, Darren McFadden was the best everV 5 Comments
Marcus wad a definite first fun when you need it. He was so smooth. Not considered fast and strong but heard to catch. Slashing though the defense. Did I mention he could catch and throw.
Marcus was the business! 200 yard games, 300 yard games, and mostly played as a back up his first two years.
The Roger Maris of 2000 yard rushers not in top 10? Silly
A tragedy this great football athlete is underrated at the collegiate level as well as the pro level.
a graceful runner leaving you amazed. just ask the Washington Redskins!
2 best backs out of Texas period at all levels high school college and the pros were Earl Campbell and Marcus Dupree
Playing half the snaps his senior over 1600 yards enough said
Craig James would have had more yards if they didn't have him sharing a little time with number 19
Eris had a hard time remembering hi playsV 14 Comments
Should be top 3 at least, maybe best ever (modern era).
Goofy Good with no drive. Amazing potential never fully realized.,
Broke everyone's records above him on the list
Respect to all previously stated other than Reggie Bush. He was a track star that could catch the ball out of the backfield, not a RB. Smh at you guys that think he even deserves to be mentioned with these guys. Ricky top 3 hands down, broke all their records, they knew he was gettin it, it didn't matterV 4 Comments
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
One of the best running backs ever!
Rozier was the best, based on stats vs. actual playing time. Most of the time Osborne would take him out in the 3Q once the Huskers had a comfortable lead �" yet his stats are just as good as guys on this list who played all four quarters.V 2 Comments
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'sV 1 Comment
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
The boys a monster just watch this season 2016 all day td AP biggest fan email@example.comV 1 Comment
Special back. Real tough and smart.
This guy is a top ten running back. Compared to others he is much better. I saw the others and John, what can I say he was the best. Also where is Lydell Mitchell? Where is Larry Johnson? Curtiss Enis? And of course Saquon Barkley, and
Best single season in the history of the University of Miami...1,700 yds. 28 TDs. Boo yah!!!
Held back from better stats by a conservative coach. Could have easily-easily surpassed 2,000 yards and 35 TDs with an offensive minded coach. Place Urban, or Nick, or Les on that staff and he's in the conversation for greatest of all time.
He's the all-time NCAA leading rusher.
He was the best badger running back of all time. and the best freshman running back of all time( other than Jonathan Taylor)
I saw the Great Dane not even play in the fourth qtr of a lot of his games,... And he still has the most yes of ALL TIME...
Number one leading rusher wright now
This guy needs to be in the rop ten best college runningbacks
Would have been in the top 3 as a pro. Being this far down on this list only reflects the lack of recognition that has followed the man that quietly outran Jim Brown. My next door neighbor played on his high school team, and used to tell us how during practice for kick offs they would kick it to Ernie, and without any blockers he'd return it for a TD almost every time. If he had lived and continued to play with 32 at Cleveland, an argument could be made against any Packer dynasty in the 60's. View some highlights of the man who really set the mark for the perfect blend of speed and power. As football fans we were robbed of his brilliance. RIP 44.
I am from USC and have followed running backs for fifty five years. Though I never saw Ernie David run, his legend began when he was alive playing in college and was considered far greater than Jim Brown. I would like to hear Jim Browns take on this, or would I. Also Ricky Bell from USC should be here, another lost to soon in life.
Only people over 55 mostly only Syracuse or Cleveland Browns fans, a few Washington Redskins fans will have knowledge of Ernie Davis. So, let us get Jim Brown to answer and any remaining Syracuse coach that worked with both. I would accept their replies,
Ernie Davis is awesome.V 2 Comments
Averaged almost 10 yards per carry.
Highest yards per carry in college football history
Movement skills without the big college name!
Incredible talent. Guy made cuts and moves before the defenders even knew what was happening. Tough as they come, too. I consider him to be in the top 3 of all time, of the backs that I've seen. Billy Simms #1, Barry sanders #2, Phillips #3...in college, that is.
Dude was an incredible talent! Did not even play his senior year! Would of won heisman with ease if it were not for his off field trouble, which is main reason some people may not even know who he is! Just look him up, man was unreal! Too bad he self destructed his God given ability! Wasted talent!
Look at the film Lawrence was by far in the top ten. Watch when he ran against the U Miami.
Only thing that stopped LP was LP. Unfortunately.
KI-Jana Carter deserve's too be on this list. Carter was as good as any RB in college. Would have easily went over 2,000 yds. In 1994, if he didn't sit out almost the whole second half like every game. He was faster and bigger then Reggie Bush. That is a proven fact. Just look at his highlights and all his long breakaway runs. Bush being from Southern Cal was highlighted like a Hollywood star. If Carter played at Southern Cal at the same time, and instead of Reggie Bush he would be very high on this list. You put Larry Johnson on this list, because he had one huge season. Carter had quite a few big seasons and was simply better, trust me I followed both of them closely. Carter averaged 8 yards a carry!
Most underrated on this list! Ki-Jana was a threat to score every play. Powered the 94 Penn State offense with over 1700 rushing yards and 26 TDs and the dude only played in the first half of all but 3 games cause PSU was usually up 45 at the half!
Awesome in College. Out did Billiy Sims and got the heismmman. Another player not used correctly. Wasted talent. It took 10 years of part time playing and his old college Coach believing in him and what does he do? He led the NFL in rushing however he was back in the powder and out of the league. Real sad!
Top five in all time rushing yards and all purpose yards all time
Straight monster. Could be one of the best ever. Speed power agility.
He's great at the university of Georgia!V 1 Comment
Big and strong. Could play today.
I can't believe no one has mentioned Walter Payton nor Gayle Sayers, next to Barry Sanders, the best ever! Gayle Sayers total yrds in one game, one season, and the most TD's in one season (36) and the most TD's in one game (6) still stand to this day!
Walter Payton ( sweetness ) as we all know him if not one of the top 10. There should have been an honorable mention of him during the countdown of the top 10.
Walter Payton sucks
One of the Best
The best "all-around" athlete in the history of the planet; if he was alive today he would be a bigger celeb than Michael Jordan and LeBron James combined..
Amazing athletic ability.
Ran for like 2,000 yards and 25 TDs in 1912 I believe.
In 1911 He ran for 2837 Rushing Yards and 25 Touchdowns
In 1912 He ran for 3612 Rushing Yards and 41 Touchdowns
The stats don't lie
The first great USC running bwck.
Gale Sayers was best ever and not even listed! Probably because most of people reading these lists are too young to remember him.
The Kansas comet! #1 people don't even know!V 1 Comment
If he had a good line. Enough said
Related ListsBest Football Running Backs of All Time Top Ten NFL Running Backs of All Time Best NFL Running Backs Going Into the 2018 Season Top 10 NFL Running Back Busts of All Time Top 10 Running Back NFL Teams
11 years, 128 days old
Top Remixes (8)
2. Bo Jackson
3. Herschel Walker
2. Archie Griffin
3. Billy Sims
2. Herschel Walker
3. Barry Sanders
View All 8