Here are 10 running backs to watch in 2013:
The Buzz: Much of the rushing workload fell on Abdullah’s shoulders after the Cornhuskers leading rusher, Rex Burkhead, went down with an injury. In his absence, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound running back rushed for 1,137 yards and eight touchdowns to help Nebraska become the top rushing team in the Big Ten. He was third in the league in rushing attempts by a running back with 226.
Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky
The Buzz: Antonio Andrews was instant offense for the Hilltoppers in 2012. He combined for more than 2,200 total yards of offense while setting the NCAA record for all-purpose yards. At 6-foot, 211-pounds Andrews could become a valuable weapon for new head coach Bobby Petrino, who I’m sure will find a way to use this dual-threat back.
Ka’Deem Caray, Arizona
The Buzz: Arizona’s high-octane offense was fueled by Caray last season. The Wildcats were second in the Pac-12 in team rushing with the sophomore running back leading the way. His 1,929 yards was tops in the country and his 23 rushing touchdowns was best in the Pac-12. He’s had some off-the-field issues this offseason, but if his focus returns to the field he could be a beast in 2013.
Todd Gurley, Georgia
The Buzz: Gurley, along with his freshman counterpart Keith Marshall, combined power Georgia’s rushing attack and become one of the most explosive backfield tandems in 2012. Gurley became just the second Bulldog in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards (1,385) in his freshman season while tying a school record for rushing touchdowns (17) in a season.
John Hubert, Kansas State
The Buzz: It’s easy to understand how a player of Hubert’s talent got overlooked. The 5-foot-7, 191-pounder took a backseat to Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein last season despite rushing for 947 yards and 15 touchdowns. That was good enough for fourth in the Big 12. With Klein gone, Hubert could move to the forefront of the Wildcats’ attack in 2013.
Duke Johnson, Miami
The Buzz: Johnson was Miami’s go-to guy last season. As a freshman, he rushed for 947 yards and 10 touchdowns while also adding 221 yards of receiving as well. He was third in the ACC in rushing and second in rushing touchdowns. He also led the conference in kick return average with 33 yards per return and first in overall in all-purpose yards with 2,060
Bishop Sankey, Washington
The Buzz: The sophomore exploded onto the Pac-12 scene in 2012 after winning the starting nod for Steve Sarkisian’s team in the offseason. He finished with 1,439 rushing yards, which was the third-highest total in school history while adding 16 rushing touchdowns, which was second all-time in school history as well. Sankey returns to an offensive unit that features 10 returning starters including four of the five offensive lineman from last season.
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
The Buzz: The Oregon transfer really didn’t make his presence known last season until the eighth week of the season when he rushed for his first 100 yard game against Kansas. However, it wasn’t until his explosive performance in an upset win over No. 1 Kansas State two weeks later – 185 yards and a touchdown – that Seastrunk burst onto the scene. In fact, he even boasted in the offseason that he would win the Heisman Trophy in 2013.
Trey Watts, Tulsa
The Buzz: Some may question Watts’ presence on this list, but the Virginia native was partially responsible for the Golden Hurricanes having the top rushing attack in Conference USA last season. As a junior, Watts rushed for 1,108 yards with a 6.0 yard average per rush. Along with Ja’Terian Douglas, the duo rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
The Buzz: With Alabama’s recent history with running backs, it shouldn’t shock anybody that a Crimson Tide player makes the list. In 2010, it was Mark Ingram, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy. In 2011, it was Trent Richardson and in 2012 it was Eddie Lacy. This year, the focus shifts to T.J. Yeldon who backed up Lacy. He rushed for school record 1,108 yards and 11 touchdowns.
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