2016 CFN Preseason All-America Running Backs. Who are the best and brightest running backs coming into the college football season?
2016 CFN Preseason All-America Running Backs
1. Leonard Fournette, Jr. LSU
While he almost certainly would’ve been the first running back taken in the 2016 NFL Draft – if he was eligible – now he’ll have to prove himself all over again. One 31-yard, one score day last year killed his Heisman run, but it wasn’t fair considering he ran for 100 yards or more against everyone but Arkansas – running for 91 yards and a score. Now the 6-1, 230-pounder should be front-and-center in the Heisman hunt while carrying a team good enough to play in the CFP.
2. Dalvin Cook, Jr. Florida State
One of the nation’s most dangerous home-run hitters, Cook averaged over seven yards per carry running for 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns even though he was banged up for a stretch. This year, he’s a part of a better FSU team that should be more explosive on offense, and even stronger on defense. 2,000 yards should be within reach if he can stay in one piece.
2016 CFN Preseason Second-Team All-America Running Backs
3. Christian McCaffrey, Jr. Stanford
The best all-around back in college football last season, McCaffrey ran for 2,019 yards and eight scores, caught 45 passes for 645 yards and five scores, threw two touchdown passes and returned a punt and a kickoff for a score. This season he’ll have to do it all with a less-experienced team, but he’s good enough to be every bit as terrific.
4. Royce Freeman, Jr. Oregon
It wasn’t easy getting a whole lot of attention in the same division as Mr. McCaffrey, but Freeman came up with a great year running for 1,836 yards and 17 touchdown averaging 6.5 yards per carry. With a strong and compact 5-11, 230-pound frame, and with the speed to blast out big runs, he should be a mortal lock for another 1,500+-yard year – and he might be better than that guy from Stanford.
2016 CFN Preseason Third-Team All-America Running Backs
5. Samaje Perine, Jr. Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield took away most of the attention last season in the new-look Sooner offense, and Joe Mixon should take away carries and yards this year, but Perine should be the Big 12’s most effective back. Running for 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns – averaging six yards per carry – is hardly bad for a relatively down year.
6. Donnel Pumphrey, Sr. San Diego State
A three-year superstar producer, he’s on the verge of huge things in the all-time record books if he can repeat the 1,653-yard, 17 touchdown rushing season of last year. Ultra-quick and ultra-durable, he can be a workhorse, be used as a receiver, or do anything else the Aztec O needs.
2016 CFN Preseason Honorable Mention All-America Running Backs
7. Corey Clement, Sr. Wisconsin
8. Mike Warren, Soph. Iowa State
9. Larry Rose III, Jr. New Mexico State
10. Wayne Gallman, Jr. Clemson
11. Nick Chubb, Jr. Georgia
12. Justin Jackson, Jr. Northwestern
13. Jeremy McNichols, Jr. Boise State
14. Marlon Mack, Jr. South Florida
15. Brian Hill, Jr. Wyoming
16. Kareem Hunt, Sr. Toledo
17. Myles Gaskin, Soph. Washington
18. Ronald Jones II, Soph. USC
19. Shock Linwood, Sr. Baylor
20. Elijah Hood, Jr. North Carolina
21. Marcus Cox, Sr. Appalachian State
22. Jalen Hurd, Jr. Tennessee
23. Tarean Folston, Sr. Notre Dame
24. Jahad Thomas, Sr. Temple
25. Matt Breida, Sr. Georgia Southern
Source: College Football News