Rumblin', bumblin', stumblin'. For as long as most of us can remember, the SEC has been known for its powerful running games. No matter the evolution of offenses, successful SEC offenses begin and end with their running games.
This week we’re looking at the best position groups in the conference, and today we are looking at running backs.
Best of the best: This one is very close. You could really go 1A and 1B with Alabama and Georgia. But since we have to pick one, Alabama slips into the tip-top spot. The Crimson Tide will return 2,416 yards and 17 touchdowns from Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Josh Jacobs. Harris might be the league's most underrated back -- even in his own backfield -- but he rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year. Scarbrough, who ran for 454 yards and six touchdowns in the final four games, is being pegged as a first-round NFL talent for next year, while Jacobs showed flashes of greatness, averaging 6.6 yards per carry last year. Don't forget about sophomore B.J. Emmons and freshman Najee Harris, who enrolled early as the nation's No. 1 running back in the 2017 recruiting class and had a very good spring.
Next in line: Without question, it's Georgia. The Bulldogs return 1,000-yard backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, but should also get plenty out of sophomores Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield. Chubb and Michel really don't need much of an introduction. Chubb was one of the nation's best players before a knee injury cut his sophomore season in half. He returned to hit 1,100 yards last year, while Michel followed his own 1,100-yard season with 840. Herrien showed that he can be a home run threat and a between-the-tackles bully last year. Holyfield arrived with a ton of hype last year, but carried the ball just six times. After a very impressive spring, Holyfield should see that number grow considerably this fall.
Don’t sleep on: Despite ranking dead last in the SEC in rushing last year (128.2 YPG), Florida actually has a pretty solid group of rushers. Jordan Scarlett is getting some early NFL love after rushing for a team-high 889 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore last year. He has great vision, quick feet and can push through lines for extra yards. Sophomore Lamical Perine is a workhorse back, rushing for 421 yards last year and could start for a few teams in this league. Senior Mark Thompson drew early comparisons to ex-Alabama rusher Derrick Henry, but didn't live up to expectations in 2016. A good spring has given him some momentum going into the offseason. Freshmen Adarius Lemons and Malik Davis could give Florida more speed at the position this fall.