Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer 145d

Ranking the top five running backs in the SEC

Earlier, we looked at the best running back groups in the SEC. Now, we'll take a look at the five best running backs the league has to offer.

1. Derrius Guice, LSU: As the sort of No. 2 running back in LSU's offense, Guice led the SEC with 1,387 yards and 7.6 YPC. He also had 15 touchdowns. Guice might not have been the bruiser that future first-rounder Leonard Fournette was for the Tigers, but he's the ultimate slasher and could hit a mighty long run in an instant. He can cut on a dime, while still being able to level a defender with his strength. He had six 100-yard games last year, all of them clearing the 135-yard mark. Also, 41.8 of his 115.6 YPG came after contact last year. Guice is getting a ton of first-round love, just like his predecessor, and he'll be one of the nation's most exciting players to watch in 2017.

2. Nick Chubb, Georgia: After a superb freshman season, Chubb was being heralded as the next great college back. Then, a knee injury cut his sophomore season in half. He returned last year to rush for 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns. It was obvious Chubb wasn't himself for most of the year, but that still makes his 1,100-yard season that much more impressive. Now that he's at 100 percent, watch out. Chubb has that rare combination of size, speed, strength and elusiveness to make him one of the country's most dangerous players when he touches the ball.

3. Bo Scarbrough, Alabama: There are some who think Scarbrough should be No. 1 on this list. He recovered from a broken leg this spring, but he'll have every chance to prove he's the league's top back this fall, even while sharing a backfield with 1,000-yard back Damien Harris. As a backup, Scarbrough rushed for 812 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 6.5 YPC in the process. But the beast of a back is getting so much more attention because of how he ended the year. In Alabama's final four games, he ran for 454 yards and six touchdowns, including pounding out 180 yards and two touchdowns against Washington's elite defense. Scarbrough's size, strength and speed have NFL scouts drooling.

4. Kamryn Pettway, Auburn: Quietly, Pettway hit 1,200 yards last season, and actually led the league in rushing until a leg injury cost him two games late in the season. Still, Pettway was a joy to watch on the field, rushing for at least 150 yards six times in a span of seven games last season. At 6 feet, 235 pounds, Pettway is an absolute load to bring down. But don't think that takes away from his speed or agility. He can pound you into the ground and then outrun you, as he averaged 57.7 yards after contact per game last year.

5. Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt: He seems to get lost in the shuffle each season, but Webb is one of the league's most underrated players, regardless of position. In three seasons with the Commodores, Webb has rushed for a program-record 3,342 yards, including a career-best 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2016. He had seven 100-yard performances last year, including ending the season with three straight. At only 5-10 and 202 pounds, Webb still managed 442 yards after contact last year. He also averaged 84 yards and 4.6 YPC in SEC games last season.

Past positions:

Quarterbacks

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