Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer 136d

Who will be the SEC's 1,000-yard rushers for 2017?

On Tuesday, we tried to determine how many 3,000-yard passers the SEC would have in 2017. Today, we're trying to predict how many players will hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark.

Last year, the SEC had 11 players cross 1,000 rushing yards. No other Power 5 conference even reached double digits.

Nine of those 11 players are back, and all of them have a great shot of reaching 1,000 yards again. So how many SEC players will get to 1,000 yards this year? I'll go with 10.

Because there are so many returning 1,000-yard rushers, we can all agree that they should be on this list. So we'll name them and then dive into a few players on the outside of that number who could get to 1,000 as well.

2016 1,000-yard rushers in SEC

  • RB Derrius Guice, LSU -- 1,387

  • QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State -- 1,375

  • RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt -- 1,283

  • RB Kamryn Pettway, Auburn -- 1,224

  • RB Nick Chubb, Georgia -- 1,130

  • RB Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky -- 1,091

  • RB Damarea Crockett, Missouri -- 1,062

  • RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M -- 1,057

  • RB Damien Harris, Alabama -- 1,040

Guys who could make a run at 1,000 yards this year

1. RB Bo Scarbrough, Alabama: After rushing for 454 yards in the final four games of the season, we finally got to see what all the hype was about with Scarbrough. He's getting early NFL love and could be one of the first running backs taken in next year's draft. Even with Damien Harris in the backfield, he'll get even more carries this fall.

2. RB Devwah Whaley, Arkansas: With former starter Rawleigh Williams III having to walk away from the game because of another neck injury, Whaley becomes the Hogs' primary back. He rushed for 602 yards last year, but Whaley has all the talent to be an All-SEC performer this season. Coach Bret Bielema told ESPN last year that Whaley was "the most complete running back I’ve ever signed."

3. RB Sony Michel, Georgia: He was close to reaching 1,000 yards, with 840 yards in 2016. Now, Nick Chubb wasn't at 100 percent last season, so expect Chubb to get more carries this fall. But coach Kirby Smart has made it clear that he wants to use his running backs even more this fall, and Michel is that home run threat who can churn out yards.

4. RB Jordan Scarlett, Florida: One of the least talked about running backs in the SEC, Scarlett quietly had 889 yards last season, averaging 5 yards per run. Scouts think he has NFL vision and quickness, and with what should be an improved offensive line, Scarlett will have a great chance to reach 1,000 yards in his third year with the Gators.

5. RB Rico Dowdle, South Carolina: Keep and eye on this youngster. Despite missing the first month of the 2016 season with a sports hernia injury, Dowdle rushed for 764 yards as a true freshman. He'll be a year older and a year better in Kurt Roper's offense, so get ready for a true breakout season.

6. RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn: Even with Kamryn Pettway alongside him, Johnson hit 895 yards last year. Now, Pettway's injury helped him there, but if coach Gus Malzahn can get his running game revving like in the past, Johnson won't need Pettway to sit to hurt his chances. However, keep an eye on quarterback Jarrett Stidham. He's a mobile guy who will likely eat into both running backs' carries this fall.

7. RB John Kelly, Tennessee: In a crowded backfield for most of last year, Kelly rushed for 630 yards. Now, he's the lone proven back in Tennessee's backfield, and he could really make a name for himself this year, as the offense relies on him more this fall.

8. QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama: If Scarbrough and Harris get the carries that they should each week, it's going to be tough for Hurts to duplicate his 954 yards he had last year. Hurts will also look to stand in the pocket longer this fall. Still, he's so good with his feet and when things break down, he can hit big play after big play when he gets on the move.

^ Back to Top ^