ACC post-spring position rankings: Running back

Florida State's Dalvin Cook, last season's ACC rushing leader, returns healthy and surrounded by Heisman buzz. Melina Vastola/USA TODAY Sports

Our look at post-spring position groups across the ACC moves on to running back, where all six 1,000-yard rushers from a year ago return. But these groups take into account more than just the top rusher. Depth is a key, too. And because this is only about running backs, rushing quarterbacks did not get consideration in this evaluation (sorry Clemson and Louisville).

1. Florida State: Dalvin Cook returns after rushing for 1,691 yards aseason ago. He certainly has the capability of getting to 2,000, but the Seminoles return a deep and talent group of backs to help him out, starting with bruiser Jacques Patrick. Every running back with 20-plus carries a year ago returns.

2. Pittsburgh: If James Conner returns as expected, the Panthers will have two 1,000-yard running backs in the backfield -- including ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year Qadree Ollison (1,121). Add in Darrin Hall and a healthy Rachid Ibrahim and this group is deeper than most.

3. North Carolina: Eljiah Hood is the headliner after rushing for 1,463 yards a year ago and earning All-ACC first-team honors. T.J. Logan returns as an experienced backup, along with Khris Francis. True freshman Jordon Brown could also play in the fall (11 carries, 85 yards in the spring game).

4. Clemson: Wayne Gallman is ready for another run at 1,000 yards after setting a school record with 1,527 yards a season ago. But proven depth behind him at the position is what is holding the Tigers back in the rankings. No question, talent is there with Adam Choice, C.J. Fuller, Tyshon Dye and Tavien Feaster ready to challenge for carries.

5. Virginia Tech: Travon McMillian hit 1,042 yards last season and will be expected to be the workhorse back this season. But there should be other options with the return of Shai McKenzie, who looked good in the spring. Fullback Sam Rogers also got more work in the spring running the ball.

6. Miami: Joe Yearby had a 1,000-yard season a year ago, but there is concern about depth with the Canes. Mark Walton remains suspended indefinitely after a DUI arrest, and Trayone Gray has 29 career carries. Getting Gus Edwards back is a big boost.

7. Georgia Tech: The Jackets' saw their production at A-back and B-back dip a season ago thanks to inexperience and injury. The good news is nearly every A-back and B-back returns in 2016, giving the Jackets the depth they need. But who will emerge as the reliable backs out of the group?

8. NC State: Matt Dayes returns to anchor the group, which has great potential headed into 2016 with Reggie Gallaspy II back and the addition of redshirt freshman Johnny Frasier. But this is a group that saw its production dip after losing Shadrach Thornton and Dayes a year ago. Dayes is eager to hit 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.

9. Louisville: The Cards return their top three running backs from a year ago, but none of them led the team in carries or rushing (that was quarterback Lamar Jackson). Brandon Radcliff, Jeremy Smith and L.J. Scott are capable backs, but more will be expected of them this season.

10. Duke: The Blue Devils lose top running back Shaquille Powell, but return veterans Shaun Wilson and Jela Duncan. Both ran for more than 400 yards last season, but their workload is sure to increase. How will they handle that? Depth also must be developed behind them.

11. Boston College: Injuries took a major toll on the Eagles at the position a year ago. Now attrition has taken a toll with three backups on to new schools. Jon Hilliman, Tyler Rouse and Myles Willis are all expected to be healthy and ready for 2016. But behind them? No real depth at all.

12. Virginia: The Hoos have been waiting on Taquan Mizzell to emerge as a force in the backfield since he arrived as a four-star prospect. Is this the year that happens? Daniel Hamm, Albert Reid and Olamide Zaccheaus all return to a team that ranked No. 12 in the ACC in rushing.

13. Syracuse: The Orange have talent here, with Dontae Strickland, Jordan Fredericks and George Morris II returning, along with the addition of freshman Moe Neal (No. 3 on the post-spring depth chart). But they struggled to run the ball a year ago, so more consistency is needed out of this group.

14. Wake Forest: Strides were made a year ago, but Wake Forest remained one of the worst rushing teams in FBS. The top three backs in the rotation all return: Tyler Bell, Isaiah Robinson and Matt Colburn, and coach Dave Clawson is expecting better results.