I'm curious where you think South Carolina's Mike Davis falls - then I see you pretty much followed Rivals' rankings, except advanced Gurley higher than Williams and Kimbrow.
Highly-touted running backs arrive on campus with carries available and the talent to make plays immediately. This year’s class is no different.
Players such as Trent Richardson, Michael Dyer and Marcus Lattimore have shown up in recent years and made a difference on championship teams in the SEC. Who might do the same this fall?
Here are the top five freshman running backs in the SEC.
1. Keith Marshall – Georgia
We’ll see what Marshall is made of early in 2012 now that Isaiah Crowell is no longer in Athens. Marshall, our No. 1 freshman in the SEC regardless of position, enrolled at Georgia in January and showed during the spring he’s ready to play in the SEC. He’ll have a good chance to start from day one. Marshall has good size (5-11, 202) and is a threat to break a long run on any play. Georgia will have high expectations this year, which should fit right in with the attention Marshall will see on Sept. 1.
2. T.J. Yeldon – Alabama
Many are skeptical whether Yeldon will really get a fair shot this season with so much returning talent in Alabama’s offensive backfield. But Yeldon, one of Alabama’s stars in the spring, has too much talent to stand on the sideline. Yeldon will get his touches behind starter Eddie Lacy, and quarterback A.J. McCarron would be wise to look for Yeldon out of the backfield. He’s a threat as a receiver, too. Former Tide running back Trent Richardson benefited in 2009 from playing behind Mark Ingram. Yeldon should experience similar success behind Lacy.
3. Todd Gurley – Georgia
Gurley (6-1, 195) won’t receive as much attention as Marshall but he should have a significant impact on Georgia’s season. While Marshall was the unanimous pick as the top back in North Carolina, many believe it was a close race with Gurley. Now the two can settle the debate on the same team. Gurley’s a speedster – he ran track for Team USA in Europe last year – and Richt knows he’ll be another weapon for quarterback Aaron Murray this season. Note to Murray: don’t be afraid to check down.
4. Trey Williams – Texas A&M
Starting running back Christine Micha el is back from injury and will need help behind him. Williams should provide it. He isn’t big (5-8, 180) but is quick and can make plays. Williams should also be a nice compliment to Michel, who’s a bigger, more physical runner. The Aggies aren’t expecting Oklahoma transfer Brandon Williams to be eligible to play this fall. While his arrival will likely have to wait, the Williams combo should be a dangerous one in 2013.
5. Brian Kimbrow – Vanderbilt
Kimbrow was the top signee in February for coach James Franklin, who has a number of ways he plans to use Kimbrow this fall. He can help as a runner, receiver and kick returner. Some analysts considered Kimbrow (5-8, 170) the top prospect in the state of Tennessee in 2012, which makes his arrival in Nashville even more significant. There’s a reason Ohio State coach Urban Meyer offered a scholarship to Kimbrow. He’s a playmaker.
Be sure to keep up with recruiting from across the SEC on MrSEC.com’s Recruiting Page.