We finally arrive at the top 5 running backs for 2012. No surprise, all of these young men had stellar campaigns in 2011, averaging 1,407 rushing yards between them. Three of the 5 are the top returning backs from 2011, while the other two hope to absorb more carries and more yards this season.
Look here for more on the methodology and motivation.
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Stats: 1395 (2011); 1553 (projected 2012)
A little more of the same for Oliver in 2012.
4) Robbie Rouse - Fresno St.
Stats: 1549 (2011); 1588 (projected 2012)
Another good season will put Rouse over 4,500 career yards. The only question marks this season are the arrival of a new coaching staff and the ever present potential of injury.
3) John White IV - Utah
Stats: 1519 (2011); 1589 (projected 2012)
White is another example of why it is so hard to project player performance from season to season. A year after leaving LA Harbor College, White had racked up more than 1,500 rushing yards for the Utes. Unless lightening strikes twice in Salt Lake - he will be joined this season in the backfield by Fullerton transfer Kelvin York - John White should have another very productive season.
2) Chris Nwoke - Colorado State
Stats: 1130 (2011); 1604 (projected 2012)
A risky pick, to say the least. The Rams are losing a quarterback and 5 seasons of starts on the offensive line while breaking in a new coach.
1) Montee Ball - Wisconsin
Stats: 1923 (2011); 1720 (projected 2012)
Even with serious regression, Montee Ball should again be the statistical leader among running backs in 2012. The rest of the Badger offense is less exciting than last season, but as long as Ball is playing in Madison, he will amass carries and yards.