Despite the conference being very much involved in the crusade toward throwing the football, the Pac-12 is full of talent at the running back position.
Backs are being used in tandem a lot, too, and many of them are being used as receivers more and more every season.
[divider]Top 5s in the Pac-12
QB | WR | TE | OL | DT | DE | LB | S | CB | K | P | Coaches[divider]
Here are the Top 5 running backs in the Pac-12 entering the 2017 season:
5. Ryan Nall (JR) — Oregon State
6.5 YPC, 951 YDS, 13 TD, 22 REC, 214 YDS, 2 TD
Nall is a big back — a former H-Back — at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds and what he lacks in elusiveness he makes up for with power and the ability to break tackles. He finished last season with games of 221, 131, 124 and 155 yards in six games and scored nine times over the final four games.[divider]
Lindsay is a versatile back who, despite weighing under 200 pounds, had nearly 300 touches last season and scored 17 times. With a new regular starting QB from the get-go, Lindsay will carry the load again in 2017.[divider]
Gaskin won't put up the total yards of Lindsay for two reasons: He's not as big a part of the team's passing game and he shares time Lavon Coleman, who might deserve to be No. 6 on this list. Still, he's averaged 5.7 and 5.8 yards per carry his first two years and scored 26 TDs. Behind UW's well-oiled offensive line in '17, Gaskin could have his best season.[divider]
2. Ronald Jones II (JR) — USC
6.1 YPC, 1,082 YDS, 12 TD, 11 REC, 76 YDS, TD
Jones may have the most upside of any player on this list with breakaway speed and enough size to carry the ball ball 15-20 times a week. If he gets 250-plus touches, he could lead the conference in yards from scrimmage.[divider]
Freeman missed some time last year due to injury but has racked up 4,798 yards and 48 TDs in 39 games in Eugene. The O-line needs to be better in the ground game but Freeman is 230-plus pounds of explosiveness and is the best back in the conference.[divider]
Others to keep an eye on in 2017: Bryce Love (JR) — Stanford; Tony Brooks-James (JR) — Oregon; Lavon Coleman (SR) — Washington; Tre Watson (SR) — California; James Williams (SO) — Washington State; Demario Richard (SR) Arizona State; Jamal Morrow (SR) — Washington State; Gerald Wicks (SR) — Washington State; Artavis Pierce (SO) — Oregon State.
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