College Football's 10 Most Explosive Running Backs Returning for 2016

Who are the top big-play runners returning for 2016?

Having a running back who has the ability to turn on the jets after getting to the second level of the defense and also make something out of nothing is a must for a great ground game. These running backs have the unique ability to turn ordinary plays into pay dirt and six points for the offense. They come in different shapes and sizes, but there are a few qualities each big-play back seems to possess—speed, acceleration and great vision. This spreadsheet below shows runs that went over 30, 40 and 50 yards in the 2015 season and these are the top big-play threats coming back this year. Without further ado, here are the most explosive running backs in college football.

 

College Football's 10 Most Explosive RBs Returning for 2016

Name

30+

40+

50+

Total

Matt Breida (GSU)

13

9

6

28

Dalvin Cook (FSU)

13

6

6

25

Leonard Fournette (LSU)

10

7

4

21

Larry Rose III (NMSU)

10

6

5

21

Donnel Pumphrey (SDSU)

10

5

4

19

Jeremy McNichols (BSU)

9

5

3

17

Jamauri Bogan (WMU)

7

6

4

17

Ito Smith (USM)

9

5

2

16

James Butler (Nevada)

6

5

5

16

Mike Warren (ISU)

6

6

3

15

 

Matt Breida, 5’11, 190 lbs., Georgia Southern

The no-glove phenom averaged a nation-leading 7.9 yards per carry (minimum 100 carries) last season.

 

Dalvin Cook, 5’11, 206 lbs., Florida State

Became the Seminoles’ all-time single-season leader in rushing yards (1,691) last year exceeding Warrick Dunn’s 20-year record of 1,242 yards.

 

Leonard Fournette, 6’1, 230lbs., LSU

Only player in LSU history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.

 

Larry Rose III, 5’11, 184 lbs., New Mexico State

Tallied three 200-yard rushing games and seven 100-yard rushing games last fall.

 

Donnel Pumphrey, 5’9, 180 lbs., San Diego State

Set the single-season school record with 1,867 rushing yards last year and has 13 career 100-yard rushing games.

 

Jeremy McNichols, 5’9, 207 lbs., Boise State

Set the Mountain West record for most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown (12).

 

Jamauri Bogan, 5’7, 187 lbs., Western Michigan

Accomplished quite the feat of rushing for four touchdowns in a game twice in 2016.

 

Ito Smith, 5’9, 195 lbs., Southern Mississippi

The all-purpose back racked up 1,128 rushing yards, 515 receiving yards, 233 kick return yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

 

James Butler, 5’9, 200 lbs., Nevada  

The Wolf Pack went 6-1 when he eclipsed 100 yards last fall and led the Mountain West in yards per carry with 6.3 (minimum 100 carries).

 

Mike Warren, 6’0, 200 lbs., Iowa State

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and his 1,339 rushing yards was the third-best effort by a freshman in Big 12 history.

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