Ranking any player or team after one month of the college football season is tough. With one-sided matchups skewing the statistics, and conference play not yet underway for most teams, it's hard to say whether these players will carry that momentum throughout the season.
Still, September has been a great month for running backs. Here’s Athlon Sports’ take on the top 10 performers through the first month of the season. Note: This is not strictly based on stats. Opponent strength, injuries, snaps due to blowouts and preseason projection were all considered.
College Football's Top 10 RBs for September
1. Leonard Fournette, LSU
There’s no debate as to the No. 1 running back in college football from the month of September. Fournette is the Heisman Trophy frontrunner after rushing for 631 yards and eight scores in three games. The sophomore has recorded back-to-back 200-yard contests.
2. Nick Chubb, Georgia
While Fournette has been the best running back through September, Chubb isn’t too far behind on the stat sheet. The sophomore has rushed for 599 yards and six scores on just 71 carries. Chubb’s 8.4 yards per carry average ranks second in the SEC and enters Week 5 with 12 consecutive 100-yard games.
3. C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame
Injuries hit the Fighting Irish hard in September, including a season-ending ailment to starting running back Tarean Folston in the opener against Texas. But Notre Dame’s rushing attack hasn’t missed a beat behind Prosise. The junior has recorded three consecutive 100-yard games and averaged at least nine yards per carry during that span.
4. Jordan Howard, Indiana
While the focus (and rightfully so) has been on Fournette this season, Howard quietly leads the nation with 675 rushing yards. The UAB transfer was expected to be a solid replacement for Tevin Coleman and has picked up where he left off with the Blazers in 2014 (1,587 yards). The competition will get tougher, but Howard should push for first-team All-Big Ten honors this season.
5. Dalvin Cook, Florida State
With new quarterback Everett Golson still settling into coach Jimbo Fisher's scheme, Cook has carried Florida State’s offense so far this year. Boston College's tough defense limited Cook to 54 yards, but the sophomore recorded 156 yards in the opener against Texas State and 266 against USF in Week 2.
6. Paul Perkins, UCLA
Perkins might be the nation’s most underrated running back. Through four games, the junior has accumulated 514 rushing yards and six scores, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. He also has eight receptions for 99 yards and leads all Pac-12 running backs with four rushes of 30 yards or more this season.
7. Derrick Henry, Alabama
Henry is one of the most physically impressive running backs in the nation. After working for two years as the 1b option to starter T.J. Yeldon, Henry is now the No. 1 back for Alabama and rushed for 422 yards and eight scores in September. Henry also has two 100-yard performances against Power 5 opponents in 2015.
8. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Elliott was a little quiet in September, but the junior is still one of the top running backs in the nation. In four games this fall, Elliott has rushed for 455 yards and five scores and recorded a 100-yard performance in each contest. Expect to see Elliott’s numbers climb now the Buckeyes have reached Big Ten play.
9. Devontae Booker, Utah
Booker’s numbers may not be as prolific as some of the other names on this list, but he remains the centerpiece for an improving Utah offense and shouldn’t see as many stacked defensive fronts in the next two months as quarterback Travis Wilson is off to a good start. Booker faced a tough Michigan defense in the opener and managed only 69 yards in that game. However, he recorded back-to-back 100-yard games against Utah State and Fresno State, caught 15 passes through the first four games and threw a touchdown pass in the win over Oregon.
10. Justin Jackson, Northwestern
A couple of players could fit in this No. 10 spot, but let’s give a tip of the cap to Jackson. The sophomore leads the nation with 118 rushing attempts after four games and recorded 516 yards and a score in that span. Jackson was instrumental in the upset win over Stanford (134) and recorded 120 yards against Duke.