Bryce Love coming back to Stanford for another season. Who are the top five returning running backs for 2018?
Daily Five: Bryce Love, and Top 5 Returning Running Backs
San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny is gone after leading the nation with 2,248 yards and 23 touchdowns, Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer, Hawaii’s Diocemy Saint Juste. Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay and Oregon’s Royce Freeman are finished, and USC’s Ronald Jones is leaving early. However, four of the top five leading running backs from last year return, and the fifth is going to be a terror.
It’ll be a fantastic year for running backs – and this doesn’t even include Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, or any of the Alabama or Georgia stars.
The top five returning running backs – based on total 2017 rushing yards …
5. Justice Hill, Jr. Oklahoma State
Sort of the forgotten superstar in the Cowboy offense last year, now he’ll be one of the Big 12’s and nation’s biggest rushing stars – even at just 5-10 and 185 pounds.
Hill was a solid receiver with 31 catches for 190 yard and a score, but he was at his best as the perfect complement to Mason Rudolph and the passing game, running for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had to grind it out at times, but he was terrific around the goal line.
4. AJ Dillon, Soph. Boston College
A big reason why Boston College was able to turn its season around, Dillon exploded as a true freshman to finish with 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns on a brutal 300 carries.
The 6-0, 240-pounder isn’t a receiver in any way, but he was able to handle the ball 23 times or more in nine of the last ten games including a 39-carry, 272-yard, four-score day in the win over Louisville.
3. Devin Singletary, Jr. Florida Atlantic
Lane Kiffin is back. Singletary is back. Look out, Conference USA.
The offense that dominated on the ground throughout last season gets the main man back, with the 5-9, 200-pound Singletary building off his 1,016-yard, 12 touchdown freshman season with 1,920 yards and a ridiculous 32 rushing scores and a receiving touchdown.
Darting, quick, and tough, he hit the 100-yard mark in each of his last 12 games after being held to 68 yards in the loss to Wisconsin. He’ll be a threat for 2,000 yards as he’ll join UCF’s McKenzie Milton as the Heisman cause célèbre of the Group of Five crowd.
2. Jonathan Taylor, Soph. Wisconsin
He walked among the gods when it came to setting records for the most yards by a true freshman, tearing off 1,977 with 13 touchdowns. He had a fumbling problem – especially at inopportune times in the red zone – which cut down his touchdown numbers with just one in the last five games and two in the last seven, but the yards …
He got dinged against Illinois, and the coaching staff flat-out forgot to give him the ball against Ohio State, but he ended up running for 100 yards or more in ten of the last 13 games with three 200-yard performances.
The scary part? All five starters are back on the Badger offensive front.
1. Bryce Love, Sr. Stanford
From a football perspective, there’s no reason for Love to return for another year. His stock isn’t going to get any higher with more tread off the tires, and everyone with a brain knows what he can do when he’s 100% healthy.
But now we might just get to see what he can do when he’s at least healthier for a full season.
The Heisman finalist ran for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns despite missing the Oregon State game and being limited in several other second half contests with a high-ankle sprain that just wouldn’t go away. The ultimate home run hitter, he averaged over eight yards per carry, and now, behind a killer line, he should be a lock for another 2,000-yard season …
If he can stay healthy.