2017 Opponents' Top Running Backs
|Thursday, July 13, 2017, 9:16 AM- -|
2017 Opponents' Top Running Backs
Over the past 16 games, Clemson has faced some of the best running backs in the country. FSU’s all-time leading great Dalvin Cook was a nightmare to try to defend. Derrick Henry won the Heisman, and Bo Scarborough was almost as impressive. Pittsburgh’s James Connor was more than a handful to prepare for last season.
However, on paper, this season doesn’t present those types of challenging running backs on the schedule.
In fact, according to Phil Steele’s pre-season rankings, Clemson faces only two of the top 30 running back corps in the country. Auburn is sixth, and FSU is ninth.
Here are the best backs Brent Venables will have to scheme against this season:
1. Cam Akers-FSU
Despite being a true freshman, I feel Akers will be the best back Clemson will face this season. Last year he was rivals.com’s number three player in the country. Akers has all of the tools to be the next great thing at FSU.
2. Kamryn Pettway-Auburn
Pettway changed the way Auburn ran the football last season. This 235-pound monster enjoyed a great season a year ago. Pettway had 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns on 209 carries. If Auburn can get this physical attacking back downhill, it could lead to a long night for Clemson.
3. Dedric Mills-Georgia Tech
It's no secret that Tech has to have a great B back and Mills was that guy at times last season. Despite a suspension, his freshman numbers were solid. Mills had 771 yards, and 12 touchdowns on 152 carries last year but looks to be more consistent this season.
4. Kahalan Laborn-FSU
Jacques Patrick will be the guy early at FSU but Akers and fellow true freshman, Laborn will get better as the season progresses. It is rare to get two five-star backs in the same class, but that is what the Seminoles did with the nation’s number two and three running backs in February. Laborn looked very good in the national all-star game last year.
5. Nyheim Hines-NC State
This is a wildcard pick. Hines was an all-purpose guy in high school and has been a wide out and return guy so far in college but, he moves to running back this season. That could be a great move considering his top end speed, but Hines will have to make a major adjustment his new role.
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