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College Football 2019 Preview: Ranking the Best Running Back Units in the Big Ten East

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College Football 2019 Preview: Ranking the Best Running Back Units in the Big Ten East

2019-08-08 19:19:29

-by TJ Inman, Contributing Writer; Image: Ohio State running back JK Dobbins. (Image Source: Ronald Martinez)

Bloomington, IN—Here’s a look at the best running back units in the B1G East heading into the 2019 season:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

I strongly considered putting Maryland at number one on this list but I believe in the talent of JK Dobbins. He was disappointed in his play in 2018 and spent his offseason trying to regain the form he had in his freshman campaign. I think the departure of Mike Weber will allow Dobbins to thrive and look more like what we saw in 2017. Redshirt freshman Master Teague would be starting at a lot of places and veteran Demario McCall is a steady veteran the coaching staff feels like they can trust. Dobbins is going to get the lion’s share of the carries though and I think he’ll have a monster season next to Justin Fields in the Buckeyes offense.

2. Maryland Terrapins

The Terrapins lost Ty Johnson but this is still a top-notch backfield with one terrific talent and lots of good supporting players. Redshirt sophomore Anthony McFarland had 1,034 yards and he averaged an astounding 7.9 yards per carry. Expect his workload to increase this season. His total yardage should go up but there’s no way his yards per carry stays at that ridiculous number. I’d expect his touchdown total (four in 2018) to increase as well. Javon Leake, Lorenzo Harrison, Tayon Fleet-Davis, and Jake Funk provide strong depth to this group but McFarland is the headliner and he’s an absolute handful.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

After having bell-cow backs Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders (who was far better than he got credit for), Penn State’s staff professes that they are now looking forward to more of a committee approach, led by 5’9” sophomore Ricky Slade, who is expected to be the starter and end up with the most carries. The five-star recruit did not have a chance to show much in 2018 but he has the potential to be a star. The wealth will be spread around more though so don’t expect anyone to put up monster numbers in this backfield. Journey Brown is a blazer that can change a game with every touch and youngsters Noah Cain, Devyn Ford, and C.J. Holmes provide high-quality depth. Penn State will need to rely on their running game early as they break in new quarterback Sean Clifford.

To read more from Sammy Jacobs and his staff at HoosierHuddle.com, click here.

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