Yesterday, I took a look at the quarterback position. Today, I move on to the preseason All-SEC running backs. This decision is even more clear-cut than the quarterback one. The two running backs deserving of my preseason All-SEC honors are Todd Gurley of the Georgia Bulldogs and T.J. Yeldon of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
In a year where running back could be the deepest position group in the league, Gurley and Yeldon clearly rise above all competitors. They will be the class of the league and probably battle all year to be the top rusher when it’s all said and done. As good as Yeldon is, Gurley is clearly the 1A to his 1B. The combination of size, strength, and speed he possesses puts him in an entirely different class than other running backs in the country.
Gurley can literally do everything you ask a running back to do on the field. He can pound it between the tackles or bounce outside and break away. He’s also a tremendous pass catcher out of the backfield and is fully capable of picking up the blitz. He’s a three-down back in every sense of the term.
Yeldon is special in his own right. He has proven to live up to every bit of the hype surrounding him and followed in the footsteps of Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy. Those aren’t easy shoes to just step in and fill, but he did so masterfully last season, taking over for Lacy. He will clearly be the focal point of the Alabama offense in 2014.
When you look at their situations coming into the season, they are remarkably similar. Both Gurley and Yeldon will be a major key to their respective team’s success on offense. They also should both be considered Heisman contenders, if not front-runners, when the season begins.
Plus, both have a stable of running backs behind them that will keep their legs fresh. With help to carry the load, they should have the ability to take over games in big spots when they are needed most.
There are great running backs in the SEC this season, but these two stand head and shoulders above them all. It should be a fun season watching them battle, and there are no doubts in my mind they’ll be the best when the 2014 season concludes.