1. Todd Gurley, Georgia
The top of this list is full of SEC guys, but that isn't all that surprising considering these running backs are putting up impressive numbers against some of the best defense's in college football. Todd Gurley has been putting up solid numbers since his freshman season, but wear and tear caused him to go down early with an injury in 2013. Gurley will continue to give Georgia an All-SEC first team type effort even if it might be detrimental to his long term NFL career. The last thing I want to see is another Marcus Lattimore situation in the SEC, but if he can stay healthy Gurley is the most imposing back in the nation.
2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
The Badgers seem to turn out top level running backs year in and year out and Melvin Gordon was able to push aside James White maybe a season before expectations in 2013. Melvin Gordon averaged 10 yards per carry during his sophomore season and with increased usage in 2013 his yard per carry average only dipped to 7.8 yards per attempt. Gordon was a major reason why Wisconsin was able to cover the spread so consistently in 2013 and his big play ability out of the backfield had him as 6 points waiting to happen from any spot on the field.
3. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
The Crimson Tide are another program that has been developing top level running backs year in and out, and the current top guy on their depth chart is T.J. Yeldon. In his first two seasons with Alabama Yeldon has been outpacing previous Crimson Tide backs such as Eddie Lacy, Trent Richardson, and Mark Ingram statistically. Yeldon was the first true freshman to top 1,000 yards for Alabama and he is ready to put together another great season in 2014 behind a stout O-line.
4. Duke Johnson, Miami
The rise of Miami's football program over recent season's has been in large part due to the dominance of Duke Johnson out of the backfield. Last season Johnson was a legitimate Heisman candidate after Miami's hot start, but a season ending ankle injury during the eight game of the season derailed the Hurricanes. When Johnson was out of the lineup Miami went 2-3 which is a testament to how reliant the offense was on his production.
5. Mike Davis, South Carolina
This is a guy that a lot of people outside of the SEC might not have heard of, but Mike Davis was one of the top producing backs in the nation in 2013. Davis has the rare combination of quickness and power which allows him to be effective in short or long yardage situations. Davis is also a threat in the pass game where he was second on the team in receptions last season. Look for Davis to challenge for another 1,500+ all-purpose yard season in 2014 as he becomes the main focus of the offense early and often.
6. Shock Linwood, Baylor
It appears that Baylor has hit another home run in recruiting with Shock Linwood as they picked up this athlete who was ranked outside the top 40 in the state of Texas (247Sports.com). Last season started with Lache Seastrunk dominating the carries out of the backfield, but as minor injuries took hold of Seastrunk, Linwood moved in without a dip in production. In a backup role Linwood still tallied nearly 900 rushing yards and 8 TDs, and with Seastrunk going to the NFL, Linwood becomes the number one guy for the Bears.
7. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
The Nebraska's offense has revolved around Ameer Abdullah for each of the past two season and instead of opting for the NFL draft Abdullah decided to come back to Lincoln for one more go round. Abdullah is a dual threat out of the backfield through the run and pass games. Last season Ameer tallied 1,690 rush yards, 232 receiving yards, and 11 combined TDs. The offense will lean heavily on this senior early and often, and as a result Abdullah could be propelled into Heisman contention.
8. Malcolm Brown, Texas
Malcolm Brown is another dual threat in the pass and run games out of the backfield and he leads what should be a very strong Texas group of backs in 2014. Brown took over for the injured Johnathan Gray in 2013, but Gray should get back into the mix this season. Brown is the number one guy on the depth chart right now and new head coach Charlie Strong will love to develop Texas into one of the top running teams in the Big 12.
9. Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
Michigan State is a program that has flown under the radar in recent seasons, but their Big Ten championship and bowl win over Stanford opened peoples' eyes across the country in 2013. The Spartans typically have to find diamonds in the recruiting rough to stay competitive and they have found another gem in halfback Jeremy Langford. Initially Langford played on the defensive side of the ball, but this track star's switch to offense paid dividends during his junior year. Last season Langford rushed for 1,422 yards and 18 TDs.
10. Jamaal Williams, BYU
The BYU offense is set to explode in 2014 with QB Taysom Hill and RB Jamaal Williams. With opposing defenses having to focus on shutting down the run threat of Hill, Williams can capitalize on defenses playing on their heels. Jamaal showed improvement during his sophomore season rushing for 1,233 yards and 7 TDs and he will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself again in one of the nation's best rush attacks.
Next best: Byron Marshall Oregon, Karlos Williams Florida State, Alex Collins Arkansas, Corey Grant/Cameron Artis-Payne/Peyton Barber Auburn, Derrick Henry Alabama, Jay Ajayi Boise State, Thomas Tyner Oregon, Tevin Coleman Indiana, Travis Greene Bowling Green, Kelvin Taylor Florida, Ezekiel Elliott/Dontre Wilson Ohio State, D.J. Foster Arizona State, Leonard Fournette LSU, Russell Hansbrough Missouri, Desmond Roland Oklahoma State