A formidable running game is essential today, as five SEC pairs look to make a statement.
No. 1 Najee Harris, Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama)
Harris, now a true number one at running back, is sure to jump out of the gate and make his presence felt. Harris’ versatile skillset gives the Crimson Tide a combination of power and finesse in the backfield. Harris rounded out his sophomore campaign with 783 yards and four touchdowns on 117 attempts.
Though he did not see the field much in 2018, Robinson will have his share of opportunities this season. Per his speed, Robinson should also be a factor in the return game. Look for Robinson double his 272 yards as a sophomore.
No. 2 D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien (Georgia)
Swift, who put forth his all-around game last year, will be the Dawgs’ primary weapon. A dual threat, Swift recorded 1,049 yards on the ground along with 10 touchdowns and caught 32 balls for 297 yards and three scores. Swift averaged 6.4 yards per attempt with a career high 83 yard run.
Backing up Swift is Herrien, a senior with plenty of experience to offer. Herrien adds power to compliment Swift’s speed, as he is coming off 295 rush yards and three touchdowns. Head coach Kirby Smart will rely on Herrien as a leader and vocal locker room presence.
No. 3 Kylin Hill, Nick Gibson (Mississippi State)
Hill emerged onto the scene in 2018 as a sophomore, having accumulated 734 yards on 117 rushing attempts. He found the end zone four times and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Also formidable in the passing game, Hill added 22 receptions for 176 yards and four touchdowns. Now a junior and the Bulldogs’ primary back, Hill’s number’s should skyrocket.
While Hill will be the workhorse, Gibson is a reliable backup. Gibson’s 205 yards and career best average of 7.6 per career last season should career over and potentially increase. Look for Gibson to be used in short yardage situations.
No. 4 Perine Lamical, Dameon Pierce (Florida)
Lamical, who rushed for 421 yards as a freshman, nearly doubled his total as a sophomore with 826. Expect Lamical to surpass 1,000 yards and lead the Gators’ offense. Additionally, Lamical could be used as pass catching back when needed.
In his debut as a sophomore, Pierce shined 424 yards rushing in 13 games. Though he will serve as the backup, Pierce should see the field in key moments. He and Lamical will make some noise in the SEC East.
No. 5 JaTarvious Whitlow, Kam Martin (Auburn)
Whitlow’s impact on the SEC West was profound. In 13 games, Whitlow filled the stat line having recorded 787 yards on 150 attempts. As he posted six touchdowns on the ground in 2018, Whitlow’s numbers are sure to surge.
Martin, a senior leader will be complimenting Whitlow, as the two should split time. Martin adds agility and vision. He rushed for 458 yards and a touchdown last year. Look for his stats to increase, as Martin is due for a respectable senior season.
Overall, the duo of Hill and Gibson will be an integral component in the Bulldogs’ offense.
Big things to come.