Alabama Football: Ranking the best SEC Running Backs for ’22

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 4
Alabama Football
Alabama Football /

Alabama football fans remember when the SEC was, more than anything, a running back and linebacker league. In terms of running backs, that is less true today. Since Wisconsin running back, Ron Dayne won the Heisman in 1999, only three running backs have won the award. Two of them, both Alabama football running backs are the most recent; Mark Ingram in 2009 and Derrick Henry in 2015.

Between Ingram and DeVonta Smith last season, every Heisman winner has been a quarterback. The gunslingers have the ‘sizzle’ and that is one reason the first position we ranked for the ’22 season was the SEC QBs.

Running backs are still important in the SEC. Going back to and including Mark Ingram in 2009, five running backs have won the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award. Three of them have been Crimson Tide players. The other two somehow managed to win a major award, while playing for Auburn.

Speaking of SEC Offensive Player of the Year awards, six of the last eight have been Alabama football players: Amari Cooper; Derrick Henry; Jalen Hurts; Tya Tagovailoa; DeVonta Smith, and Bryce Young.

As was done in the best SEC quarterbacks post, the rankings that follow are listed in reverse. Unlike the QB list, the No. 1 running back will not be disclosed until the end. That is because, unlike Bryce Young, there is no obvious No. 1 among the running backs. Each school is represented by one running back. A program like Alabama may have two or three of the top backs in the SEC, but for the rankings, only one is chosen per school.

At the back, of the SEC’s running back pack, are four guys from two teams. Together they are tied for No. 13 in the rankings. It is mostly a default ranking because it is not clear which back will be their team’s top back.