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The Year of the Running Back


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Believe it or not, all of these guys were on the field in 1982.  In parentheses is the state where each hailed from.  Does anyone remember that year?  There has arguably never been a year with that many great college running backs on the field at one time.  Who was your favorite?

 

Bo Jackson-Auburn 1985 Heisman Trophy (Alabama)

Herschel Walker -Georgia 1982 Heisman Trophy (Georgia)

Eric Dickerson-SMU (Texas)

Mike Rozier-Nebraska 1983 Heisman Trophy (New Jersey)

Roger Craig-Nebraska (Iowa)

Marcus Dupree-Oklahoma (Mississippi)

Curt Warner-Penn St (West Virginia)

Napoleon McCallum-Navy (Ohio)

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Marcus Dupree 6'3" 230 and ran a 9.5 100 in high school.  This was one of the most graceful rb's I have ever seen play the game.  Some believe he was the most naturally gifted rb to ever play football...ever.  Keep in mind that you are watching video of a true freshman who averaged nearly 8 yards per carry...a higher per carry average than any rb in the country that year.  So, what happened to him after that year?  That is the subject of an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary.  There is a reason some call him the greatest that never was.

At 2:42, that's a true freshman ripping off an 86-yard run against a Nebraska team that was arguably the best in the country at the time.  He finished that game with 149 yards.

 

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Curt Warner was a 2-time All-American at Penn St and 1982 was his senior year.  He led the Nittany Lions to their first national championship.  He had a successful NFL career (AFC Offensive Player of the Year in his rookie year)) but sustained a knee injury early on that likely held him back from being one of the NFL's all-time greats.

 

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Eric Dickerson led SMU to an undefeated season and #2 ranking in his senior season, 1982.  He averaged 7 yards every time he touched the ball and scored 17TD's that year.  He finished third in the Heisman voting behind Herschel Walker and Jon Elway.  Dickerson was a tall, graceful back.  He and Marcus Dupree were a joy to watch.

 

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Napoleon McCallum is probably best known for the gruesome injury he sustained while in the NFL, which prematurely ended his career.  He was a sophomore at Navy in 1982 and was already recognized as one of the top rb's in the country.  In 1983, he finished sixth in the Heisman voting, the second highest rb behind Mike Rozier.  In the video below, some highlights can be found at the 2:00 mark. 

 

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It's hard to pick one from that list of legends, but as my personal favorite, I'll go with Bo Jackson.

When it comes to year of the running back in a backfield, no one tops 1993 Southridge, they had 3 division 1 running backs in the backfield at the same time . Two of them were All-Americans in college and the third was All Big 12 in college.

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Roger Craig did not have gaudy numbers in college, but that did not keep him from becoming one of the best NFL players of the 80's.  While at Nebraska, he was overshadowed by some other running backs of the time.  The video below was from his sophomore year and showed his potential.  That year, All-American rb Jarvis Redwine was in the limelight.  In 1981 and 1982, Craig's junior and senior seasons, he shared the backfield with Mike Rozier.

 

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What do get when you have a guy who weighs 230 pounds who could run a 4.13 40?  You get 1985 Heisman winner Bo Jackson.  Bo was just a freshman in 1982 but gained over 800 yards that year.  Everyone knew what was coming when they saw a freshman rb who average over 6 yards every time he touched .  

https://www.heisman.com/heisman-winners/bo-jackson/

 

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