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What School is Tailback U?

  • CptAUmerica21

    Written by 247's Steve Helwagen

    What School Is Tailback U.?

    USC has long held the title of Tailback U. But narrowing the focus to the last 15 years, we see schools like Auburn, Miami (Fla.) and Alabama as top producers of running backs
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  • recent lean years for AU. We havent even put a RB in the league since Tate.
    However i would be interested in taking a 30-35 year look at that position. we have been very consistent in getting RB's and FB's in the league. maybe not first-3rd round some times but very consistent. Even in the low ebb 70's we put RB's who became all pros in Andrew's, Cribbs, Brooks, Then James, Jackson, and Fulwood even made it 1 year. every starting senior RB made it to the NFL for about 20 years straight.

  • In case anyone is bored (because this is really long) is some info I wrote-up in February of 2012 regarding SEC running backs' success in the NFL (in the previous 30 NFL drafts).


    Back in August we discussed how important running the ball and stopping the run has been in having success in the SEC. The NFL draft reflects about what you would expect to find... the teams that have won the most in the SEC have typically had the most lineman (offensive and defensive), and running backs drafted. The win numbers don't mirror the draft numbers of defensive backs, quarterbacks, wide receivers, or linebacker nearly as closely as they do the lines and the running backs.

    Traditionally Auburn has had a strong running game, and the draft numbers of offensive lineman and running backs are evidence of that notion. Only Tennessee has had more players drafted (77) at those two positions in the last 30 drafts than Auburn has (75).

    Below is a quick refresher on the draft numbers from SEC programs on the lines and at running back (listed by total wins since 1981, not counting 2011 since there has been no draft following that season):

    1. FLORIDA
    278 wins - 70 Players drafted: 57 lineman (33 DL, 24 OL) + 13 running backs
    260 wins - 77 players drafted: 57 lineman (30 DL, 27 OL) + 20 running backs
    3. AUBURN
    255 wins - 75 players drafted: 54 lineman (31 DL, 23 OL) + 21 running backs
    4. GEORGIA
    253 wins - 62 players drafted: 44 lineman (25 DL, 19 OL) + 18 running backs
    5. LSU
    227 wins - 59 players drafted: 43 lineman (29 DL, 14 OL) + 16 running backs
    6. ALABAMA
    226 wins - 59 players drafted: 41 lineman (29 DL, 12 OL) + 18 running backs
    214 wins - 35 players drafted: 26 lineman (13 DL, 13 OL) + 9 running backs
    8. OLE MISS
    181 wins - 33 players drafted: 26 lineman (13 DL, 13 OL) + 7 running backs
    9. S. CAROLINA
    174 wins - 32 players drafted: 22 lineman (12 DL, 10 OL) + 10 running backs
    156 wins - 38 players drafted: 28 lineman (17 DL, 11 OL) + 10 running backs
    11. KENTUCKY
    144 wins - 27 players drafted: 18 lineman (13 DL, 6 OL) + 9 running backs
    101 wins - 9 players drafted: 9 lineman (3 DL, 6 OL) + 0 running backs

    But how have those running backs faired once they've entered the NFL? Running back is an especially difficult position at which to maintain success. The body takes a beating, injuries are frequent, and young, energetic, talented rookies are pouring into the league every draft. Some have said the NFL stands for "Not For Long", and that applies to running backs perhaps more than any position in the league.

    In order to create a ranking system for overall running back success in the NFL (from the top SEC programs), four categories were calculated for the top 15 running backs from each program: total yards, total touchdowns, number of Pro-Bowl players, and number of Pro-Bowl games played. Using the top 15 backs from each programs covers every player from each program that rushed for at least 1,000 yards in their career, and eliminates players who may have been drafted, but rarely contributed and quickly got the boot.

    The objective is not to simply credit programs for the total number of running backs put in the NFL, as this comparison doesn't count draft picks. But instead to consider the accomplishments of those running backs as a group for each program. In other words, the goal isn't to determine which program had the best two or three running backs, but instead, which program has produced the greatest combination of total players and the success of those players as a group.

    The point values assigned were as follows:

    For rushing yards, 5 points was given for each 1,000 yards. For example: 1,000 - 1,999 = 5 points, 2,000 - 2,999 = 10 points, 3,000 - 3,999 = 15 points, etc. With the point range topping out at 50 points for 10,000-plus rushing yards.

    For touchdowns, 5 points was given for every ten touchdowns. For example: 10 - 19 = 5 points, 20 - 29 = 10 points, 30 - 39 = 15 points, etc. With the point range topping out at 50 points for 100-plus touchdowns.

    For Pro-Bowl participation, 20 points was given for each player elected to the Pro-Bowl, and 10 points was given for each game played.

    **As with other lists that have utilized "points", the categories and values were chosen prior to any calculations.

    Points for Rushing Yards:
    1. 250 - Florida
    2. 235 - Auburn
    3. 220 - Georgia
    4. 210 - Tennessee
    5. 205 - LSU
    6. 115 - Alabama

    Points for Touchdowns:
    1. 220 - Florida
    2. 170 - LSU
    3. 145 - Georgia
    4. 135 - Auburn
    5. 130 - Alabama
    6. 115 - Tennessee

    Points for Number of Pro-Bowl Players:
    1. 220 - Auburn (11 players)
    2. 100 - Florida (5)
    2. 100 - Georgia (5)
    2. 100 - LSU (5)
    5. 80 - Tennessee (4)
    6. 60 - Alabama (3)

    Points for Pro-Bowl games played:
    1. 230 - Auburn (23)
    2. 200 - Florida (20)
    3. 110 - Georgia (11)
    4. 100 - LSU (10)
    5. 60 - Alabama (6)
    6. 60 - Tennessee (6)

    1. 820 - Auburn
    2. 770 - Florida
    3. 575 - Georgia
    3. 575 - LSU
    5. 465 - Tennessee
    6. 365 - Alabama

    Along with programs such as Miami and USC, Auburn has often been called "running back U". It's a title that Auburn fans embrace, and a name history shows that the Tigers have earned. Auburn hasn't produced an all-time NFL talent such as Emmit Smith, but the Tigers have produced seven players that have rushed for at least 4,000 yards in their careers, which is more than any other SEC program.

    But perhaps the most impressive note on Auburn's group of running backs is the number that have participated in the Pro-Bowl. Not only have the Tigers produced twice as many as any other program, but many of those who represented Auburn in the game did so numerous times. Auburn had FIVE players (Stephen Davis, James Brooks, William Andrews, Joe Cribbs, and Tony Richardson) play in at least three Pro-Bowls. The other five SEC power programs in this comparison only had SIX players COMBINED that accomplished that feat.

    With Ben Tate just completing his first full season in the NFL with nearly 1,000 yards in a back-up roll, and other talented backs on the current roster at Auburn, there is no reason to think that the Tigers won't continue the tradition of proudly being one of the few schools worthy of carrying the moniker "running back U".

    Only seven players have rushed for over 8,000 yards:
    Emmitt, F. Taylor (UF), J. Lewis (UT), S. Alexander (UA), J. Taylor (LS), Herschel, and S. Davis (AU). (G. Hearst from UGA and J. Brooks from AU both had 7,900+).
    Emmitt Smith, Fred Taylor, and Jamal Lewis are the only ones to rush for 10,000+ yards.
    Auburn had the most players with 4,000+ rushing yards (7)
    Georgia had the most players with 6,000+ rushing yards (4). Auburn missed tying that mark by only 35total yards, as Rudi Johnson and William Andrews each had over 5,975 yards.
    Alabama had the fewest players with 1,000+ yards (9), and fewest with 2,000 yards (5).
    Georgia had the most players with 1,000+ yards (15), but second fewest with 2,000+ (8).

    15-Player rushing total for each program:
    1. 65,310 - Florida
    2. 55,449 - Auburn
    3. 52,465 - Georgia
    4. 50,348 - Tennessee
    5. 48,136 - LSU
    6. 30,017 - Alabama

    Only seven players have scored 60+ touchdowns:
    Emmitt, S. Alexander, J. Taylor, S. Van Buren (LS), F. Taylor, S. Davis, Herschel.
    Emmitt Smith and Shaun Alexander are the only two to score 100+ touchdowns.
    LSU had the most players with 10+ touchdowns (14), and the most with 20+ (8).
    Alabama had the fewest players with 10+ touchdowns (7) and fewest with 20+ (1).
    Florida had the most players with 45+ touchdowns (4). AU and UGA each had three.
    Georgia, Florida, and LSU all had two players with 60+ touchdowns.

    15-Player touchtown total for each program:
    1. 477 - Florida
    2. 408 - LSU
    3. 355 - Auburn
    4. 340 - Georgia
    5. 322 - Tennessee
    6. 223 - Alabama

    This post was edited by jadennis 15 months ago

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  • Nice stats man! Appreciate it.

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  • Jadennis should post that in the thread linked in the OP.

    "Get in where you fit in." Life is, Too Short TL;DR

  • Yes and no ...

    Other than Fanin, I think Tate was our last senior:

    '09 Tate (Sr.), Fanin (Jr), Omac (Fr)
    '10 Dyer (Fr), Omac (So), Fanin (Sr) ... can we count Newton (Jr) with 1400+ rushing yards?
    '11 Dyer (So), Omac (Jr), Mason (Fr)
    '12 Mason (So), Omac (Sr.), Blakely / Grant (RFr)

    Omac is still unknown, NFL draft is next week.

    '13 Prosch will be drafted, Mason, depends on his season ... others are still pretty young.
    '14 Mason probable. Grant? CAP?

    I'm comfortable that our tradition continues, and really looking foward to Aug 31.


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