Yesterday we examined the unheralded quarterbacks who play Division IA football. Today we'll take a look at a few running backs you may not have heard of, but who are quite talented nonetheless. Here's last season's article in case you were wondering who I spotlighted then.
If you looked at Deonte's surname, noticed he played out west and thought, 'Hmmm. I wonder if he's related to Steven Jackson?' Well, you, my friend, are a genius. He is in fact related to the running back for the St. Louis Rams. He's his nephew. And he's got game. Despite playing for a team that won only a single game a season ago, Jackson was able to shine in his freshman season. He rushed for 1175 yards and 7 touchdowns while averaging 4.90 yards per carry. Jackson topped 100 yards on the ground 5 times, setting a season high with 214 yards against Cal Poly. However, Jackson clearly slowed down over the season's final trimester. In the first 8 games, Jackson averaged 5.60 yards per carry. Over the final 4, his average slipped to 3.32. If Jackson can regain his early season form, the Vandals could triple or even quadrupled their win total.
Luke Lippincott is the rarest of all breeds--a white feature back. Lippincott led the Wolfpack in rushing last season with 1420 yards and 15 touchdowns. He averaged 5.32 yards per rush and also hauled in 26 passes for 295 yards and an additional 3 touchdowns. Lippincott opened the 2007 season rather inauspiciously, rushing 4 times for (-)5 yards against Nebraska. From then on out, he never averaged under 4 yards per carry in any game and topped the century mark 8 times, including a run of 5 in a row and 6 out of 7 beginning against Boise State on October 14th. Barring injury, Lippincott should once again be the featured runner, and with super soph quarterback Colin Kaepernick under center (or a few yards behind center in the 'Pistol'), the Wolfpack have a realistic chance at a WAC title.
Following in the footsteps of Garrett Wolfe and Michael Turner before him, Justin Anderson exploded onto the scene in his first season as a starter. Anderson rushed for 1245 yards and 8 touchdowns while averaging 4.54 yards per carry for a team with no other offensive threats. Anderson topped 100 yards in 8 games and eclipsed 150 yards 4 times. Anderson was also the 'King of the Dumpoff' coming out of the backfield, catching 45 passes for 263 yards (paltry 5.84 yards per catch). With a new coach and 21 of 22 starters back in 2008, Anderson could become a little more well known if the Huskies can land a bowl bid.