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The top 2016 Pac-12 running backs: Christian McCaffrey and Royce Freeman conference's best

Ranking the top 12 Pac-12 running backs going into the 2016 season.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Christian McCaffrey Jr. Stanford - No explanation needed here. This guy should have won the Heisman last year.

2. Royce Freeman Jr. Oregon - It's too bad Freeman gets overshadowed by McCaffrey because he is a legit Heisman candidate and could get up there with LaMichael James as the best Duck running back off all-time with a good enough junior campaign.

3. Myles Gaskin So. Washington - Gaskin exploded with a huge freshman season and is clearly going to be the next great Husky running back after Chris Polk and Bishop Sankey. He ran for more than 1,300 yards and scored 14 touchdowns in 2015.

4. Ronald Jones So. USC - Like Juju Smith-Schuster as a freshman, Jones looked like a player ready to explode. He ran for nearly 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns at 6.5 yards a crack in 2015 and I think he will do a lot more in 2016.

5. Demario Richard Jr. Arizona State - Richard quietly broke the 1,000-yard mark and scored seven touchdowns in 2015. He is also a great receiver who had 300 plus receiving yards and three TDs as a major load of a back.

6. Nick Wilson Jr. Arizona - Wilson has had simple career where he racks up yardage and touchdowns when healthy, but he also misses a lot of time. He could put up 1,500 plus and 20 touchdowns if he can stay health for a full season.

7. Justin Davis Sr. USC - Davis had his thunder stolen by Jones and that's probably only going to happen more in 2016, but he is a hell of a second option and should still get plenty of carries this year. He ran for nearly 1,000 yards and scored seven touchdowns while splitting carries last year.

8. Phillip Lindsay So. Colorado - Lindsay exploded as a freshman with his elite speed and beat out Christian Powell and Michael Adkins II for the starting job at Colorado. He ran for 650 plus with six touchdowns and added a lot of numbers receiving as well.

9. Kalen Ballage Jr. Arizona State - The other dynamic load in Arizona State's backfield, Ballage forms a deadly duo with Richard as a 6'3 230 playmaker. He had 600 plus rushing and four touchdowns in 2015 while missing a lot of time.

10. Vic Enwere Jr. Cal - Enwere stepped in for Daniel Lasco as Cal's big back and did a great job of it in 2015 as he ran for 500 plus and eight touchdowns. He is going to have another fun year as the thunder to Khalfani Muhammad's lightning.

11. Khalfani Muhammad Sr. Cal - The lightning, Muhammad is one of the fastest backs in the country and it shows in he averaged 6.7 yards per-carry in 2015. He needs to break big ones more often, but even just the threat of his speed tests defenses.

12. Taj Griffin So. Oregon - Griffin flashed  De'Anthony Thomas abilities as Oregon's big play back in 2015 with 500 plus with a 7.4 yards per-carry average. Freeman will handle the majority of the carries, but expect Griffin to evolve further into his speed/big play role in the backfield in Oregon's offense.