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2017 Pac-12 preseason running back rankings: Phillip Lindsay edges out Myles Gaskin and Ronald Jones

Ranking the Pac-12’s top running backs.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Colorado vs Washington Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


  1. Phillip Lindsay Sr. Colorado

Lindsay might be the best pure offensive player in the Pac-12 coming back in 2017. He has speed, strength and is versatile to do just about anything as a running back. A serious candidate for Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.

2. Myles Gaskin Jr. Washington

Gaskin can run between the tackles and break long runs on the outside with 4.4 speed. He will be running behind a veteran offensive line full of All-Pac-12 talent and it should be a deadly combo in 2017.

3. Ronald Jones Jr. USC

Jones really turned it on at the end of the season. He has a scary combination of size and speed and could crack the 1,500-yard mark with the Trojans this year as they make a run back towards greatness and without Justin Davis taking carries.

4. Royce Freeman Sr. Oregon

2016 was a tough year for Freeman and the Ducks, but he shocked many and disappointed the rest of the Pac-12 by coming back for his senior season. He has the best physical tools and track record of any Pac-12 back and could get right back to being the conference’s best if he is healthy and Oregon’s offensive line gets better.

5. Ryan Nall Jr. Oregon State

Nall’s a gamer and the heart and soul of Gary Andersen’s offense. He can churn up yards and make plays as a big back and is one of the most underrated players in the conference.

6. Kalen Ballage Sr. Arizona State

Ballage is a touchdown machine who brings a very interesting package of tools to the table at six-foot-plus and 230 pounds with great speed and athleticism.

7. Bryce Love Jr. Stanford

Love has been stashed behind Christian McCaffrey for his career thus far, but the Sun Bowl showed he is ready for a breakout season. He could be the next star for the Cardinal in the backfield.

8. Lavon Coleman Sr. Washington

Coleman came out of nowhere last year to create a deadly one-two punch with Gaskin. Coleman was also clutch for the Huskies coming up huge in big games with long touchdown runs.

9. Tony Brooks-James Jr. Oregon

Quietly stepped up with Freeman hurt and ran for a lot of yards and touchdowns for the Ducks. Will be a great number two to Freeman in 2017.

10. Tre Watson Sr. Cal

A great rushing and receiving threat. Watson ran for more than 700 in 2016 and four touchdowns and also caught four touchdowns. Might see more action in 2017 with the Bear Raid gone.

11. Demario Richard Sr. Arizona State

He loses a lot of carries to Ballage, but Richard is an NFL-style back with outstanding size and speed. He could put up a lot of numbers in 2016 if Arizona State improves on the offensive line.

12. Gerard Wicks Sr. Washington State

Wicks ran for 475 in 2016, but his biggest strength is his nose for the end zone as he scored 12 touchdowns.