- Eno Benjamin Jr. Arizona State - Benjamin is the class of a very talented and proven group of great running backs. He had more than 1,600 yards rushing with 16 touchdowns, plus two receiving in 2018. He’s outstanding in Herm Edwards’ NFL-like scheme and runs like a Pro Bowl NFL back.
- Joshua Kelley Sr. UCLA - The former walk on came on strong as 2018 went on and was one of the hottest running backs in the nation at the end of the season. He ended up with more than 1,200 yards and scored 12 touchdowns and I’m surprised he’s back for another season.
- Zack Moss Sr. Utah - Another back I thought was headed to the NFL, though I think Moss might have declared if he hadn’t gotten hurt at the end of 2018. He’s the scariest of any of these top Pac-12 backs because of his combination of size (5’10 215) and legit speed. He still topped 1,000 yards and scored 12 TDs in 2018 despite missing a chunk of games.
- JJ Taylor Jr. Arizona - The 5’6 back blew up in 2018, rushing for more than 1,400 yards and scoring six touchdowns. He’s powerful for his size and elusive at the same time, making him one of the hardest players in the Pac-12 to defense.
- Jermar Jefferson So. Oregon State - He quickly became Oregon State’s next star running back, carving up defenses for more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman. Expect him to build on that next season and to push Oregon State to some more wins as a big back (5’10 210) with power and speed.
- CJ Verdell So. Oregon - Emerged as Oregon’s next great running back as a freshman as a powerful and quick runner who put up more than 1,000 yards and scored 12 touchdowns while also being a great receiving threat. He fits in the mold of Oregon great Kenjon Barner and should push that rushing number even higher as a sophomore.
- Cameron Scarlett Sr. Stanford - Recent Stanford history suggests that Scarlett should turn into an All-American this year following the breathtaking Gerhart-Taylor-Gaffney-McCaffrey-Love lineage. He reminds me of Taylor and Gaffney at 6’1 215 and has been great in the red zone the past two seasons, running for eight TDs in each. He should produce more as Stanford’s top back in 2019.
- Salvon Ahmed Jr. Washington - He’s one of the fastest players in college football with a near 4.2 40 time and should come out from behind Myles Gaskin this year. He put up just under 1,000 combined in his first two seasons and 10 TDs and should continue to run at over six yards per-carry as Washington’s feature back in 2019.
- Max Borghi So. Washington State - The freshman’s instant impact was a huge boost to WSU’s offense in 2018. He nearly 400 yards rushing and nearly 400 receiving with 12 total touchdowns. One of the Pac-12’s most-dynamic playmakers already.
- Travis Dye So. Oregon - The other sub-5’10 freshman back who as great for the Ducks in 2018, Dye had more than 700 yards and scored five TDs in 2018. He’s a bit of the De’Anthony Thomas to Verdell’s Barner as a small, ultra quick back with top end speed.
- Stephen Carr Jr. USC - I thought Carr was going to turn into a star in 2018, he didn’t. He ran for less than 400 yards and just two touchdowns. He might be the most-talented of any of these backs though and could easily break out as a junior.
- Vavae Malepeai Jr. USC - The 6’0 215 Hawaii product stepped up when Carr faltered, running for 500 yards and eight scores in 2018. He’s a big back that has been more consistent than Carr in the past.
Top 2019 Pac-12 running backs: Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin the best of a deep and talented group
Ranking the Pac-12’s top running backs going into 2019.
By Jack Follman