The CFFinsider blog staff recently took a look at the new running back starters from each of the BCS conferences. Here are a few highlights:
From the ACC Atlantic: Most of the offseason hype surrounds Andre Ellington, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound burner who averaged an impressive 7.2 yards on his 68 carries last season. However, it is Jamie Harper who possesses more of the frame you want in an every-down back (6-foot, 230 pounds) and is more than just a bowling ball running between the tackles.
From the ACC Coastal: Simply put, Anthony Allen is the best "new" running back in the ACC. He ran for 626 yards and six scores as the A, B, C, or D back in the option offense last season, and alphabet be damned, he's moving into Dwyer's featured role.
From the Big Ten: If we learned anything by underestimating Ralph Bolden on draft day last year, you may not want to do the same with Al-Terek McBurse in 2010.
From the Big 12: Assuming Toben Opurum can get healthy, he's the best option at the position for a team expected to focus more on the run than in years past. Still, first year coach Turner Gill is determined to have everyone earn playing time, so Opurum will need to shake off his ailments when practice resumes.
From the Big East: Moise Plancher has been handed the starter’s job by default, but you can bet he’ll be on a short leash if he should struggle early. Demetris Murray will get his opportunities to shine and could very well supplant Plancher on the depth chart by mid-season.
From the Pac-10: While Shane Vereen doesn’t project to be a 25-carry per game back, he could flirt with 1,500 yards and double-digit scores.
From the SEC East: Marcus Lattimore is from the state and is an SEC-ready back in talent. He has the size, measuring in at six feet and around 210 pounds, the speed, and the cutback ability. If he can learn to pass block (which is what every high school back needs to learn when arriving at the collegiate level) he could steal some carries away from the pack.
From the SEC West: Stevan Ridley proved this offseason to be the grinder and workhorse of the bunch as he pounded out 104 yards on just 13 carries in the LSU spring game. The most complete back of the bunch is Michael Ford, who is fast but also has some good size to him. He also had a productive spring game with 139 yards rushing on 19 carries.