Ranking the running backs

With football season less than four months away, CUTigers.com takes a look at the top running backs Clemson will see in the fall.

1. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
2010: Lattimore rushed for 1,197 yards on 249 carries and scored 17 of the Gamecocks 26 rushing touchdowns. He finished third on the team with 26 receptions for 412 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lattimore was a unanimously selected SEC Freshman of the Year and to the All-SEC first-team, according to the coaches and the Associated Press. He was held to 48 yards and 23 carries in the season finale against Clemson.

What he's doing here: Much to the chagrin of the state's orange clad faithful, Lattimore is among the preseason favorites for the Heisman Trophy. His value to South Carolina was evident in the second half of the Kentucky game and throughout most of the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Florida State. The former Scout.com five-star was knocked out of each game with an injury. Not only a talented rusher, Lattimore is a very good pass catcher out of the backfield.

2. Michael Dyer, Auburn
2010: As a freshman, Dyer was the second-most productive rusher on Auburn's national title winning squad. He racked up 1,093 yards, which surpassed Bo Jackson's school record by a freshman. Dyer rushed 16 times for 69 yards in the match-up of Tigers on The Plains. He was named Offensive MVP of BCS National Championship after rushing for 143 yards.

What he's doing here: Overshadowed by Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, Dyer's record setting first season certainly was impressive. Surely he'll be leaned upon in the short-yardage and goal line situations that Newton was responsible for in 2010. Look for Dyer to match his 1,000-yard season increase his touchdown total of five. In terms of talent, he's closer to Lattimore than many pundits give him credit.

3. Montel Harris, Boston College
2010: Harris was the only unanimous first-team selection to last year's All-ACC team. He rushed 269 times for 1,243 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. Against Clemson last season, Harris carried 36 times for 142 yards.

What he's doing here: Harris has enjoyed more individual success on the collegiate level than high school teammate and former Clemson running back Jamie Harper. Harris is Boston College's all-time leader in carries (756) and 100-yard games (21). He's second in rushing yards (3,600) and third in touchdowns (27). Harris is the conference's active leader in rushing yards and is 15th on the all-time rushing list.

Honorable mention: David Wilson, Virginia Tech
2010: Wilson enjoyed a productive sophomore season, during which he rushed 113 times 619 yards and five touchdowns. He also reeled in 15 receptions for 234 yards and four scores.

What he's doing here: Wilson could be one of the fastest players in the ACC this year, if not the fastest. He peeled off a 4.29 40-yard dash during the Hokies' winter testing. The track-star will get his crack as the feature back this fall now that Ryan Williams and Darren Evans have moved on.

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