Top 7 RBs in the ACC

CUTigers.com takes a look at the top seven running backs in the ACC in 2008. Not surprisingly, Clemson's James Davis and C.J. Spiller aka "Thunder and Lightning" are among the top three.

#1. James Davis (5-11, 210) - CLEMSON
The "thunder" in Clemson's thunder and lightning backfield was set to leave Tigertown a year early and enter the NFL draft. However, after waking up in the middle of the night and changing his mind at the last possible, Davis returns for his senior year with the chance to leave Clemson as the school's all-time leading rusher if he can gain more than 837 yards. He should have no problem reaching that number and could claim ACC Player of the Year honors along the way. A big year could also cement his status as a first day pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

#2. Josh Adams (6-0, 180) - WAKE FOREST
Adams claimed rookie of the year honors in the ACC ast season after recording over 950 yards (third in the league) and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Adams has good size, is explosive and should put up huge numbers as the Deacs stay more on the ground with Kenneth Moore and Kevin Marion gone. Also, with junior QB Riley Skinner returning, the two should combine to give head coach Jim Grobe one of the more formidable backfields in the south this season.

#3. C.J. Spiller (5-11, 190) - CLEMSON
No one can question Spiller's explosiveness as he's a threat to score every time he touches the ball, but he must become more consistent in his approach to the game. That means attack the line of scrimmage and hit the hole as it opens up instead of always looking for the big play by changing directions or "dancing around" in the backfield. If he can do that for 12 games, he very well could move to the top of this list. Like Davis, he also has first-day potential in the 2009 draft, but needs to continue to improve in 2008 to get there.

#4. Antone Smith (5-9, 190) - FLORIDA STATE
Smith, now a senior, is a bruising runner who will be an integral part in year two of Jimbo Fisher's offense. Finished sixth in the league in rushing in 2007 with 817 yards, but only scored three touchdowns. Considered one of the top backs in the nation coming out of high school (Scout.com's No. 1 RB in the nation in 2004) may finally have the ability to live up to that ranking with an offense that A) makes sense and B) has a year of experience under its belt.

#5. Jamelle Eugene (5-10, 195) - N.C. STATE
Jamelle Eugene, nicknamed the "energizer bunny" by head coach Tom O'Brien, is one of three players in the Wolfpack backfield who can inflict damage on the opposition this season. He started the last six games in Raleigh last year and managed to lead the team in rushing with 667 yards. Also is a good receiver- finishing second on the team in receptions with 42 last season. He'll have to hold off Andre Brown for snaps if his production is going to increase.

#6. Graig Cooper (6-0, 202) - MIAMI
Cooper led the league in yards per carry (5.5) in 2007 but only had 125 carries. If he gets over 200 touches in 2008, he should easily go over 1,000 yards and be one of the top offensive weapons in the conference.

#7. Jonathan Dwyer (6-0, 228) - GEORGIA TECH
Dwyer waited behind the ACC's leading rusher, Tashard Choice, last year for his time to shine and now it's finally here. Considering new Yellow Jackets' head coach Paul Johnson led the nation's top rushing attack at Navy in each of the last three seasons, Dwyer could be one of the most productive backs in the country at some point in his career. Keep in mind he still managed almost 500 yards rushing and eight scores a year ago backing up the fourth-round pick Choice.

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