Having one stud RB is good, having two or more is better. Several SEC teams found that out the hard way in 2011. Arkansas, South Carolina and Texas A&M all lost their lead back for a significant amount of time last season.
This is the definition of a stable of RBs. The cold reality for some SEC opponents is that LSU's fourth or fifth-string RB is better than their starter. There are better individual rushers in the league than these five, but no group is as complete. Hilliard, Blue and Hill are all bruising runners who can get tough yardage. Ford is a speedster, and Ware is the most complete back. Despite a brief suspension, Ware led the way statistically in 2011 with 177 carries for 707 yards and eight touchdowns.
This group has been hit hard with injuries, but its still one of the elite units in the conference. Lattimore, the consensus top RB in the conference, is back after having his 2011 season cut short with a knee injury. Miles is currently the top reserve with Wilds (ankle) and Carson (wrist) nursing injuries. This group proved its depth in 2011 when Lattimore went down. Wilds had three 100-yard games filling in for the injured Heisman candidate.
3. Arkansas -- Knile Davis, Dennis Johnson, Ronnie Wingo Jr.
Davis was plowing through the SEC at the end of 2010, averaging close to 150 yards rushing per game in the second half of the season. He missed 2011 with a broken ankle, but that allowed the Razorbacks to build some depth. Johnson emerged as an all-around talent who can take a handoff, catch a pass or return a kick. Wingo is a big back (6-2, 230) who had 458 yards rushing and 187 yards receiving in 2011.
4. Alabama -- Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon, Dee Hart, Jalston Fowler
There might not be a Mark Ingram or Trent Richardson in this group, but there's no shortage of talent here. Lacy will be the top guy after rushing for 674 yards on just 95 carries in 2011 as Richardson's backup. Yeldon made a statement in the spring. He collected 179 all-purpose yards in the spring game on his way to being named the MVP. Hart, a redshirt freshman, brings great speed after sitting out 2011 with a knee injury. Falston (6-1, 250) is a load who can be a power runner or play Alabama's H-back position -- a hybrid TE/FB.
5. Vanderbilt -- Zac Stacy, Warren Norman, Jerron Seymour, Brian Kimbrow
Stacy burst on to the SEC scene in 2011 with a school-record 1,193 rushing yards. He is on top of the depth chart, but he's got plenty of help in 2012. Norman was scheduled to be the starting RB before missing 2011 with a knee injury. He also missed half of 2010 with a wrist injury. If he can get back to his 2009 form (145 carries, 783 yards), the Commodores could have quite a duo. Seymour, a sophomore, and Kimbrow, a freshman, both come in at 5-foot-7 and under 190 pounds, but both are home-run threats if they get in the open field.
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