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Moreno tops list of talented SEC runners.


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Moreno tops list of talented SEC runners

October 22, 2008 5:07 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Two of the best running backs in the SEC will be on the same field Saturday night when Georgia and LSU square off at Tiger Stadium.

The Bulldogs' Knowshon Moreno is one of the best backs in the country and one of the best backs I've seen in this conference in a long time. There's nothing he can't do.

Starting with No. 24, here's the way I would rank the top 5 backs in the SEC right now:

1. Knowshon Moreno, Georgia: When he's not hurdling defenders, he's running by them or running over them. Not only is Moreno the complete package at running back, but he's a treat to watch play. After a bit of a lull earlier in the season, Moreno appears to be hitting his stride again. He's rushed for 273 yards in his last two games and has already scored 11 touchdowns this season. He's averaging 6 yards per carry and has rushed for 762 yards in seven games this season. The NFL can't wait to get its hands on him.

2. Michael Smith, Arkansas: His status this Saturday against Ole Miss is questionable after suffering a concussion last week, but Smith has been a warrior for the Razorbacks this season. He's carried the ball 70 times the last two weeks, which is a feat for any player in the SEC. But for a 5-7, 173-pound player? That's downright amazing. Smith is averaging 131.8 yards per game and ranks seventh nationally among rushing leaders. He's also caught 23 passes for 250 yards and pair of touchdowns.

3. Jeffrey Demps, Florida: He might not be the prototypical SEC tailback, but he's made a huge difference in the Florida offense the last two games. Watch the next few weeks, too, as Urban Meyer gets Demps even more involved. He has world-class speed and hasn't shied away from contact. A true freshman, Demps also has the luxury of not having to carry the ball 20-plus times a game. But there's not a player in the SEC who scares an opposing defensive coordinator any more than Demps when he breaks into the clear. The reason being: He's usually standing in your end zone a few seconds later.

4. Glen Coffee, Alabama: Coffee is probably the SEC's most underrated back. He has a good mix of size and speed and tops the SEC's rushing leaders with an average 7 yards per carry. If he weren't sharing the tailback duties with Mark Ingram, he'd probably be knocking on the door of 1,000 yards already. The 6-1, 198-pound Coffee rarely goes down on the initial hit and is an extremely effeective short-yardage runner. He also has breakaway speed as evidenced by his 87-yard touchdown run earlier this season against Kentucky.

5. Charles Scott, LSU: Scott has cooled off after a torrid start that saw him rush for 100 yards in each of his first four games. A 233-pound bruiser, Scott played some fullback in the Tigers' last game against South Carolina. It's a formation LSU will no doubt use some more with Keiland Williams as the deep back. Scott is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and has scored eight touchdowns. He and Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon are the SEC's top two power backs.

Just missed the cut: Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State; Ben Tate, Auburn; Mark Ingram, Alabama; Arian Foster, Tennessee; Brad Lester, Auburn.

by Chris Low.

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