#1 Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
2017 Statistics: 1,977 yards rushing, 6.6 Yards Per Carry, 13 Touchdowns
Taylor was a beast as a freshman last season, setting the NCAA record for rushing yards from a freshman and finishing sixth overall in Heisman voting. He did it without good quarterback play last season. He rushed for over 200 yards three times and over 100 yards 10 times. He looks to be a Heisman early season favorite.
#2 J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
2017 Statistics: 1,403 yards rushing, 7.2 Yards Per Carry, 7 Touchdowns
Had six games last season of rushing over 100 yards. He played well on the road at the end of the season against Michigan and Wisconsin. He will be a sophomore this year and expect him to play well and possibly rush for nearly 2,000 yards. Mike Weber may take some touches away from him but with Ohio State’s relatively easy schedule, expect Dobbins to have a great season.
#3 L.J. Scott, Michigan State
2017 Statistics: 898 yards rushing, 4.5 Yards Per Carry, 8 Touchdowns
After not playing on the road at Michigan, L.J. Scott rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns in a rainstorm at Minnesota. He also played very well against Maryland and in the Holiday Bowl versus Washington State. The problem is that he has been inconsistent and has fumbled the ball at critical times. However, L.J. Scott figures to be Michigan States’ first option this season, maybe to the same extent as Spartan legend Le’Veon Bell was back in 2012. Look for Scott to rush for over 1,500 yards this season.
#4 Karan Higdon, Michigan
2017 Statistics: 994 yards rushing, 6.1 Yards Per Carry, 11 Touchdowns
Like Dobbins, he will split time with another solid running back. Chris Evans will still get his fair share of carries, but Higdon is the number one option in Ann Arbor. He is similar to L.J. Scott in which he has been inconsistent. He had two monster game rushing for 200 yards both times versus Minnesota and Indiana. He also played well in a home game versus Rutgers. He struggled the last four games but expect him to easily rush for over 1,000 yards this season.
#5 Miles Sanders, Penn State
2017 Statistics: 191 yards rushing, 6.2 Yards Per Carry, 2 Touchdowns
Not too much production these two past seasons. Sanders averaged over six yards per carry and scored three touchdowns which is not too bad at all. Playing behind Saquon Barkley, he had to have been very patient. Fans in Happy Valley are excited and believe Sanders can be a very productive back.
#6 Morgan Ellison, Indiana
2017 Statistics: 704 yards rushing, 4.9 Yards Per Carry, 6 Touchdowns
Even though his two huge breakout games were at home versus Rutgers and Georgia Southern, he was only a freshman last season. Expect him to help carry Indiana to a bowl game this season.
#7 Markell Jones, Purdue
2017 Statistics: 566 yards rushing, 5.0 Yards Per Carry, 1 Touchdown
He splits time with D.J. Knox, but he is expected to help take Purdue to that next tier level this season. His season didn’t start until October 7th last season. The last game of the regular season he had a monster game against in-state rival Indiana carrying the ball 31 times for 217 yards to make them bowl eligible. He also helped the Boilermakers beat Arizona in their bowl game. Ironically, his best statistical season was his freshmen year, and when fully healthy he can be productive.
#8 Jeremy Larkin, Northwestern
2017 Statistics: 503 yards rushing, 6.0 Yards Per Carry, 5 Touchdowns
Taking over the starting position from Justin Jackson who is now with the Chargers, expect the sophomore to surprise many in the Big Ten. As the second back last season, he didn’t get a ton of carries, but when he got them, he made them count. Ironically, his only 100-yard rushing game was in the bowl game victory over Kentucky where he had 112 yards rushing on only nine carries. He can help make the Wildcats the surprise team in the Big Ten West.
#9 Rodney Smith, Minnesota
2017 Statistics: 977 yards rushing, 4.3 Yards Per Carry, 3 Touchdowns
He took a step back from his very productive sophomore year, but he will indeed be the featured back in the Gophers offense. He rushed for over 100 yards three times last season with his best game being against Nebraska leading Minnesota to the victory. He is a wild card and his season can be very productive, or it could be disappointing.
#10 Toren Young, Iowa
2017 Statistics: 193 yards rushing, 4.3 Yards Per Carry, 2 Touchdowns
He takes over for Akrum Wadley and James Butler who received the clear majority of carries last season. He did not play in seven games last season, so he has a lot to prove. As a Sophomore, the Hawkeyes will be counting on him to help lead them to a possible Big Ten West title.