By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer
The kickoff to the 2018 College Football Season is only three months away. As usual, in the very early preseason, media outlets are already publishing list of their picks for potential best quarterbacks, running backs and other groupings like best offensive and defensive lines for the 2018 College Football season.
One list that seemed intriguing was the Sporting News list of their picks for the Top 25 Running Backs in the country. Before opening the article I had a perception of Benny Snell, Jr., UK running back extraordinaire, being in the top five or maybe number seven or eight at the worst.
When I read the article Sporting News had him listed at number 13. They had selected running backs from Iowa State, Memphis, Boston College and Florida Atlantic all ahead of Snell.
Keep in mind that Snell is only the third running back in SEC history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Who are the other two you might ask? None other than Herschel Walker and Knowshon Moreno. Pretty good company for only the 13th best running back in the country.
To Sporting News’ credit they did only pick Damien Harris of Alabama as the one running back in the SEC ahead of Snell at No. 8. In fact, they only picked two other SEC running backs in their Top 25 — Najee Harris from Alabama at No. 24 and D’Andre Swift from Georgia at No. 15. Wonder what that says about the SEC, which is traditionally known as a conference for strong running backs?
One other interesting note from this Top 25 list. The player at No. 21 is none other than Johnathon Ward, running back for Central Michigan. You know, the Central Michigan that UK opens the season against on September 1st. Last year Ward was only one of two running backs on the Sporting News list to rush for over 1,000 yards and have 45 or more pass receptions for the season.
This will be the second year in a row that UK will face a high powered multi-talented running back in the season opener. Last year they opened the season against Southern Miss and their do-it-all running back Ito Smith who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft.
The bottom line is that generally preseason lists, if anything, are meaningless except for creating good conversation about college football during the long, hot months of summer. Oh, they are also good for one other thing. To motivate a guy like Benny Snell, Jr. to show one more time why he is the best running back in the country. And for that they are invaluable.