The 5 Best Running Backs In The Big Ten In 2016

The running back position as been largely devalued in football over the past few years as the "running back by committee" approach has become more and more popular, but there are several backs in the Big Ten capable of carrying a team by themselves. Here are the top five running backs in the conference for the 2016 season:

5) De'Veon Smith, Michigan Wolverines

Smith saw a lot of success as Michigan's lead back last year, rushing for 753 yards and six touchdowns, but he saw his touches diminish as the season wore on. Look for him to receiver a heavier load in his second year in Jim Harbaugh's system, which will full take advantage of his power running skills.

4) Corey Clement, Wisconsin Badgers

Clement flashed an immense amount of potential in his sophomore season, racking up 949 yards and nine touchdowns as Melvin Gordon's backup. He starting role was his last year, but injuries limited him to just four games. Expect for him to return to form now that he's fully healthy - and he could make Wisconsin a threat in the Big Ten West.

3) L.J. Scott, Michigan State Spartans

Scott had a very good freshman season for Sparty, rushing for 699 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was mostly used as a short-yardage back due to his massive 6'0", 235-pound frame, but took over as the starter and lead back late in the season. Now with a full offseason under his belt and another year in Michigan State's system as the undisputed starter, Scott will use that power running to become one of the best backs in the country.

2) Saquon Barkley, Penn State Nittany Lions

Barkley had an incredible freshman year for the Nittany Lions, racking up 1,076 yards and seven scores on the ground. A Second-Team All-Big Ten member, Barkley should eclipse those numbers this year - especially since he's now the focal point of the offense with Christian Hackenberg's departure for the NFL.

1) Justin Jackson, Northwestern Wildcats

Jackson scored only five times last season on the ground, but was still a Second-Team All-Big Ten selection. That's because he racked up 1,418 yards on an offense that had a terrible passing attack. Jackson carried the Wildcats' offense last year and could do so again this season. 

Back to the Big Ten Newsfeed

Related Topics: Michigan Wolverines Football, De'Veon Smith, Penn State Nittany Lions Football, NCAA Football, Big Ten Football, Corey Clement, Wisconsin Badgers football, Michigan State Spartans Football, Northwestern Wildcats Football, Saquon Barkley, L.J. Scott, Justin Jackson