Each conference around the FCS has its fair share of impact running backs who can change a game's momentum with a few successful read-and-recognition runs. However, there's only a select handful who we think can realistically challenge for the 2016 Heisman Trophy thanks to a combination of athleticism, explosiveness and past impact.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the eight running backs who've got a shot to bring home the hardware next season.
8. Jalen Hurd -- Tennessee Vols
Hurd is the only Vol to rush for 100 yards in two games. While his Heisman candidacy will be hampered by sharing a backfield with the explosive Alvin Kamera, Hurd is multi-faceted enough to shine bright in the national spotlight.
7. Nick Chubb -- Georgia Bulldogs
If Chubb is close to 100% from a significant knee injury suffered back in early October, he's a top-three entry. Before the injury, Chubb rushed for 120 yards or more in five straight games and averaged a mind-blowing 8.1 yards per carry.
6. Wayne Gallman -- Clemson Tigers
Deshaun Watson will get the bulk of the Heisman hype at Clemson, but don't forget about Gallman. He was a bedrock in the team's run to the 2016 College Football Playoff title game, doing equal damage both on the edge and between the tackles en route to 1,537 yards and 13 touchdowns.
5. Samaje Perine -- Oklahoma Sooners
Perine didn't produce at his 2014 level this past season (1,713 to 1,349 yards), but there were several factors outside of his control -- including a new offensive coordinator, Joe Mixon and spotty offensive line play -- which stunted his production. Regardless of that, Perine is the premier back in the Big 12.
4. Royce Freeman -- Oregon Ducks
Freeman will be toiling in relative obscurity no more. Never have we seen a better rusher (4th in the nation in rush yards per game [141.2], #1 in the Pac-12 in rushing touchdown ) get so slighted from a national attention standpoint. However, if Oregon returned to CFP contender status, he'll skyrocket into the Heisman conversation.
3. Dalvin Cook -- Florida State Seminoles
Cook amassed 1,691 yards, 19 touchdowns and 7.4 yards per carry while hampered by a hamstring injury in 2015. 2,000 yards is not out of the question if his hamstring doesn't give him repeat trouble.
2. Christian McCaffrey -- Stanford Cardinal
McCaffrey isn't a prototypical running back, but that's no matter. He's the best all-around offensive threat in the nation heading into next season after setting an FCS record with 3,864 all-purpose yards last season. Things will be tougher with Kevin Hogan gone and trusted offensive line starters headed out of town, but he's should still be at or near the top of the Heisman voting heap.
1. Leonard Fournette -- LSU Tigers
1,953 yards and 22 scores in 2015 buys Fournette a spot at the top of our list. A highlight reel full of trucked run defenders may keep him there from a marketing standpoint. If LSU can avoid a swoon similar to their mid-season losing streak in 2015, Fournette's got a chance to make it back-to-back RBs winning the Heisman hardware.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed