Wisconsin Football: Top Five Big Ten Running Backs

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
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BLOOMINGTON, IN – AUGUST 31: J.K. Dobbins (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN – AUGUST 31: J.K. Dobbins (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Where does Wisconsin Football star running back Jonathan Taylor rank among the Big Ten’s best at the position?

The Big Ten has long had a reputation for fielding offenses that pound the rock and grind out yards on the ground. When cold weather becomes a factor towards the middle of the season, teams need workhorses in the backfield to take the load off the passing game. As a result, the Big Ten routinely cranks out excellent running backs who put up big numbers during their careers and earn prominent roles on NFL squads.

The list of elite backs the conference has produced recently is extensive. Melvin Gordon, James White, and Montee Ball of Wisconsin, Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde of Ohio State, Jordan Howard and Tevin Coleman of Indiana, Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska, and Le’Veon Bell of Michigan State are just some of the biggest names who enjoyed great success in the Big Ten.

Last season’s crop of running backs did not stray from that trend.

Penn State boasted a generational talent at the position in Saquon Barkley, who left State College early and became the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to the New York Giants.

A pair of true freshman superstars emerged as well in Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, who should both be in the Heisman Trophy conversation as the season moves along.

Justin Jackson of Northwestern and Akrum Wadley of Iowa may not have gotten as much national attention, but both had great careers and will now be playing on Sundays after exhausting their eligibility last season.

Despite the losses, the returning running back talent in the conference this year remains excellent, and you never know what new stars will suddenly emerge, as Taylor did last season.

Here are some backs you should make sure to keep an eye on in 2018.