If you haven’t seen it yet, Athlon Sports decided to publish their rankings of the Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era.
Unsurprisingly, the West Virginia Mountaineers placed two running backs on the list. What is surprising is that there were not three running backs for the WVU.
The two Mountaineers players who did make the cut were Avon Cobourne and Steve Slaton. Cobourne landed at #23 while Steve Slaton bested him by two spots at #21.
Cobourne earned the #23 spot thanks to a school best 5,039 career rushing yards and 42 touchdowns. He probably would have been much higher on the list had the Mountaineers realized more success during his time in Morgantown.
Slaton ended up two spots higher fueled by a couple of dark-horse Heisman campaign and a pair of BCS bowl rigns. In Slaton’s three seasons on campus, he amassed 3,923 rushing yards, 805 receiving yards, and 55 total touchdowns.
The surprising omission on the list for the Mountaineers is the lightning bug Noel Devine. The rise of Devine led (partially) to Slaton’s decision to opt out early of college and head to the NFL draft. Noel was the featured back in Morgantown for three seasons. He racked up 4,317 rushing yards, 710 receiving yards, 736 return yards, and 31 total touchdowns.
Devine checked in on Athlon’s supplemental 50 list at #93 overall.
Still, even with the oversight, the Mountaineers landed three players out of a list of 100 running backs from more than 120 FBS schools over a 12-year period. That is impressive to say the least.
When Athlon publishes a list of the top 50 running backs of the College Football Playoff Era, don’t expect to see a single Mountaineer on the list. Coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense is far to pass heavy for any WVU running back to amass any kind of significant stats.