Surveying the field: Who is the Big Ten's best RB right now?

Surveying the field: Who is the Big Ten's best RB right now?

There are many good running backs in the Big Ten in 2016: Northwestern’s Justin Jackson, Ohio State’s Mike Weber, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Rutgers’ Robert Martin, Purdue’s Markell Jones, Minnesota’s Rodney Smith and Indiana’s Devine Redding, among others, are the elite.

But who is the best RB in the Big Ten? I asked some media members who cover the league.

Scott Dochterman, LandOf10.comPenn State’s Saquon Barkley. In baseball terms, Barkley would be considered a five-tool player. He’s got the perfect blend of size, speed, quickness, power, toughness and acceleration.

Steve Greenberg, Chicago Sun-Times and Bleacherreport.comSaquon Barkley is the guy I’d pay to watch play. Big-time talent and clearly the bright spot for Penn State. I didn’t just commit myself to pay to watch that team play, did I?

Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: Wow. It kind of says it all that I can’t pick one. Where have all the Big Ten running backs gone? I guess the easy answer is Mike Weber, who leads the league. But how about if I go outside the box and say Tommy Armstrong is the most important runner in the league? His QB run game dimension has given NU a dynamic it lacked last year and has made him a better passer. He has 293 yards, so he’s not in the top 10. But he’s been impressive.

Louie Vaccher, WildcatReport.comSaquon Barkley. He’s the complete package. He’s big, he has elite speed, he can run over you and he can make you miss. I shudder to think what Penn State’s offense would look like without No. 26 in the backfield.

Nick Baumgardner, Mlive.comSaquon Barkley. He leads the league in rushing (yards) despite running behind an up-and-down offensive line.


Rank Player Team G Rushes Yds Yds/G Avg TD Long
1 S. Barkley PSU 6 117 582 97.0 5.0 8 55
2 M. Weber OhioSt 5 83 566 113.2 6.8 4 49
3 J. Jackson NW 5 109 510 102.0 4.7 4 58
4 D. Redding Ind 5 105 491 98.2 4.7 0 36
5 R. Smith Minn 5 93 446 89.2 4.8 5 31
6 L. Daniels, Jr. Iowa 6 86 439 73.2 5.1 4 43
7 R. Martin Rut 5 81 420 84.0 5.2 1 80
8 A. Wadley Iowa 6 65 416 69.3 6.4 7 54
9 C. Samuel OhioSt 5 50 410 82.0 8.2 3 36
10 C. Evans Mich 6 48 400 66.7 8.3 3 57
Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.


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