A Scouts Rose Ceremony: The Running Backs

Andrew Harbaugh | June 11th, 2019

The Bachelorette is already heavy into its current season and while Hannah Brown searches for love I have found love in the form of running backs this week.

Each Monday, except this week due to technical issues with my computer, leading up to the new college football season I will be giving out roses to one player from each conference based on position. If a player receives a rose that means he is getting all the love and is a much watch for this upcoming season.

My goal is that I hope this also serves as a reminder of certain players, some prominent some not, that we may have forgotten about over the summer.

We will be highlighting some more of the bigger names at running back this week mainly because this upcoming running back class is elite. Yes, I threw out the E-word, why you ask? Because we have about five to seven runners this year who can be a bell cow back in the NFL.

Rose Recipient from the ACC: Travis Etienne, Clemson

Travis Etienne deserves every rose I’m about to give in this article, Etienne has so many elite traits across the board its rather insane.

He has grown up in front of us all though as a runner, as a freshman he was featured as a pass blocker at times for a Kelly Bryant led Clemson Tiger team that was turned upside down by Alabama. He followed that up with a sophomore year that had a stat line of 216 touches, 1736 total yards, and 26 touchdowns and helped Clemson return the favor to Alabama in the National Title Game this past year.

He makes this Clemson team better on a level that isn’t quite talked about enough. Without his elusiveness, strength and breakaway speed all wrapped into his 5’10” 200-pound frame we may not be talking about Clemson as National Champions.

So because he made such a difference on his team and, at this point, is my top running back heading into the 2020 NFL Draft Travis Etienne gets a rose.

Rose Recipient from the Big 12: Trey Sermon, Oklahoma

Trey Sermon saw his teammate Rodney Anderson take another injury hit last year which meant that he and teammate Kennedy Brooks had to split the time as the bell cow for a playoff-bound Oklahoma.

This year however Sermon steps out from behind the curtain, similar to the character C.D Bales in the movie Roxanne. He has been doing all the dirty work for Lincoln Riley and Kyler Murray and they got the credit but without his threat in the backfield, things may have been different for this team as a whole.

Sermon last year didn’t have the flashiest of numbers but this year with having a receiver playing quarterback, as my fellow Coast to Coast writers refer to Jalen Hurts as Oklahoma and Riley should lean heavily on Sermon and his unique trait set. He shows tremendous promise as a pass-catching back on top of great vision leading him as a great running back prospect.

We must give the rose to Trey Sermon to make this C.D Bales comp complete.

Rose Recipient from the Big Ten: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Shocker right? Heisman Trophy favorite Jonathan Taylor is getting a rose? I’m sure you all don’t need to be reminded how insane his first two years in Madison have been.

That being said Taylor is one of the true college phenoms to come along at the running back position in some time. His dominance reminds me personally of Adrian Peterson the way he has been a force for his team in the Big Ten. Does he benefit from a monstrous offensive line that will all likely be drafted? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss his greatness.

Similar to Etienne getting a rose, you had of known Jonathan Taylor was going to get one as well.

Rose Recipient from the Pac-12: Zack Moss, Utah

Zack Moss is very well known to the Pac-12 fan bases however some of us on the east coast who do not get to see that many games due to the late starts may be missing out on Zack Moss. Consider this your formal introduction.

Moss has a great frame standing at just 5’10” he makes up for it with his wrecking ball type frame thanks to weighing in at 215 pounds. He is coming off back to back thousand yard rushing seasons and is looking to add a third as one of the few senior runners in the nation. With him being a senior he also should benefit from a Senior Bowl invite during the draft process come January.

Moss gets a rose because he needs to be on your mind more because we cannot afford to let him be the one that got away in Las Vegas during the 2020 NFL Draft.

Rose Recipient from the SEC: Lamical Perine, Florida

Dan Mullen is quickly turning Florida is an SEC offensive power, something that hasn’t been that way since a certain Heisman Trophy winner graduated. Lamical Perine has had to split the workload with runners like Jordan Scarlett and Malik Davis but the best prospect by far is Perine.

Perine has a special blend of vision and elusiveness that Florida hasn’t seen from a runner since arguably Fred Taylor graced Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Is he as good as Taylor? That remains to be seen but what I can tell you is that in order for Florida to be successful this year they need a heavy dosage of Perine carries.

You know the old saying happy wife, happy life. Well happy Perine, happy Florida fans and why not show some appreciation with our signature bud.

Rose Recipient from the Non-Power 5: Greg McCrae, UCF

One of my favorite runners in college this year and the unsung hero of UCF, especially after losing Milton, is Greg McCrae.

McCrae’s true talent puts the shine in the sunshine state and that is his pass catching ability and what he does after he catches the ball. He immediately turns upfield and you can tell he is reading and processing the defense. He does a phenomenal job of finding holes and then displaying a special type of burst that NFL teams will fall in love with based on the type of runner the NFL is looking for now.

He will be a bargain if he declares for the 2020 NFL Draft, he gets a rose because who doesn’t love a cheap date.

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