Top 10 Running Backs in UT History

Discussion in 'On The Field' started by WorsterMan, Jul 11, 2018 at 10:33 AM.

  1. WorsterMan

    WorsterMan 10,000+ Posts

    It's the off season so we gotta chew on something.... Horns 247 had an article with this list, in this order, with narrative why. Fortunately I've lived long enough and been a fan long enough to see all of these RB's tote the rock.

    Solid list but on MY list, would move Leaks ahead of Metcalf & Worster.
    Also move Foreman & Charles ahead of Gilbert.

    10. Bertelsen
    9. Leaks
    8. Metcalf
    7. Worster
    6. Charles
    5. Foreman
    4. Gilbert
    3. Benson
    2. Ricky
    1. Earl
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018 at 12:25 PM
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  2. 22Horn

    22Horn 100+ Posts

    They all had the ability to be game changers either by speed, power, or a combo of each....

    Wishbone....Bertelson, Worster and Koy
  3. Austin_Bill

    Austin_Bill 25+ Posts

    Benson at #3 is too high, I’d say he gets more of a lifetime achievement award than as one of the all-time greats. He never changed the game with his presents. He was dependable but not great. I’d put several above him including Charles and Foreman. Both of which would have been much higher if they stayed for their senior year.
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  4. ProdigalHorn

    ProdigalHorn 10,000+ Posts

    I would probably drop Benson a little as well. He was a great back, but didn't have the explosion of either Foreman or Charles.

    It's actually a little sad that our top 10 list isn't deeper. Reminds me of all the blue chip running backs that have come through here and disappeared.

    Guys I remember coming in that had the potential to get on that list:
    - Edwin Simmons
    - Selvin Young
    - Malcom Brown
    - AJ Jones
    - Fozzie Whitaker
    - Terry Orr
  5. WorsterMan

    WorsterMan 10,000+ Posts


    All of those you mentioned had potential to be on that list coming in. Perhaps we can make a stab at a Top 10 runner-ups list.

    A few other RB's off the top of my head that had similar potential:

    Butch Hadnot
    Phil Brown
    Tommy Ford
    Ernie Koy

    With your 6 and my 4, that's 10 runner-ups - prolly forgetting a few....
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018 at 7:13 AM
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  6. LousianaHorn

    LousianaHorn 500+ Posts

    I'd leave Gilbert alone............maybe even move him to #3...........he accomplished something that no other NCAA RB had done before (3 1000 yd seasons) and played on less than stellar UT teams in 66 & 67 until his senior campaign in 68 and the advent of Street @ QB & the 'Bone.
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  7. Phil Elliott

    Phil Elliott 1,000+ Posts

    My only beef with the list was Roosevelt Leaks should have been Top 5. I saw him play and he was just about as punishing a runner as Earl was.

    I remember one game in particular against SMU. The student section had a big sheet they painted "SMU stops Leaks" with a pic of a horse putting it's hoof over the opening of a dripping faucet. Clever. He put up ~300 yards rushing on them that day.
  8. Sangre Naranjada

    Sangre Naranjada 5,000+ Posts

    Ricky, by all objective measures, was #1.
  9. ProdigalHorn

    ProdigalHorn 10,000+ Posts

    Didn't Phil Brown actually catch on in the NFL for a short stint? I know Hadnot worked out with the Packers but I don't think he ever made the final roster.
  10. ProdigalHorn

    ProdigalHorn 10,000+ Posts

    Maybe by objective measures, but by the eyeball test it has to be Earl. I get that we're talking college effectiveness here, but Earl stepped right onto an NFL roster and dominated. Ricky was a very good NFL running back, but he never did what Earl did at that level, and had Earl's punishing running style not cut his career short, he would have been considered a top 10 (or higher) all-time NFL great RB.
  11. Austin_Bill

    Austin_Bill 25+ Posts

    I can't objectively put Ricky over Earl, when it comes to Earl, I have no objectivity he is number 1 even when I compare him to guys like Barry Sanders.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018 at 2:22 PM
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  12. I_Dont_Exist

    I_Dont_Exist 500+ Posts

    It's a crying shame what happened with Simmons. He had all-time great written all over him.
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  13. CoachMc

    CoachMc 25+ Posts

  14. ProdigalHorn

    ProdigalHorn 10,000+ Posts

    I'd put Priest right up with Foreman. They were pretty similar backs, Priest not quite as big.
  15. Longhorn Orange

    Longhorn Orange First Time Poster

    What About James Sexton? Scatback Deluxe!
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  16. 4th_floor

    4th_floor 500+ Posts

    Priest should be on the list. Ced was good, but not great. He never realized his potential. Vince should probably be on this list too. I can see putting him about #5. But I'll keep him on my QB list. Here's my list.
    10. Worster
    9. Holmes
    8. Bertelsen
    7. Metcalf
    6. Leaks
    5. Gilbert
    4. Foreman
    3. Charles
    2. Ricky
    1. Earl
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  17. SabreHorn

    SabreHorn 2,500+ Posts

    Thank you. Prior to Earl, probably the favorite of DKR.

    Never saw him, but some really old timers would put WW3 & Jack Crain
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  18. Run Pincher

    Run Pincher 500+ Posts

    Talent wise I think Simmons and Hadnot would be 3 & 4. Too bad the way their careers ended. Priest would be top 10 too, but was injured too much in college. I don't think I would put Phil Brown top 20. Watching him and Hadnot in the same game was like driving a Ferrari and then getting in a Pontiac. Good but didn't have "IT". Hadnot definitely had "IT".
  19. zinger

    zinger 100+ Posts

  20. ViperHorn

    ViperHorn 5,000+ Posts

    I would go with that list with one exception-moving Foreman to 10 (if not out altogether to be replaced by Sexton) and everyone down to Charles up one. Any above average RB can gain mucho yards against Big XII defenses.
  21. dukesteer

    dukesteer 1,000+ Posts

    We’re talking Longhorn royalty. If the measure is both accomplishment and “buzz/anticipation,” the GAME CHANGERS, here’s where I’d put them:

    I’d have Earl and Ricky as 1 & 1A. The anticipation was off the charts, and defenses schemed for them.

    Next for me is Chris Gilbert, followed by James Saxton. The buzz surrounding both was wild. Had it not been for the emergence of OJ, Gilbert might have won the Heisman.

    Benson was very good, but he never lived up to the (probably unrealistic) expectations...after Ricky. Cedric carried a heavy burden. He drops a few notches.

    Charles made the big-time in the NFL. Great runner, no doubt. But he didn’t emerge until he went to the League. Not a consistent game changer in college.

    I have to agree with Foreman being in the top 5. On a crappy team with low expectations, he may have overachieved.
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  22. rick mueller

    rick mueller 500+ Posts

    I think our ages have a lot to do with our perception. I'm old enough to have seen Saxton and Gilbert. Many here are not.
  23. WorsterMan

    WorsterMan 10,000+ Posts

    Unfortunately I was not quite old enough to have seen James Saxton, but plenty of Tommy Ford, Ernie Koy and Chris Gilbert going forward. Due to the passage of time, Chris Gilbert is probably underrated to some degree. Think Dukesteer is right, had OJ not come along, Gilbert prolly would have won the Heisman.
  24. Phil Elliott

    Phil Elliott 1,000+ Posts

    You have to keep in mind that defenses back in the day were set up much more to stop the run than they are now.
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  25. rick mueller

    rick mueller 500+ Posts

    I was barely old enough to be watching football when James Saxton played, about 6 or 7, I think. Mostly what I remember is my dad and uncles talking about him at family gatherings. I do remember seeing a LOT of Chris Gilbert though, and those that followed him.
  26. Sangre Naranjada

    Sangre Naranjada 5,000+ Posts

    No doubt Earl had the more impressive NFL career. If we are taking that into account, then Priest and Charles have to be elevated significantly. Instead of complicating matters, I'm only considering production while on the 40. And despite the heresy of my assertion, I claim Ricky Williams had the best career as a Longhorn.
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  27. caryhorn

    caryhorn 2,500+ Posts

    ^^^Yes, me too.
    ^^^Yes again, me too.
    ^^^Yep, agree. Both played when the pass was eschewed by our OC. So the run game was basically our only game most of the time. Had they been our running backs in the modern game, where most D's played the 4-3 or 3-4 respecting the pass, then they would have been in the top 6.
    Which makes Earl's accomplishments even more remarkable, because we had a very mediocre passing attack in his time here.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018 at 8:41 AM
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  28. rick mueller

    rick mueller 500+ Posts

    If NFL careers are a metric, then Bertelsen has to move up also. He had a productive NFL career.
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  29. ProdigalHorn

    ProdigalHorn 10,000+ Posts

    Nebraska and the rest of his junior year opposition would beg to disagree. :D

    I was old enough to see his son Jimmy, though! Pretty good player on a pretty bad team.

    I go back and forth because both of them were held back in a lot of ways. Both guys were stuck at fullback for much of their career, but Earl was there longer. He was also a wishbone fullback, which is a whole different animal than how Mackovic used him as fullback.

    Once Earl got in shape and moved to tailback, I just don't see anyone matching him, including Ricky.
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  30. SabreHorn

    SabreHorn 2,500+ Posts

    As for Chris Gilbert, he was the first to gain 1,000 yards for three straight seasons (freshman couldn't play varsity), and two of those teams went 6-4. As has been mentioned, this was against defenses geared to stop the run as they knew DKR wasn't going to pass. I have always believed that one of Chris' strengths was he never got "tattooed". I don't remember ever seeing anyone get a really solid hit on him. Last time I saw Chris, he looked like he could still play. Class act and always has been.

    I just remember Coach Royal talking about Saxton, and the fact he was the only back DKR had ever seen that could be running full speed, do a 180 and be at full speed on first step.

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