Top-5 Memphis RB
These are the top 5 seasons. This means 4 RBs are the top-5 Memphis RB seasons. There’s a good argument to be had, and I’m willing to listen, it should be just 2 backs. That’s because DeAngelo Williams had 3-4 great years.
But other recent Univ. of Memphis RBs that turned pro edged him out based on overall performance. These assessments are made upon the statistical contributions. These rankings aren’t based on the excitement or breakability a RB gives to the game. If your opinions differ, leave comments below.
Season 5. Darrell Henderson 2021 Season. It was a Superbowl victory for the Rams, and Henderson was an essential part of that. Henderson rushed for 688 yards on 149 attempts. This production was despite playing only 12 of the 17 games. He also contributed 176 receiving yards, and in addition 43 yards receiving in the LA Rams Super Bowl victory.
Top-5 Memphis RB (4)
Season 4. Tony Pollard 2022 Season. Might be jumping the gun here, but statistics so far point to this spot. After only 11 games Tony Pollard has rushed for 761 yards. Spelling star RB Ezekiel Elliot (and downright replacing him on some occasions) Pollard has taken only 149 carries for this rushing total. And he averages a very high 5.6 yards per attempt.
Pollard is not just a productive runner, he is electric. You can see on NFL Next-Gen Stats he had 2 weeks of unexpectedly high production, week 8 and week 9. Most of the big names on the list, Lamar Jackson, Saquon Barkley, you’ll recognize, but he’s the only rusher on that top 20 list 2 different weeks. And if you watch the Cowboys you can use your “eyeballs” metric test to see he’s incredibly difficult to tackle, and to game-plan for.
Top-5 Memphis RB(3)
Season 3. Antonio Gibson 2021 season. A startling breakout season for the Washington Commanders running back. Shocking in that Gibson was drafted out of the Memphis Tigers without having worked as a running back. But, he was utilized highly in reverse and short-pass plays to utilize his tremendous speed. Gibson worked as a receiver in Memphis. But in Washington, there was a need and he hit the ground running in 2020 and excelled in 2021.
He rushed for 1037 yards on 258 attempts. For these 5 best rushing seasons for a Memphis Tiger, we are using receiving yards only as a tie-breaker. His 294 receiving yards on 42 catches solidify him in the third-best season on this list.
Top-5 Memphis RB(2)
Season 2 D’Angelo Williams 2011 Season. Williams rushed for 836 yards on a mere 155 carries. You can see his gamelog here and the incredible efficiency of getting the yards in 15 games to carry. He added 7 touchdowns in probably his second-best season as a pro. The incredible efficiency edges him ahead of the number 3 season by Antonio Gibson.
A game against the New Orleans Saints highlighted his season. He ran for 115 yards, on only 9 carries,including a 69-yard TD run. But yet this wasn’t the ex-Memphis RB’s best season. That was:
Top-5 Memphis RB(1)
Season 1 D’Angelo Williams 2015 Season. Pro Football Reference shows in it’s gamelog the consistent and sometimes stellar season. He gained 900 yards on only 200 carries. He even added 367 yards on 40 catches. This isn’t about his receiving abiity— but he caught 85% of the catches he was thrown to. Amazing.
The receiving plus the standout games make this the best season of any University of Memphis Running back. Almost 1400 yards in total yardage. He made his yards on 60 less carries than Antonio Gibson’s stellar 2021 season.
In a career game, against Oakland he stood out with 170 yards. There was another notable game against Indianpolis he not only gained 134 yards rushing, he caught 5 passes for 31 yards. Williams touched the ball over 30 times that game.
If interested, you can see my other article about the current season of ex-Memphis RBs here. I’ll do an end-of-year roundup at NFL playoff time.
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