List of NCAA major college football yearly rushing leaders

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Jim Thorpe at the 1912 Summer Olympics; the same year he had approximately 2,000 yards rushing.

The list of college football yearly rushing leaders identifies the major college rushing leaders for each season from 1937 to the present. It includes yearly leaders in three statistical categories: (1) rushing yardage; (2) yards per carry; and (3) rushing touchdowns.

Overview[edit]

Seven players since 1937 have led the country in rushing yardage in multiple seasons. They are Ricky Williams of Texas (1997-1998), Troy Davis of Iowa State (1995-1996), Charles White of USC (1978-1979), O. J. Simpson of USC (1967-1968), Preacher Pilot of New Mexico State (1961-1962), Art Luppino of Arizona (1954-1955), and Rudy Mobley of Hardin-Simmons (1942, 1946).

Three programs have had different players lead the country in rushing yardage in consecutive seasons. The first was Hardin–Simmons, with Wilton Davis following Mobley as the rushing leader in 1947. The second, New Mexico State, is the only one to have had the nation's rushing leader in more than two consecutive seasons. Pervis Atkins led the country in 1959, followed by Bob Gaiters in 1960 and then Pilot in the next two seasons. The most recent program to have back-to-back rushing leaders is San Diego State, with Donnel Pumphrey in 2016 and Rashaad Penny in 2017.

Since 1937, the single-season rushing record has been broken eight times, by Rudy Mobley in 1942 (1,281 yards), Fred Wendt in 1948 (1,570 yards), O. J. Simpson in 1968 (1,880 yards), Ed Marinaro in 1971 (1,881 yards), Ricky Bell in 1975 (1,957 yards), Tony Dorsett in 1976 (2,150 yards), Marcus Allen in 1981 (2,427 yards), and Barry Sanders in 1988 (2,628 yards).

The record for highest rushing yards per carry in a season was set in 1939 by Jackie Robinson of UCLA with an average of 12.2 yards per carry, a record that stands to this day.

The record of 37 rushing touchdowns in a season was set by Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State in 1988. Mike Rozier of Nebraska held the record previously with 29 rushing touchdowns in 1983.

Leading programs[edit]

Barry Sanders
Montee Ball

Programs with multiple rushing leaders (at least three individual players, in any of the three categories) include:

Rushing leaders since 1937[edit]

The NCAA did not compile and distribute official, national rushing statistics until the 1937 season. This chart reflects the official rushing statistics compiled and distributed by the NCAA.

Year Name Yards Name Yds/Carry Name Rushing TDs
1937 Byron White[1]
(Colorado)
1121 Dick Cassiano
(Pittsburgh)
9.0[2]
1938 Len Eshmont[1]
(Fordham)
831 Parker Hall[3]
(Ole Miss)
6.5
1939 John Polanski[1]
(Wake Forest)
882 Jackie Robinson[4]
(UCLA)
12.2
1940 Al Ghesquiere[1]
(Detroit)
957 James Farrell[5]
(Lafayette)
7.2 Tom Harmon
(Michigan)
15
1941 Frank Sinkwich[1]
(Georgia)
1103 Bob Steuber
(Missouri)
7.6
1942 Rudy Mobley[1]
(Hardin-Simmons)
1281 Bob Steuber[6]
(Missouri)
7.4 Frank Sinkwich
(Georgia)
17
1943 Creighton Miller[1]
(Notre Dame)
911 Bill Daley[7]
(Michigan)
6.8
1944 Wayne Williams[1]
(Minnesota)
911 Glenn Davis[8]
(Army)
11.5 Glenn Davis
(Army)
14
1945 Bob Fenimore[1]
(Oklahoma St.)
1048 Glenn Davis[9]
(Army)
11.5 Doc Blanchard
(Army)
16
1946 Rudy Mobley[1][10]
(Hardin-Simmons)
1262 Roger Stephens[11]
(Cincinnati)
7.7
1947 Wilton Davis[1][12]
(Hardin-Simmons)
1173 Jack Kurkowski[13]
(Detroit)
10.1
1948 Fred Wendt[1][14]
(UTEP)
1570 Fred Wendt[14][15]
(UTEP)
8.53 Fred Wendt
(UTEP)
20
1949 John Dottley[1][16]
(Ole Miss)
1312 John Pont[17]
(Miami-OH)
7.6
1950 Wilford White[1][18]
(Arizona St.)
1502 Wilford White[19]
(Arizona St.)
Bobby Marlow[19]
(Alabama)
7.5
7.5
1951 Ollie Matson[1][20]
(San Francisco)
1566 Buck McPhail[20][21]
(Oklahoma)
8.56
1952 Howard Waugh[1][22]
(Tulsa)
1372 Howard Waugh[22][23]
(Tulsa)
8.53
1953 J. C. Caroline[1][24]
(Illinois)
1256
1954 Art Luppino[1][25]
(Arizona)
1359 Art Luppino[26]
(Arizona)
21
1955 Art Luppino[1][27]
(Arizona)
1313 Art Luppino
(Arizona)
6.28
1956 Jim Crawford[1][28]
(Wyoming)
1104 Tommy Lorino
(Auburn)
8.4 Jim Brown
(Syracuse)
Clendon Thomas
(Oklahoma)
13
1957 Leon Burton[1][29]
(Arizona St.)
1126 Leon Burton
(Arizona St.)
9.6 Bob Anderson
(Army)
13
1958[30] Dick Bass[1]
(Pacific)
1361 Bob Jeter
(Iowa)
7.2 Dick Bass
(Pacific)
Billy Austin
(Rutgers)
15
15
1959[31] Pervis Atkins[1]
(New Mexico St.)
971 Billy Brown
(New Mexico)
7.8 Pervis Atkins
(New Mexico St.)
13
1960[32] Bob Gaiters[1]
(New Mexico St.)
1338 Tom Larscheid
(Utah St.)
8.4 Bob Gaiters
(New Mexico St.)
23
1961[33] Preacher Pilot[1]
(New Mexico St.)
1278 Jimmy Saxton
(Texas)
7.9 Pete Pedro
(West Texas A&M)
21
1962[34] Preacher Pilot[1]
(New Mexico St.)
1247 Gale Sayers
(Kansas)
7.1 Preacher Pilot
(New Mexico St.)
15
1963[35] Dave Casinelli[1]
(Memphis)
1016 Tony Lorick
(Arizona St.)
7.7 Dave Casinelli
(Memphis)
Cosmo Iacavazzi
(Princeton)
14
1964[36] Brian Piccolo[1]
(Wake Forest)
1044 Don Kunit
(Penn St.)
Tom Brown
(Villanova)
6.4 Brian Piccolo
(Wake Forest)
15
1965[37] Mike Garrett[1]
(USC)
1440 Harry Jones
(Arkansas)
7.7 Dave Alexander
(East Carolina)
17
1966[38] Ray McDonald[1]
(Idaho)
1329 MacArthur Lane
(Utah St.)
7.6 Lee Jones
(Buffalo)
16
1967 O. J. Simpson
(USC)
1543[39]
1415[1]
Duane Thomas
(West Texas A&M)
7.2 Butch Colson
(East Carolina)
15
1968 O. J. Simpson
(USC)
1880[40]
1709[1]
Fred Willis
(Boston College)
7.3 O. J. Simpson
(USC)
23
1969 Leon Burns[41]
(Long Beach St.)
Steve Owens[1]
(Oklahoma)
1659
1523
Billy Walik
(Villanova)
8.9 Leon Burns
(Long Beach St.)
26
1970[42] Don McCauley
(North Carolina)
1863 Fred Henry
(New Mexico)
7.3 Don McCauley
(North Carolina)
22
1971[43] Ed Marinaro
(Cornell)
1881 Greg Pruitt
(Oklahoma)
9.0 Terry Metcalf
(Long Beach St.)
28
1972[44] Pete Van Valkenburg
(BYU)
1386 Wilbur Jackson
(Alabama)
7.1 Champ Henson
(Ohio St.)
20
1973[45] Mark Kellar
(N. Illinois)
1719 Wilbur Jackson
(Alabama)
7.9 J. J. Jennings
(Rutgers)
21
1974[46] Archie Griffin
(Ohio St.)
1695 Gralyn Wyatt
(Texas)
7.8 Keith Barnette
(Boston College)
22
1975[47] Ricky Bell
(USC)
1957 David Sims
(Georgia Tech)
8.2 Pete Johnson
(Ohio St.)
25
1976[48] Tony Dorsett
(Pittsburgh)
2150 Scott McConnell
(Appalachian St.)
6.9 Terry Miller
(Okla. St.)
23
1977[49] Earl Campbell
(Texas)
1744 Henry White
(Colgate)
7.9 Earl Campbell
(Texas)
18
1978[50] Charles White
(USC)
1859 Kenny King
(Oklahoma)
7.9 Billy Sims
(Oklahoma)
20
1979[51] Charles White
(USC)
2050 Gwain Durden
(Chattanooga)
7.8 Billy Sims
(Oklahoma)
22
1980[52] George Rogers
(South Carolina)
1781 Buster Rhymes
(Oklahoma)
7.7 Sammy Winder
(S. Mississippi)
20
1981[53] Marcus Allen
(USC)
2427 Tim Martin
(Appalachian St.)
6.8 Marcus Allen
(USC)
22
1982[54] Ernest Anderson
(Okla. St.)
1877 Marcus Dupree
(Oklahoma)
7.8 Greg Allen
(Florida St.)
20
1983[55] Mike Rozier
(Nebraska)
2148 Mike Brown
(Air Force)
8.5 Mike Rozier
(Nebraska)
29
1984[56] Keith Byars
(Ohio St.)
1764 Kevin Lowe
(Wyoming)
8.0 Keith Byars
(Ohio St.)
22
1985[57] Lorenzo White
(Michigan St.)
2066 Tom Rathman
(Nebraska)
7.5 Bernard White
(Bowling Green)
18
1986[58] Paul Palmer
(Temple)
1866 Brent Fullwood
(Auburn)
8.3 Steve Bartalo
(Colorado St.)
19
1987[59] Craig Heyward
(Pittsburgh)
1791 Patrick Collins
(Oklahoma)
7.6 Paul Hewitt
(San Diego St.)
18
1988[60] Barry Sanders
(Okla. St.)
2628 Chuck Weatherspoon
(Houston)
8.5 Barry Sanders
(Okla. St.)
37
1989[61] Anthony Thompson
(Indiana)
1793 Chuck Weatherspoon
(Houston)
9.6 Anthony Thompson
(Indiana)
24
1990[62] Darren Lewis
(Texas A&M)
1691 Nikki Fisher
(Virginia)
7.0 Stacey Robinson
(N. Illinois)
19
1991[63] Vaughn Dunbar
(Indiana)
1805 Calvin Jones
(Nebraska)
8.3 Tommy Vardell
(Stanford)
22
1992[64] Marshall Faulk
(San Diego St)
1630 Reggie Brooks
(Notre Dame)
8.0 Garrison Hearst
(Georgia)
19
1993[65] LeShon Johnson
(N. Illinois)
1976 Charlie Garner
(Tennessee)
7.3 Bam Morris
(Texas Tech)
22
1994[66] Rashaan Salaam
(Colorado)
2055 Ki-Jana Carter
(Penn State)
7.8 Rashaan Salaam
(Colorado)
24
1995[67] Troy Davis
(Iowa State)
2010 Ahman Green
(Nebraska)
7.7 Eddie George
(Ohio State)
24
1996[68] Troy Davis
(Iowa State)
2185 Robert Farmer
(Notre Dame)
8.5 Corey Dillon
(Washington)
22
1997[69] Ricky Williams
(Texas)
1893 Kevin McDougal
(Colorado St.)
7.4 Ricky Williams
(Texas)
Travis Prentice
(Miami-OH)
25
1998[70] Ricky Williams
(Texas)
2124 Reuben Droughns
(Oregon)
7.4 Ricky Williams
(Texas)
27
1999[71] Ron Dayne
(Wisconsin)
2034 Levron Williams
(Indiana)
6.9 Ron Dayne
(Wisconsin)
LaDainian Tomlinson
(TCU)
20
2000[72] LaDainian Tomlinson
(TCU)
2158 Kenton Keith
(N. Mexico St.)
7.8 Lee Suggs
(Va. Tech)
27
2001[73] Chance Kretschmer
(Nevada)
1732 Santonio Beard
(Alabama)
8.2 Luke Staley
(BYU)
24
2002[74] Larry Johnson
(Penn St.)
2087 Larry Johnson
(Penn St.)
Joshua Cribbs
(Kent St.)
7.7 Willis McGahee
(Miami-FL)
28
2003[75] Darren Sproles
(Kansas St.)
1986 Vince Young
(Texas)
Matt Jones
(Arkansas)
7.4 Kevin Jones
(Virginia Tech)
Cedric Benson
(Texas)
21
21
2004[76] J. J. Arrington
(California)
2018 DeAndra' Cobb
(Michigan St.)
7.6 DeAngelo Williams
(Memphis)
22
2005[77] DeAngelo Williams
(Memphis)
1964 Reggie Bush
(USC)
8.7 LenDale White
(USC)
24
2006[78] Garrett Wolfe
(N. Illinois)
1928 Anthony Alridge
(Houston)
10.1 Ian Johnson
(Boise St.)
25
2007[79] Kevin Smith
(UCF)
2567 Percy Harvin
(Florida)
9.2 Kevin Smith
(UCF)
29
2008[80] Donald Brown
(Connecticut)
2083 Shun White
(Navy)
8.3 MiQuale Lewis
(Ball St.)
Javon Ringer
(Michigan St)
22
2009[81] Toby Gerhart
(Stanford)
1871 Vai Taua
(Nevada)
7.8 Toby Gerhart
(Stanford)
28
2010[82] LaMichael James
(Oregon)
1731 Onterio McCalebb
(Auburn)
8.5 Chad Spann
(N. Illinois)
22
2011[83] Montee Ball
(Wisconsin)
1923 Henry Josey
(Missouri)
8.1 Montee Ball
(Wisconsin)
33
2012[84] Ka'Deem Carey
(Arizona)
1929 Dri Archer
(Kent State)
9.0 Kenneth Dixon
(La. Tech)
27
2013[85] Andre Williams
(Boston College)
2177 Elijah McGuire
(La.-Lafayette)
8.4 Kapri Bibbs
(Colorado St.)
Keenan Reynolds
(Navy)
31
2014[86] Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) 2587 Jhurell Pressley
(New Mexico)
9.5 Melvin Gordon
(Wisconsin)
29
2015[87] Derrick Henry
(Alabama)
2219 Nick Chubb
(Georgia)
8.1 Derrick Henry
(Alabama)
28
2016[88] Donnel Pumphrey
(San Diego State)
2133 Ty Johnson
(Maryland)
9.1 Anthony Wales
(Western Kentucky)
27
2017[89] Rashaad Penny
(San Diego State)
2248 Khalil Tate
(Arizona)
9.2 Devin Singletary
(Florida Atlantic)
32

Pre-1937 unofficial data[edit]

This chart reflects unofficial rushing statistics before the NCAA started keeping official rushing statistics in 1937, compiled by historians largely from contemporary newspaper accounts.

Year Name Yards Name Yds/Carry Name Rushing TDs
1936 Marshall Goldberg[90]
(Pittsburgh)
860
1935 Kayo Lam[91][92]
(Colorado)
1043
1934 Kayo Lam[93]
(Colorado)
906 Bill Shepherd
(Western Maryland)
18
1933 Beattie Feathers
(Tennessee)
663 Beattie Feathers
(Tennessee)
13
1932
1931 Shipwreck Kelly[94]
(Kentucky)
1074 Shipwreck Kelly[95]
(Kentucky)
6.3
1930 Frank Christensen[96]
(Utah)
1131
1929 Lloyd Brazil[97]
(Detroit)
1117 Gene McEver
(Tennessee)
18
1928 Ken Strong[98]
(NYU)
2032 Ken Strong
(NYU)
22
1927 Glenn Presnell[99]
(Nebraska)
1448 Joel Hunt
(Texas A&M)
19
1926 Mayes McLain
(Haskell)
38
1925 Peggy Flournoy (Tulane)
and Mort Kaer (USC)
19
1924 Red Strader[100]
(St. Mary's)
1421
1923
1922
1921 Red Barron[101]
(Georgia Tech)
1459
1920 Jimmy Leech
(VMI)
1723 Buck Flowers[102]
(Georgia Tech)
10.2 Jimmy Leech
(VMI)
26
1919 Ira Rodgers
(West Virginia)
19
1918
1917 Everett Strupper[103]
(Georgia Tech)
1150 Everett Strupper
(Georgia Tech)
10.1 Albert Hill
(Georgia Tech)
23
1916
1915 Jerry DaPrato
(Michigan Aggies)
34
1914 Buck Mayer
(Virginia)
21
1913
1912 Jim Thorpe[104][105]
(Carlisle)
1869+ Jim Thorpe
(Carlisle)
9.8 Jim Thorpe
(Carlisle)
29
1911 Jim Thorpe[104]
(Carlisle)
899 Jim Thorpe
(Carlisle)
8.0
1910
1909 Jim Thorpe[104]
(Carlisle)
781
1908
1907
1906
1905
1904 Willie Heston[104]
(Michigan)
686 Willie Heston
(Michigan)
12.7 Willie Heston
(Michigan)
21
1903
1902 Willie Heston
(Michigan)
487 Willie Heston
(Michigan)
8.7 Al Herrnstein
(Michigan)
26
1901[104] Willie Heston
(Michigan)
684 Willie Heston
(Michigan)
10.2 Willie Heston
(Michigan)
20
1900
1899
1898
1897
1896
1895
1894
1893
1892
1891 Everett J. Lake[106]
(Harvard)
39
1890 Philip King
(Princeton)
29
1889
1888
1887 Snake Ames[107]
(Princeton)
20
1886 Harry Beecher[106]
(Yale)
33

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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