Top 5 RBs in Husky History

Today marks the second installment in the “Best Of Husky Football” series. If you missed the first post regarding the best quarterbacks in Husky history, have no fear. It is still available.

When considering the best running backs in the history of Washington football, the task is fairly easy. While many argued over twitter and in the comments about the exclusion of Sonny Sixkiller, Warren Moon and Billy Joe Hobert, the RB position has a clear cut top five. The trick is figuring out the order and in particular where to rank Corey Dillon. The consideration for a running back includes career yards, career TDs, single season marks, yards/attempt and yards/game. While wins and losses are important to any position, the running back doesn’t bear the same burden as a quarterback does when it comes to team success. Whether that is fair or not is a debate for another day.

5. Greg Lewis

With 2621 career yards, Greg Lewis (1987-1990) sits fourth all-time in Husky history. In his senior season, Lewis rushed for 1279 yards (9th in the country) which earned him the Doak Walker award (nation’s top RB) and finished 7th in the Heisman trophy race. Lewis also earned the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year award for his performance in 1990. In 44 games as a Husky, Lewis averaged 5.1 yards/carry and rushed for 22 touchdowns. The Dawgs finished the 1990 season with a 10-2 record in large part due to Lewis’s stellar year.

4. Chris Polk

One of the most beloved Huskies in recent memory, Polk combined speed and power to absolutely torch opposing defenses. Once a USC recruit, Polk posted three straight 1,000 yard seasons for the Dawgs between 2010-12. With a career 5.1 yards per carry and 26 rushing touchdowns (including 12 in his senior season), Polk could only be topped by the #1 player on this list for career accomplishments and statistics, finishing only 42 yards off the all-time yard mark. An argument could be made to put Polk at #2, but I just couldn’t do it.

3. Hugh McElhenny

Originally omitted from this list because the stats are harder to find before 1970, it is clear McElhenny should be in the top three. The argument is whether he should be #1 as he finished his three year Husky career with 2,499 yards, which was the school record at the time. McElhenny finished his sophomore season with second-team All-Coast honors and his junior and senior seasons with first-team honors. In 1951, McElhenny was a unanimous All-America selection and finished 8th in the Heisman Trophy voting. He still holds the record for rushing yards in a single game with his 296 yard performance in 1950 vs. Washington State. McElhenny’s career 5.5 yards per rush stands 4th in Husky history and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. While he obviously put up amazing numbers, his yards per game sits below Dillon and Kaufman (twice!) as do his yards per rush.

2. Corey Dillon

The most dominant running back in Husky history. Corey Dillon is 16th in Husky history in career yards despite only playing one season. Yes only 11 games. Yet in those 11 games, Dillon put up 1555 yards, 5.7 yards per carry, and scored 22 touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, Dillon averaged 141.5 yards/game despite sitting out portions of games. Or how about three quarters of a game? Against San Jose State, Dillon ran for 222 yards in the first quarter and then didn’t play anymore.

1. Napoleon Kaufman

The pastor sits at #1. The other Husky to post three straight 1,000 yard seasons (1992-1994), Napoleon Kaufman led the Pac-1o in rushing in 1993 and 1994 while also sitting in 9th all-time in Pac-10 history. While posting huge yardage seasons, Kaufman also averaged a ridiculous 5.7 yards per carry for his career. Kaufman eluded defenders as if he was Reggie Bush’s dad and Marcus Allen’s nephew. (Did that make any sense?). Kaufman was absolutely dominant and his numbers show it as the all-time Husky leader in career yards and touchdowns. Just enjoy what you see below.

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