This post continues a series picking an All-Decade Team. Over the summer, we'll be honoring the best players Carolina has had at each position over the past ten years. We'll also give shout-outs to some of the other memorable players we've had. In our last two installments of this series, I picked Ryan Succop as our top placekicker and Spencer Lanning as our punter.
Today, we're talking about runningbacks. Runningback has been a funny position for Carolina. We've gone through quite a few runningbacks over the last few years. In general, there's been a lot of promise but not always a lot of genuine success for our running game. There are some impressive talents on this list, but few of them have genuinely challenged for All-SEC status.
Since 2001, South Carolina's principal runningbacks have been as follows:
2001: Andrew Pinnock and Derek Watson
2002: Andrew Pinnock, Daccus Turman, and Kenny Irons
2003: Daccus Turman, Demetris Summers, and Cory Boyd
2004: Demetris Summers, Cory Boyd, Gonzie Gray, Daccus Turman
2005: Mike Davis, Daccus Turman, Bobby Wallace
2006: Cory Boyd, Mike Davis
2007: Cory Body, Mike Davis
2008: Mike Davis, Eric Baker, Brian Maddox
2009: Kenny Miles, Brian Maddox
2010: Marcus Lattimore, Brian Maddox, Kenny Miles
To me, there are two guys who stand out here: Boyd and Lattimore. There are also some other guys who did some impressive things. Watson ran for just over 1000 yards in 2000, the year before our range begins. Summers had his moments. Davis had a good freshman season. But Boyd and Lattimore really stand out above the rest of the pack.
Picking between the two is tough. On the one hand, Lattimore has the best single season. He ran for well over 1000 yards last year, was first-team All-SEC, and took home many Freshman Player of the Year Awards. On the other hand, Lattimore only has one year to his credit, whereas Boyd proved himself over the course of several years, particularly in 2006 and 2007. I've also always thought that Boyd would have had a much better senior season if Carolina had fielded an effective offensive line that year. Finally, Boyd has this beautiful play to his credit:
Eric Berry gets juked out of his shoes by Cory Boyd (via Delta900)
All of that said, I think the pick has to go to Lattimore. Not only has Lattimore brought home more hardware; you also have to give him credit for being the player who brought us over the hump. It certainly wasn't Boyd's fault that we struggled during some of his years. However, he wasn't able to be as much of a difference-maker as Lattimore, either.
Since this is a tough one, I'd like to open it up to the forum: Who would you pick?