Arkansas Boasts Long Tradition Of Producing Quality Running Backs

by Evin Demirel  on Monday, Jul. 16, 2012 12:00 am  

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On a national scale, Arkansas high school football has always hit above its weight. And for nearly a century, the state’s best punch has been its running backs.

Consider that in 1925, Pine Bluff High School churned out 8,588 yards, a single-season national record that lasted for 73 years. More than 8,000 of those yards were on the ground.

In more recent decades, individuals have also stood out. In 1964, Parade magazine selected running back Bobby Kinkaid of Little Rock Hall to its All-American team. Of the next 30 Arkansans selected to the same team, 11 played running back.

Who’s next?

Try North Little Rock senior Altee Tenpenny, who missed last season with an ankle injury, but has already been touted as the next in a long line of great tailbacks from central Arkansas. Tenpenny was committed to defending national champion Alabama as of press time.

We don’t know if Tenpenny will put up good enough numbers to stamp himself as an all-time great. But, for consideration, we do know who he’s competing with.

Top 10 Running Backs in Arkansas High School History:

DeAngelo Williams (5-foot-10, 217 pounds)
Wynne, Class of 2002
High school highlights: 2001 — 2,204 yards, 34 touchdowns, 10.4 yards per carry; 2000 — 1,044 yards,14 touchdowns.
College Choice: University of Memphis

Williams’ greatest asset was his shiftiness. His sophomore year was derailed by a severe foot injury, but by playoff time of his senior season Williams was never better. He racked up 939 yards and 14 touchdowns in four games while helping deliver a state title.In 2002, Williams chose nearby Memphis over the likes of Arkansas and Ole Miss. He left four years later with 6,026 rushing yards, fourth all-time in NCAA history.

In six years with the Carolina Panthers, Williams has put together the most successful NFL rushing career of any running back who graduated an Arkansas high school. With four more carries, he will join Jim Brown as the only NFL players to average at least 5 yards per carry on 1,000 career attempts.

Darren McFadden (6-2, 210)
Pulaski Oak Grove, Class of 2005
High school highlights: 2003 — 2,027 yards, 19 touchdowns, 9.9 yards per carry; career — 4,871 yards, 59 touchdowns, 9.8 yards per carry.
College Choice: Arkansas

With a few healthy seasons, McFadden could also etch his name in the NFL record books. Despite his lack of durability for the Oakland Raiders, many still consider him the greatest running back in Arkansas history.



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