Florida’s Top 10 Running Backs

Florida running back Emmitt Smith (22) lines up for play against. (AP Photo / Al Messerschmidt/File]

So here was the idea. In 2006, we ranked the top 100 Florida football players on the 100th anniversary of Florida football. A lot of players have been stars since then, so let’s re-rank them. But that would mean kicking some of those players to the curb. So instead, we give you this as you try to take your minds off things — the Top 10 Gators at each position over the last 114 years of football. This is the third of a 13-part series.

Today — The running backs.

Up next — The tight ends.

  1. Emmitt Smith (1987-89) — Defenses knew that Smith was going to get the ball (700 carries in three years), but they still had a difficult time stopping him. Smith has the Florida record for yards in a game (316) and 100-yard rushing games (23 in 36 games). And nobody had more highlight runs.
  2. Errict Rhett (1989-93) — Florida’s all-time leading rusher (4,163) was the perfect complement to the Steve Spurrier Fun ‘n’ Fun offense. He was also a weapon as a receiver with 153 catches in his career and scored 36 total touchdowns.
  3. Neal Anderson (1982-85) — A combination of elusive and powerful, Anderson averaged 5.1 yards a carry for four years and scored 32 touchdowns.
  4. Fred Taylor (1994-97) — Taylor started with a bang and ended with one as well. He had 873 yards as a freshman and then 1,292 as a workhorse in his senior year. And he’ll always have that 1997 FSU game.
  5. Tony Green (1974-77) — Green finished his career seventh on Florida’s all time rushing list and averaged 6.3 yards a carry twice. 
  6. John L. Williams (1982-85) — In his last two seasons, Williams went over 1,000 yards each year in total yards from scrimmage.
  7. Earnest Graham (1998-2002) — Despite a pair of injuries in his junior year, Graham went over 3,000 yards for his career and scored 33 rushing touchdowns.
  8. Larry Smith (1966-68) — Smith battled injuries late in his career, but still managed to score 29 touchdowns and rush for more than 2,000 yards in three seasons. And his 94-yard TD run in the Orange Bowl is still a Florida bowl record.
  9. Jimmy Dubose (1973-75) — It wasn’t until Florida went to the wishbone in his senior season that Jimmy Du went off, rushing for 1,307 yards and being named SEC Player of the Year.
  10. James Jones (1979-82) — He was called The Franchise in high school and did it all for UF as well with a combined 2,611 yards rushing and receiving and 22 TDs plus “The Catch” vs. Miami in 1982. 


  1. Interesting that there is no running back since 2002 who makes it into the top ten. All of the great ones were from 1982-2002. Why is that? Why has UF not had any Gurleys or Fournettes or any of the top running backs who have been tearing up the NFL in the last 18 years? Not even one? And Graham had no career in the NFL to speak of. Only the big four of Smith, Anderson, Taylor and Rhett that ended in 97. What’s been up since then?