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Minnesota Football running backs nowhere to be found in BTN Top 10 list

BTN’s Tom Dienhart continues to astound with his preseason prognostications.

NCAA Football: Ohio at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Before we go any further let’s establish a few things:

  • Pre-season Top 10 lists for positions are really pretty pointless
  • Pre-season lists created by Tom Dienhart are typically even worse
  • It’s July, which means we’re going to talk about this stuff anyway

Yesterday, Antonio Thompson’s biggest superfan/creator put together another well thought out list article built on logic and facts. The topic? The Top 10 running backs in the Big 10 coming into the 2016 season. The only real question for Minnesota fans is what would he write about Shannon Brooks and would he actually spell his name properly. But we forgot that this is Tom Dienhart we’re talking about and as a result, Shannon Brooks did not make his list of Top 10 B1G running backs.

That’s ok, I’m sure all of the choices above Shannon are clearly better.

/scans list

Markell Jones? Ke'Shawn Vaughn? I see...As far as I can tell Dienhart simply looked at the 2015 list of B1G rushing leaders, eliminated anyone who was drafted/graduated/played for Rutgers, and plugged in an OSU kid who hasn't played yet and folks who rushed for a few more ypg than Brooks.

Let’s keep this short and do something Tom Dienhart clearly failed to do and compare some stats. Look at the following 6 running backs and tell me which one you think is the best:

Rush Att Rush Yrds YPC Rec Rec Yards YPR
Player A 119 722 6 17 167 9.8
Player B 168 875 5.2 34 329 7
Player C 147 765 5.2 24 159 6.6
Player D 146 699 4.8 3 15 5
Player E 157 723 4.6 16 119 7.4
Player F 180 753 4.2 19 159 8.4

Despite getting fewer attempts, it seems clear that Player A was the best of the group. Minnesota fans will know that Player A is Shannon Brooks. Here are the others:

Player B = Markell Jones, PUR

Player C = Terrell Newby, NEB

Player D = LJ Scott, MSU

Player E = Ke'Shawn Vaughn, ILL

Player F = De'Veon Smith, MICH

Some might note that while Brooks posted the best YPC (and YPR) numbers his overall yardage gained and yards per game numbers were lower. YPC is a better metric than total yards/ypg, but the explanation of his lower total yards/ypg doesn't hurt Brooks either. Shannon put up his numbers despite only recording stats in 10 of the 12 games he played in. All but one other player on that list (Vaughn) recorded stats in 12 or 13 games. As for the all important eye test?

So to recap:

  • Shannon Brooks had better per play stats than 5 other running backs on Dienhart’s list
  • Brooks’ total yard and YPG stats were depressed by his not getting the ball against Kent State or Colorado State
  • Brooks has the all-important WOW factor too


It’s probably for the best though, as Tom would have called him Rodney Brooks if he made the list.