The Duel

3 Best NFL Running Backs to Ever Come Out of Ohio State

Jason Schandl
The best NFL running backs to ever come out of Ohio State, including Tennessee Titans great Eddie George.
The best NFL running backs to ever come out of Ohio State, including Tennessee Titans great Eddie George. / Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
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There have been no shortage of great running backs in the history of the Ohio State Buckeyes' program. College success doesn't always carry over to the NFL, however, and sometimes players with mediocre college careers go on to make a big difference in the pros.

With that in mind, here are the three best NFL running backs to ever come out of Ohio State.

3. Robert Smith

Robert Smith during his time at Ohio State.
Robert Smith during his time at Ohio State. / Getty Images/Getty Images

It took some time for Robert Smith to make it big at the NFL level. The 1993 first-round pick didn't even see 100 carries in either of his first two seasons, and he didn't rush for 1,000 yards until 1997. He finished his career incredibly well, however, averaging 1,247.2 yards rushing and 250.5 receiving across his final four years. His 6,818 career rushing yards are the second-most ever recorded by a Buckeye at the NFL level.

2. Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott during a 2019 game against the Eagles.
Ezekiel Elliott during a 2019 game against the Eagles. / Patrick Smith/Getty Images

At just 24 years old, Ezekiel Elliott has a real shot to claim the top spot before all is said and done. He's been one of the most productive backs in the NFL since being drafted in 2016, leading the league in rushing yards per game in each of his first three NFL seasons. No player has rushed for more yards than Zeke's 5,405 since he came into the NFL, and it's not close either, with the second-best mark sitting at 4,298.

1. Eddie George

Eddie George before a Titans game against the Colts.
Eddie George before a Titans game against the Colts. / Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The only player ahead of Smith on OSU's all-time NFL rushing list, Eddie George is in a distant first place with a career 10,441 rushing yards. He's one of only 31 players in NFL history to run for at least 10,000 yards, and he showed versatility as well, adding 2,227 receiving yards over his career. A first-team All-Pro in 2000, George had both the kind of high peak and the longevity in the NFL that set him apart from the pack as the best Buckeye running back in NFL history.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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