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Service Academy Football: Top 10 Running Backs in Service Academy History

After much discussion, Against All Enemies presents the Top 10 service academy running backs over the course of, well, uhh, time.

NCAA Football: Abilene Christian at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, by now I am sure you have read (and argued) all about our top fullback post from yesterday. If you haven't, be sure to click the link so you can get a better understanding for who deserves the title of “Fullback U.”

But, now it is the running backs time to shine. I must admit, I may have bit off more than I could chew for these rankings. I decided to go back to the beginning and make every service academy running back (or halfback) eligible for the list. Besides the obvious challenge of comparing athleticism and statistics from the 1940s with the 2010s it was a beast to narrow down the field.

Note: Be sure to check our “Honorable Mention” group who just missed the cut at the end of our rankings.

10 (tie). Reggie Campbell - Navy and Greg Johnson - Air Force

Two dynamic playmakers with similar career yard totals: Reggie Campbell produced 1,790 rushing yards and 2,620 yards from scrimmage while Johnson contributed 1,963 rushing yards and 2,132 total yards. While Johnson put together an impressive 35 career rushing touchdown performance in the late 80s, Campbell found success per attempt with an average of 7.7 yards per carry which is good enough for second all-time among service academy running backs. These two both had very successful careers in two very different ways.

9. Jacobi Owens - Air Force

The most recent running back to make the list, Jacobi Owens eclipsed the 3,000 career-yard mark his senior season in 2016 which put him fourth overall in career rushing yards for the Falcons and second among running backs. The Falcons running back is fifth overall in rushing attempts with 551 carries which is also second for an Air Force running back. He is one of just five service academy running backs to rush for over 3,000 yards.

Photo Curtesy of U.S. Naval Academy

8. Eddie Meyers - Navy

Sitting fifth atop the career rushing yard leaderboard (2,935 yards), “Fast Eddie” managed eight 100-yard rushing games in 1983 which is a shared season record with Will Worth, Keenan Reynolds, and McCallum. The 1982 graduate holds two of the top five single game rushing yard highs for Navy with 298 against Syracuse (1981) and 278 against Army (1979). Meyers was also targeted in the passing game which pushed him onto the top charts for total all-purpose plays in a single game with 45 in that game against Syracuse and another 44 against Boston College in the same 1981 season. Why can’t I find a video to embed here? Help me out AAE fam.

7. Asher Clark - Air Force

Another recent Air Force product, Asher Clark is the Falcons’ leader in career rushing yards with 3,594 yards from 2008-2011. His 24 career rushing touchdowns is good enough for third among Air Force running backs. The 2012 graduate contributed two 1000-yard seasons (2010 and 2011) and averaged 6.2 yards per rush those same years. Check out that run at :52 in the above video.

6. Pete Dawkins - Army

The last Army player to win the Heisman Trophy (1958), Dawkins compiled 25 total touchdowns from the line of scrimmage. While most of his statistical earnings were acquired in 1957 and 1958, the 1959 graduate was extremely efficient in the 1956 season with three rushing touchdowns on just six carries. Dawkins’ 922 yards from scrimmage in 1958 were the third best that year in college football and he led the country in receiving yards with 494 yards. Dawkins also earned the Maxwell Award and All-American honors for his impressive 1958 season as a running back, receiver, and also played on the defensive side of the ball.

5. Carlton Jones - Army

No Army running back has scored more rushing touchdowns in a season than Carlton Jones did in 2004 with 17 rushing TDs. In that same season, Jones averaged over 115 yards per game which helped push him to second in career rushing yards for a Black Knight with 3,536 yards. The 2006 graduate is also second in career rushing attempts at West Point with 833 carries. Jones added eleven 100-yard rushing games to his career which included a 213-yard game against Air Force in 2004 and 33 career rushing TDs to boot.

4. Joe Bellino - Navy

1960 was quite the year for Bellino as the former Midshipmen racked up the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and unanimous All-American honors as a halfback. A jack-of-all trades on the football field, the eventual New England (Boston) Patriot racked up 3,117 all-purpose yards and added 31 total touchdowns in his collegiate career. Belllino was the first Midshipmen and also the most recent service academy running back to earn the Heisman award.

3. Mike Mayweather - Army

Sitting atop the West Point leaderboard for career rushing yards (4,299) and career rushing attempts (853), Mayweather is a name well-known in service academy football and triple option circles. The 1991 graduate produced eight 100-yard rushing games his senior year and accomplished that feat 21 times in his career – both lead the Black Knight record books. Mayweather sits third on Army’s career rushing touchdown list with 37 TDs and is second for running backs.

2. Napoleon McCallum - Navy

The former Los Angeles Raider holds the service academy running back record for rushing attempts in a season with 331 carries in 1983 which also contributed towards the most career carries in service academy history for a running back with 908. The nearly one-thousand rushing attempts helped McCallum to 31 career rushing touchdowns and 4,179 rushing yards – both stats are good enough for the most by a Navy running back. The College Football Hall of Famer’s success wasn’t limited to the backfield as McCallum also owns the Midshipmen record for career punt return yards with 858. The 1985 graduate is found on just about every page of the Navy offensive record book but perhaps the most impressive title is the career all-purpose yards total (7,172 yards) which is nearly 2,500 yards greater than Navy’s second name on that list (Campbell) making him the all-time service academy leader in all-purpose yards for a running back.

1. Glenn Davis - Army

Commonly known as “Mr. Outside,” Glenn Davis earned the Heisman Trophy in 1946, just one year after Army’s “Mr. Inside” (“Doc” Blanchard) won the honor in 1945 (see our list of recent top fullbacks here). Davis carried the ball 358 times in his career and averaged 8.3 yards per carry which is still the all-service academy record to this day. Most of that production was found in his junior and season seasons where he averaged 11.5 yards per attempt (140 total attempts) over the course of those two years. Davis also earned Maxwell Award and All-American honors and is the service academy leader in career rushing touchdowns for a running back with 43 rushing TDs.

Honorable Mention Consideration:

Chad Hall, Air Force - 2,606 rushing yards and 3,386 from scrimmage with 24 total touchdowns.

Cleveland Cooper, Navy – 2,582 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.

Charlie Jarvis, Army – 2,446 yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns.