Today we’re talking LSU running backs. From Billy Cannon to Leonard Fournette and everybody in between, the Tigers have boasted some great ball carriers over the years.

We’ll take a look at the Tigers backfield in 2023, and what made all those who came before them great throughout the history of the program.

Who are the LSU Running Backs in 2023?

The LSU football roster will be looking to challenge Alabama in the SEC West this season, following a promising year last season under Brian Kelly. The Tigers ended the year with some real momentum, and seem to be finally re-emerging as a challenger in the SEC after a post-National Championship winning slump.

The LSU running backs in 2023 will be led by Josh Williams, who was the yardage leader amongst running backs last season, second only to dual threat quarterback Jayden Daniels.

Logan Diggs transferred over from Notre Dame, and he could easily challenge for starting reps following a 732 yard and three touchdown season with the Fighting Irish in 2022.

LSU Running Backs History

LSU has had two Heisman winners. Joe Burrow was one, and the other was an old school do it all talent who just might be the greatest running back in the history of the program.

The LSU starting running back position has been filled by some extremely talented college football players, and some who have gone on to win Super Bowl rings at the next level too.

We’re breaking down the very best, with ten of the all-time greatest LSU RBs in school history.

Active LSU Running Backs in the NFL

There are currently two former LSU running backs on active NFL rosters. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is one of the Kansas City Chiefs running backs and has won a Super Bowl ring with the franchise after being selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft.

Tyrion Davis-Prince is a member of the San Francisco 49ers having been drafted by the franchise in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft. Davis-Prince holds the LSU record for single game rushing yards, having ran for 287 against the Florida Gators in 2021.

Famous LSU Running Backs

There have been several highly regarded running backs through the history of the LSU football program. In the 1970s it was all about Terry Robiskie and Charles Alexander, who is one of the most successful talents in LSU running back history.

Both Kevin Faulk and Leonard Fournette have had outstanding careers at LSU, breaking multiple records in the process. Their careers in the NFL have also helped to establish them as household names, but Billy Cannon is still the most famous running back for LSU.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest LSU Running Backs of all time

  1. Joseph Addai 2001 - 2005

Joseph Addai’s career at LSU started out as a blocking back. He was primarily lined up as a fullback and didn’t see much action carrying the football early on, until he proved what he was capable of.

He was the number two back in the 2003 season, when LSU won the National Championship under head coach Nick Saban. Addai carried the football for over 500 yards that year, second to freshman Justin Vincent.

Over the next three seasons he continued to increase his production, and in his senior season totaled 911 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns, which were both career highs.

Addai represented the Tigers in the NFL, and spent six seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, helping them to win Super Bowl XLI with 77 rushing yards on 19 carries in the big game.

  1. Terry Robiskie 1973 - 1976

In the 1970’s the combination of Terry Robiskie and Charles Alexander was punishing. The two crossed over in their college careers for the 1976 season, with Robiskie going into his senior season while Alexander was a sophomore.

That season, Terry Robiskie led the SEC in rushing yards, totaling 1,117 yards on the ground with a productive year that put him number one in the program's history for total rushing yards.

Robiskie was named a First Team All SEC member, and moved on to the NFL having posted 2,517 rushing yards and 29 rushing touchdowns during his LSU career.

  1. Derrius Guice 2015 - 2017

Derrius Guice started out his college career at LSU as the backup running back to Leonard Fournette.

When Fournette was sidelined with an injury in 2016, Guice’s sophomore season, the program turned to the young running back and expected him to deliver. Guice responded by posting 155 yards and a touchdown in his first start, and later that season ran for 252 yards against the Arkansas Razorbacks to put him second on the all time single game leaderboard at LSU.

In 24 games across the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Derrius Guice managed over 2,500 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns. He was named to All SEC teams in both seasons, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the second round of the 2018 draft.

  1. Jeremy Hill 2012 - 2013

Jeremy Hill redshirted his freshman year at LSU in 2011, and the Tigers running back made an immediate contribution the following season in a loaded backfield.

In 2012, Hill was playing alongside past LSU running backs Spencer Ware, Kenny Hilliard, Michael Ford, Alfred Blue and Russell Shepard. LSU were overwhelming teams with the depth they had at the position, and Hill contributed 755 yards and 12 touchdowns to that unit.

The following season he became the guy. Hill emerged as one of the best backs in the SEC, posting 1,401 rushing yards and 16 rushing TDs on his way to First Team All SEC honors. His rushing total put him second on the single season LSU rushing leaderboard at the time, and his 16 touchdowns is still in the top five.

  1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire 2017 - 2019

Clyde Edwrds-Helaire was the LSU Tigers running back during the impeccable 2019 season in which the program wnt 15-0 and won the National Championship in style.

That team is now considered to be the best college football team in history, and Clyde broke out with 1,415 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on 215 carries. He caught another 55 balls that season, adding 453 yards and a touchdown in the pass game, and played a key role in what LSU accomplished in what was a phenomenal season.

Edwards-Helaire was named to the First Team All Sec in 2019, and was drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. His NFL career hasn’t panned out the way he might have hoped, but he’s still a Super Bowl champion, and one of the best former LSU running backs in history.

  1. Charles Alexander 1975 - 1978

Charles Alexander was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012, and with very good reason. He played 44 games over four seasons at LSU, and in that time amassed a sensational rushing yard total as one of the all time Tigers running backs.

Alexander took over as the primary back in 1977, following two seasons with over 100 carries in a supporting role. 1977 turned out to be his breakout year, with the talented back rushing for 1,686 yards and 17 touchdowns on his way to being crowned the SEC Player of the Year.

He followed that season with another 1,172 yards in 1978, and earned back-to -back consensus All-American honors for his efforts at LSU. He was named to the First Team All SEC in both years, and is now a member of the Louisiana Hall of Fame.

Alexander held the single season rushing record at LSU until Leonard Fournette broke it in 2015, and is one of just three backs in LSU football history to total over 4,000 rushing yards in the purple and gold. When he moved on to the NFL, he totaled 40 rushing touchdowns for the Tigers, and was selected in the first round of the 1979 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.

  1. Dalton Hilliard 1982-1985

Dalton Hilliard had four very strong years at LSU, with 11 or more touchdowns in three of those four seasons, including his freshman year.

He emerged right out of the gate with 901 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season in 1982, and in his junior and senior seasons he posted over 1,100 yards in back to back years and a combined 27 touchdowns.

Hilliard’s consistency over the course of his college career led to him marking school records in both total rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, two records that would later be broken by Kevin Faulk.

The former LSU starting RB was also a talented receiver, and over the four years he spent with the program he amassed 1,188 receiving yards and six TDs to accompany his 4,050 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns.

Hilliard was a three time First Team All SEC member and was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints too, where he spent his entire NFL career from 1986-1993.

  1. Leonard Fournette 2014 - 2016

Leonard Fournette’s 2015 season alone is enough to land him on this list, having proven himself as one of the very elite running backs in college football that year.

The former Tigers running back had emerged in Les Miles' team as a freshman, rushing for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns despite only starting six of the 11 games he featured in.

The following year Fournette was sensational. He rushed for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns, setting single season school records in both categories, claiming Charles Alexander's rushing record that had stood for almost 40 years. He had nine consecutive 100+ yard rushing games that season, and posted a career high 244 yards against Syracuse.

Fournette was voted a consensus All American and First Team All SEC while finishing in sixth place in Heisman trophy voting.

The following year he was listed as one of the contenders to claim the Heisman, but only featured in seven games due to an injury. He still managed 743 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, taking his LSU career total to 40. He is one of just four LSU backs in history to reach the 40 touchdown mark.

Fournette was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He would go on to help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers claim a Super Bowl title at Super Bowl LV, making him one of the most successful LSU RBs in the NFL.

  1. Kevin Faulk 1995 - 1998

Kevin Faulks career at LSU was incredible. He is one of the most consistent and most productive players in program history, and still holds multiple school records today.

In the 1990s, Kevin Faulk quickly became one of the most versatile backs in the SEC, and was one of the main reasons that the program discovered their winning ways under head coach Gerry DiNardo. DiNardo had famously announced in his introductory press conference that it was his duty to ‘bring the magic back’ to LSU football, and the number one reason he was able to do that was due to Faulk.

In his freshman year he carried the football 174 times for 852 yards and six touchdowns, earning himself the SEC Freshman of the Year award in 1995. From then on he dominated college football for three more seasons.

Faulk posted back to back to back 1,000 yard seasons and another 40 touchdowns across that three year period, smashing records previously set in the purple and gold by Dalton Hilliard.

By the time he headed for the NFL, Kevin Faulk had claimed the LSU records for total rushing yards (4,557) and total touchdowns (46), both of which still stand today. He earned First Team All SEC honors three times and was voted a First Team All American in 1996.

Faulk ranks fourth on the SEC all time rushing touchdown leaderboard, and went on to win three Super Bowls during a successful NFL career with the New England Patriots. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and both the Patriots and Louisiana Hall of Fame too.

  1. Billy Cannon 1957-1959

Up until Joe Burrow claimed the Heisman trophy in 2019, LSU had only ever had one previous winner. His name was Billy Cannon, and he claimed the prestigious trophy back in 1959 as arguably the greatest LSU Tiger of all time.

Billy Cannon could do it all. He was a real playmaker and ahead of his time playing in the late 50s. Led by his talents, the LSU Tigers won their very first National Championship in 1958, and the following year Cannon was named the winner of the Heisman Trophy.

During his time at LSU, Cannon was voted the SEC Player of the Year in both the 1958 National Championship and 1959 Heisman winning years, as well as being named to the First Team All SEC twice, and second team once too. He was a two time unanimous All American, and is one of just three Tigers to have their football jersey number retired.

Billy Cannon oozed greatness everywhere he went. He was the number one pick in both the 1960 NFL and AFL drafts, and went on to win three AFL Championships and two Championship MVPs, as well as four All-AFL team appearances and two AFL All Stars.

Cannon is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the greatest LSU running back of all time. He is among the very best athletes to wear their colors, and deserving of the top spot on today’s list.

Parameters for Rankings

This list of the best LSU running backs have been ranked based on their contributions to the Tigers program and individual accomplishments and accolades on the gridiron.

These rankings are based on their LSU careers alone, and while NFL statistics and achievements may be mentioned, they did not help to determine the rankings.


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