The 2,000 Yard Club of College Football

A Single Season Stat That's Shared by Elite FBS Athletes

Larry Johnson Penn State
Larry Johnson rushed for 2,087 yards in 2002 for Penn State. (Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)

Rushing for over 2,000 yards in a single season is an amazing feat and very few college football players have hit the mark. It is a goal of every running back in the FBS and, interestingly enough, the number who make it seems to be increasing every year.

Star Running Backs Who Rushed for 2,000 Yards

College football is filled with star players and among running backs, those who can rush for over 2,000 yards join a special club of elite athletes.

As of the end of the 2015 season, only 26 have topped this lofty goal and they are among the best players the FBS has seen.

This distinguished group is led by the spectacular Barry Sanders, who ran for 2,628 yards for Oklahoma State in 1988. Other high-profile backs to pull off the feat include Marcus Allen, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ricky Williams, and Larry Johnson.

With spread offenses, faster-paced games, and longer schedules, more running backs are joining this club than ever before. You will notice that 5 of the 26 players on this list have been added since 2010, that's almost one-fifth of the club.

 SchoolYearYardsYards per Carry
Barry Sanders*Oklahoma State19882,6287.64
Melvin Gordon*Wisconsin20142,5877.54
Kevin Smith*UCF20072,5675.70
Marcus Allen* USC19812,3425.81
Derrick Henry*Alabama20152,2195.62
Troy DavisIowa State19962,1855.44
Andre Williams *Boston College20132,1776.13
Ladainian Tomlinson* TCU20002,1585.85
Tony Dorsett*Pittsburgh19762,1505.81
Mike Rozier*Nebraska19832,1487.81
Matt ForteTulane20072,1275.89
Ricky Williams*Texas19982,1245.88
Ron Dayne*Wisconsin19962,1096.49
Larry Johnson* Penn State20022,0877.70
Donald Brown*Connecticut20082,0835.68
Lorenzo White*Michigan State19862,0664.93
Byron HanspardTexas Tech19962,0846.15
Damien Anderson*Northwestern20002,0636.63
Rashaan Salaam *Colorado19942,0556.90
Charles White*Southern California19792,0506.17
Tevin ColemanIndiana20142,0367.54
Ron Dayne*Wisconsin19992,0346.04
Christian McCaffrey*Stanford20152,0195.99
J.J. Arrington *California20042,0186.98
Ray Rice*Rutgers20072,0125.29
Troy DavisIowa State19952,0105.83

*Includes bowl game stats.
Stats according to Sports-Reference.com.

The Official Stats Are a Little Murky

College football stats have changed many times over the years and some 'official' lists do not include all of the players listed above. Also, there was a point in the early 2000s when bowl games began to count toward a player's official season yards.

At times in this transition, the school would count the bowl game while the NCAA did not.

At any rate, it's important to acknowledge that each of these players did rush for over 2,000 yards in the season. That alone is a great accomplishment, especially when compared to the NFL where, as of 2016, only seven running backs have joined the 2,000-yard club and the last was Adrian Peterson in 2012.

As student athletes, these players deserve the credit.

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Your Citation
Hyland, Tim. "The 2,000 Yard Club of College Football." ThoughtCo, Oct. 14, 2016, thoughtco.com/2000-yard-rushers-791477. Hyland, Tim. (2016, October 14). The 2,000 Yard Club of College Football. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/2000-yard-rushers-791477 Hyland, Tim. "The 2,000 Yard Club of College Football." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/2000-yard-rushers-791477 (accessed November 20, 2017).