Ronald Jones | Running Back
For the first time since arriving at USC, Ronald Jones II is the undisputed No. 1 running back in the Trojan backfield. Since he already broke USC’s freshman rushing record and then managed more than 1,000 yards rushing as a sophomore, the Texas Tesla’s trajectory points upward.
He might not have approached the yardage marks of other Pac-12 running backs in 2016, Jones earned an All-Pac-12 second team nod thanks to his 6.11 yards per carry average –second-best behind Christian McCaffrey among backs in the conference with a minimum 150 carries– and 12 touchdowns.
There’s no question that Jones can challenge for a first team All-Pac-12 place this time around.
Competition: Like Darnold, as much as Jones feels like a first team talent, the Pac-12 is loaded with challengers to the throne. McCaffrey has vacated one of the first team slots, but Washington’s Myles Gaskin returns after a 1,373-yard sophomore campaign ready to reclaim his spot.
Then there’s McCaffrey’s heir-apparent Bryce Love who will be leading the Cardinal offense, Oregon’s Royce Freeman who will look to bounce back after a bit of a junior slump, and Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay who led the conference in rushing touchdowns as a junior.