10 greatest running backs in Penn State football history

Penn State has a remarkable history of dominant running backs, but these 10 stood out amongst the rest in program history. With D.J. Dozier and Ki-Jana Carter on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot, where do those legends rank?
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26)
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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. Blair Thomas. . 8. player. Blair Thomas. . 491. Blair Thomas. 1985-89

As D.J. Dozier’s backup in 1986, Thomas produced a healthy 504 yards on 60 carries, an average of 8.4 yards per carry. As the workhorse the next season with Dozier in the NFL, Thomas’s efficiency understandably dropped, but he was still one of the most effective running backs in the country. 

Thomas ran for 1,414 yards in 1987 and racked up 1,341 yards on the ground in 1989 after missing 1988 with a knee injury. His numbers coming off reconstructive knee surgery were remarkable and after an MVP performance at the Senior Bowl before the NFL Draft, Thomas was the No. 2 overall pick to the New York Jets. 

Thomas is fifth all-time in rushing yards at Penn State, but the team’s lack of success, going 21-13-1 in the three years following the 1986 national title has hurt his status as a memorably great Nittany Lion running back.