6. North Carolina RB Elijah Hood
Fedora’s vision for an explosive, hybrid offense came to fruition in North Carolina’s breakout 2015, and Elijah Hood played a key role. Hood finished ranked 25th nationally with 1,463 total yards rushing, but was among the country’s best in yards per carry among high-volume runners at 6.7.
Hood’s production trended up as the season progressed, with most of his premier games coming toward the end. He decimated rival NC State with 220 yards and a pair of scores, and racked up better than nine yards per game in the bowl-game loss to Baylor.
5. Pitt RB James Conner
Not long ago, James Conner was arguably the best running back in college football. He bulldozed his way to 2014 ACC Offensive Player of the Year with 1,765 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, trailing only Heisman runner-up Melvin Gordon in the latter category.
He’ll have some rust to shake off after missing virtually the entire 2015 season, and fighting cancer this offseason. Should he return to form, and Pitt make waves in the ACC Coastal, Conner’s remarkable story alone deserves consideration from the Heisman committee.