Best Collegiate Rushing QB All-Time... Denard?

Submitted by Flamebait on July 19th, 2012 at 10:58 AM

I hope this isn't an awful off-season topic.  I was having a conversation regarding the best running QB in college football and asserted (me just being a homer lol) that not only is Denard the best NOW but he's the best ever.  In response several names were thrown out:

Tommie Frazier

Vince Young

Cam Newton

Mike Vick


In the speed department Denard crushes everybody but Vick, who he crushes in the stats department. 

Frazier is a legend, but again Denard's stats >.


What say ye? Are we watching the best ever?




July 19th, 2012 at 11:05 AM ^

Not the popular opinion here, but I will say Tommie Frazier. Right now. I reserve the right to change my mind after seeing Denard finish his body of work.

The Baughz

July 19th, 2012 at 11:10 AM ^

The only difference from Denard and those guys on your list is national championships (and heismans). Everyone except Denard either won or played in a national championship game. From purely a stats perspective, then yeah, Denard is absolutely in the discussion for best running QB of all time. Hopefully he has another monster season this year.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:16 AM ^

I wouldn't say that that's the only difference. As much as I (and we all) love Denard, he has a tendency to make poor decisions and throw more than his fair share of picks. I don't think it's as simple as "Denard just doesn't have the Nat'l Title appearances."

Is Denard my favorite running QB? Absolutely. Is he in the discussion for greatest of all time? Sure. Is he the greatest of all time? In my opinion, no.


July 19th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

none of those guys changes systems either....or played in a pro style..or west coast offense, they were all in run heavy option offenses their entire career under one coach with top 10 defenses.  Frazier, Crouch, Tebow, even Pat Whote can't throw as well as Denard as far as arm strength and accuracy (and accuracy isnt saying much).  Vick is probably a superior athlete, but they are remarkably similar in many ways.  As far as just individual talent, Denard would be my choice


July 19th, 2012 at 8:53 PM ^

You can't really bring championships into it though because look at the defense Denard was playing with during that time.  If you give him the defense he had last year for 4 years (with players across the board who probably reached their potential to a greater degree than the defensive players on those other guys' teams, but who were less highly rated), and take away the difficulties with the rest of the offense transitioning to what he was so naturally good at, he probably would have played in a championship by now.  I say he's the best.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

People have stopped comparing him to people. He's not "the next Michael Vick," (thank goodness), or the next anybody. He's Denard. If it hasn't already started happening, he's going to be the point of comparison pretty darn soon.

The only downside to hearing people say a young QB makes "Shoelace-like cuts" is that it'll mean his days playing for the Maize and Blue are over.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

Looking strictly at the numbers, Pat White holds the FBS record for career rushing yards by a QB at 4,480. Denard's career total is 3,229, so he needs 1,252 yards to break White's record (Denard had 1,176 rushing yards in 2011).


July 19th, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^

If Denard Robinson can have a senior year in the rushing department which is the statistical average of his two years as a starter (those numbers being 239 carries, 1,439 yards, 5.95 YPC and 15 TDs), then he would be projected to have Pat White-ish numbers really, even edging Pat out for the rushing yard record. Such a year would be awesome on several levels.

Even considering their whole career (all of White's and Denard's to date), they produce at a comparable level overall (again average year). By the numbers, it is certainly not out of the question that Denard could best White's career statistically, but in my opinion, much of this would be contingent on what he will be asked to do in the second year of this system.



July 19th, 2012 at 11:17 AM ^

but honestly will have to wait til the end of his senior year . I've heard people claim Tebow. But I honestly don't see Tebow as a running QB.  Frazier was awesome. At this time I would say Michael Vick albeit Denard stats looks better (as far as running).  I don't think you will ever see a QB from a BCS conference producing the RUSHING numbers like Denard. Ever.


***Rushing yards in one season. With the rise of Fitz, maybe difficult for Denard to pass White for ALL time (career)***


July 19th, 2012 at 12:28 PM ^

"But I honestly don't see Tebow as a running QB."

I'm not sure Tebow is anything but a running QB.  Not a flashy speedster like Denard, White, Young or Vick.  He was a fullback who could throw adequately and was surrounded by some remarkably fast talent.  When Florida needed five, Tebow could get it.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

...but for discussion sake I think you have to throw Antwaan Randle El into the mix too.


Denard: 3229 so far. Needs 1251 to pass White. Denard holds single season with 1702.

Pat White, West Virginia (2005-08): 684 carries, 4,480 yards
Brad Smith, Missouri (2002-05) 799 carries, 4,289 yards
Antwaan Randle El, Indiana (1998-01) 857 carries, 3,895 yards
Joshua Cribbs, Kent St. (2001-04) 632 carries, 3,670 yards
Dee Dowis, Air Force (1986-89) 543 carries, 3,612 yards
Kareem Wilson, Ohio (1995-98) 885 carries, 3,597 yards
Eric Crouch, Nebraska (1998-01) 648 carries, 3,434 yards
Chris McCoy, Navy (1995-97) 682 carries, 3,401 yards
Beau Morgan, Air Force (1994-96) 594 carries, 3,379 yards
Brian Mitchell, La.-Lafayette (1986-89) 678 carries, 3,335 yards

Section 1

July 19th, 2012 at 11:43 AM ^

...that Randle El was perhaps the best thrower on that list.

And remember what an athletic freak he was; playing a little basketball for IU under Bob Knight, and baseball too!

When we consider the future of Denard in the NFL, it helps to consider Randle El.  Who no doubt has several million in the bank to secure his whole family.  I'd like it for Denard to see the same level of financial success.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:49 AM ^

Randel-El's stats against us...

1998: 26 rushes for 110 yards, 7 of 22 passing for 65 yards and 1 interception.

1999: 13 rushes for 31 yards, 18 of 34 passing for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns.

2000: 11 rushes for 39 yards, 13 of 27 passing for 111 yards and 1 interception.

Interestingly, he did more damage against us through the air than on his feet.  In 1999, he was a nearly completed hail mary away from beating us. 


July 19th, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

Everyone always forgets Brad Smith.

Most career rushing yards for a QB (EDIT: until Pat White broke that record. Forgot about that), and he was absolutely electrifying to watch. He couldn't throw worth a damn, but he's pretty much the reason that Missouri is a competetive football team these days.

Having watched both extensively, I think Denard is better on designed runs, and Smith was a better scrambler. I never saw Vick extensively in college, but I assume he was pretty great too.

I don't think Newton, Young, Frazier, Crouch, Tebow or really anyone else approaches those three.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:42 AM ^

watching what Vick did to to Florida state in the bowl game when his o line was getting destroyed was amazing. Two guys tore their acl's chasing him around that game. He seemed to be constantly being driven back 10 yards, but somehow kept picking up yards on scrambles


July 19th, 2012 at 11:19 AM ^

I don't know the official stats but Eric Crouch at Nebraska was pretty dangerous.  It seemed like 99.9% of the Huskers offense was him running for 80 yard touchdowns every week. 


July 19th, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

No QB has ever pissed me off more with his legs then Craig Krenzel. 

I swear to god, everytime that fucker ran it was for a back breaking 1st down.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:27 AM ^

If it's pure speed, then he's probably the best, with the possible exception of Vick. If it's the ability to make people miss, I think Pat White might have been a bit more elusive. If it's the ability to bust tackles in combination with pure speed, I'd say he's not better than Vince Young. If your criteria is most yards gained in a career, then Denard has to gain a bit more than 1200 to pass White, who finished with 4480.

If your criteria is a QB who has the knack for making things happen with his feet when it's crunch time, then Denard is right up there at the top with White and Young.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

How many Big Ten Championships?

How many National Championships?

Any Heismans?

Who's the biggest opponent Denard ever beat? Virginia Tech?


Tebow, Frazier, V Young, Pat White even...I'd put them above Denard. If it was just "speed" necessary to be a running QB, Robert Griffin III would still outclass Denard (Olympian).

The best ever...come on, lol. He's got the yardage of his sophomore season, true.


July 19th, 2012 at 12:07 PM ^

are team accolades...none of the other guys on that list had awful defenses..matter of fact i think all of them had top 10 defenses at some point in their careers...and were all in RUN HEAVY/Option offenses with no coaching changes, and were only asked to throw to wide open wr's in 5 wr sets.  Denard playing 3 years under RR would be a different story

You win Heismans if your team is good (9-10 wins) same with conference titles/natl titles...By your reasoning Terrell Pryor was better as was Russell Wilson



July 19th, 2012 at 12:35 PM ^

I think it is a combination of good statistics AND leading your team to vicotry in the clutchest situations. Do you see folks saying "Case Keenum is the greatest passing QB in college football history?" Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan? The dozen Texas Tech qbs under mike leach? If it was just yards, they'd all be considered for great status.


It takes more than just stats, it's great stats AND big wins.


July 19th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

I see no reason why Denard can't blow up even more ala RG3.  RG3 was average at best in 2010 and completely revamped his game and won the heisman last year.  Denard is already incredible, if he can cut down on the Int's and poor decision making, sky is the limit.


July 19th, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

 Cept that RG3 was throwing to a 1rst round  pick at WR.

 To say he is the best rushing QB of all time you have to also look at a few more things than just his rushing numbers. He is a spectacular runner, tho not as fast as Vick was in college.  The main problem with putting Denard in the top 5 is his turnovers. A qb who averages 13 picks a year ( in his 2 full seasons) shoudn't be on any greatest of all time list. Even when considering a rushing QB list , you're still talking about a quarterback who has to be able to throw the ball downfield.

 I'd take Vick, RG3 , Tebow, Cam Newton and Vince Young on my team all day. It may not be popular but with no big ten championships, no national championships, no Davey o'brien awards and no hesimans you can't even make an arguement that he is or was a top 5 greatest rushing QB of all times.