Don't try to say Harvin gets all the credit for Tebow's running. Tebow ran all over Florida State and Alabama last year when Harvin was injured. Weak argument. It's only easy to run up the middle on SEC defenses from a messageboard. It's not so easy on the actual field.
Tebow doesn't deserve a mention if we are talking about the best.
He is a very good runner. He's one of the best college football players ever, and a huge factor there is his ability to keep defenses off balance with his ability to run. He's a tackle breaker, a QB with a linebacker's mentality. He'll fight for an extra inch on the football field. On 3rd and 1 or 4th and inches, there may never have been a player so dominant.
Still, does that make him a better runner than some of those that came before him? No, not at all. Is he more dangerous a runner than Michael Vick? Not a chance and you know it. How about Pat White or Brad Smith, more dangerous than either of those players? Nope. These guys may not have had the Td total that Tebow has accumulated thus far, and it's not because they weren't as good or better runners. It comes down to: A) opportunity, Tebow is given the green light in the red-zone and is Florida's premier threat inside the ten; B) a gimmicky, deceptive spread offense, with four receivers spread wide and a tailback next to him for deceiving the defense. It is very hard to stack the box, to key in on a QB, when you have three athletic receivers spread wide, an athletic tight end in the slot, and a dynamic outside threat in the backfield. Teams know they must stop Tebow, and they can't. Who gets the credit? Tebow or Urban Meyer.
What I am trying to say.... Tebow has tremendous rushing statistics, and he is a very good runner. Still to call him as natural and fear-inducing as, say, Vince Young, Pat White, Michael Vick, or Brad Smith? It'd be ridiculous. He's not a threat to go the distance. He has never had a run exceeding 30 yards. His stats are as gaudy as they are because of opportunities he has been given (and seized) and an offense that could make Reggie Ball look like an All-Conference type player. He's not fast, he's not sudden, he's not elusive. He has size, power, and most importantly (and most characteristically) the will. He puts defenses off balance and draws mismatches, but ultimately I'm not overly concerned about Tim Tebow's rushing ability when I have him pinned inside his own 25-30 yard line and that's because he's not, nor will he ever be, a home run threat.
In recent memory...Vince Young took a broken play, ran it 80 yards and made it look easy. Michael Vick was a 4.3 athlete and as elusive as anyone, he'd take a broken play and turn it into a 25 yard run, he had 11 runs over 30 yards in two years. Pat White was fast, he was smooth, he was elusive and he had a run over 50 yards... 9 times. I could not count how many runs he had over 30 yards because so often he broke two, three, or even four runs over that in a given game.. and he did it over four years.
Tim Tebow is going to go down as one of the best college players ever. Who knows, maybe he wins another Heisman and National Championship and he's the best college player ever. I can give him that, but regardless if his TD total running the ball ends up at 70-75, he's not the best running QB.
Hard topic because it becomes an issue most dangerous runner or most productive runner. Clearly some quarterbacks on this list cannot throw a lick, thus they run the ball more and get more statistics. Does not mean they are that dangerous in the open field however.
Here are a few that come to mind, dangerous runners that were big play threats at any moment.
Michael Vick- arguably the most explosive and dangerous runner of them all
Vince Young- his long stride made him cover a lot of ground in a hurry
Antwaan Randle El- flat out elusive, at times no one could touch him
Well, if we're talking about the best athletes to play QB, the conversation would not be complete without mention of Terry Baker.
In 1962, Baker amassed 3,476 passing yards and 23 TDs, he also ran for 1,503 yards and 15 TDs. He won the heisman trophy, the maxwell award, SI's Sportsman of the Year, and was named to 11 different All American teams. Then he went and led the basketball team to the final four as their All American Point Guard. Then he became the first pick in the NFL draft.
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The Baker drop was nice, a forgotten superstar from another era.
Elway, Staubach, Steve Young and Cunningham have been the very close, but I'm still waiting to see the 'ultimate weapon' at QB; a player with the passing tools of Peyton Manning combined with the wheels of Michael Vick.
I don't think there is a defense that could stop such a player, but as of yet no such player exists or ever has.
Terry Baker's Heisman season was ridiculous!!
What were Vince Young's stats his last year at Texas, btw??