Le'Veon Bell: Christian McCaffrey is CFB's top rusher

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell doesn't need to see LSU's Leonard Fournette or Florida State's Dalvin Cook make their season debuts Saturday. He's already declaring Stanford's Christian McCaffrey as the top rusher in the college game.

Perhaps it was this run -- McCaffrey's first touchdown of the season Friday night against Kansas State -- that prompted Bell's praise:

McCaffrey finished the game with 126 rushing yards and two scores on 22 carries in a 26-13 Stanford win.

From a production standpoint, few could argue with Bell's assessment. McCaffrey won the Paul Hornung Award last year as the nation's most versatile player, breaking the NCAA record for all-purpose yardage in a single season with 3,864. He was also one of only two FBS rushers, along with Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, to clear the 2,000-yard rushing mark in 2015.

If his nifty score Friday night against the Wildcats is any indication, he's already in midseason form.

Yet for all the signs that point to McCaffrey as one nation's elite rushers, there isn't yet much consensus on his pro potential. At just 197 pounds, one scout described him as a "committee running back in the pros and not a lead back." And at least one NFC scout believes he could be ticketed for a slot receiver role in the NFL. To that end, he's certainly proven himself as a pass catcher; he also led the Cardinal in receiving last year with 45 catches for 645 yards.

As a junior, McCaffrey could be available in the 2017 NFL Draft if he applies for early draft eligibility after the season.

Whenever he decides to turn pro, the role he'll play at the next level could be hotly debated.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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