T.J. Yeldon of Alabama is a throwback tailback that lines up in the I-formation. Arizona junior Ka'Deem Carey excels in the kind of up-tempo spread offense that causes Yeldon's head coach, Nick Saban, to wax philosophically. They might be featured in offensive schemes that are diametrically opposed, but are linked as favorites to win the Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the top running back in college football, which released its watch list Thursday.
Yeldon, ranked No. 11 overall in Daniel Jeremiah's initial Talented Top 50, ran for 1,108 yards and 11 touchdowns as a true freshman, as the Crimson Tide claimed its third BCS championship in the last four years.
Carey, who led the nation in rushing last season with 1,929 yards and scored 23 touchdowns but was not among the three finalists for the award, is one of eight representatives from the Pac-12, joined by big-play threats De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon) and Brendan Bigelow (California).
Six pairs of teammates are featured, including Georgia sophomores Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, Arizona State all-purpose backs Marion Grice and D.J. Foster, Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and James White -- not to be confused with James White of Iowa State, who also made the cut -- Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin of Baylor, B.J. Catalon and Waymon James of TCU, and Michael Alisa and Jamaal Williams of BYU.
10 of the 63 running backs on the list are from the SEC, but only Yeldon and Gurley are represented in Jeremiah's top 50.