Allow me to take a moment to introduce the nation to the man-beast that is Kenny Hilliard. The LSU sophomore running back and nephew of the Tigers’ second all-time rusher Dalton Hilliard, may have just solidified himself as the premier back for LSU after his third straight contest with two touchdowns.
The 6’0″, 240 pound running back from Patterson, Louisiana is no longer the big-bodied back that was more commonly looked at as a full back that got the occasional goal-line touch. No folks, this guy is the real deal after reeling off touchdown runs of over 60 and 70 yards so far this season and averaging a commanding 8.2 yards per carry for a whopping 303 yards through three games. Against Idaho on Satuday, Hilliard accounted for 116 yards and two scores.
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Hilliard came into the season as the third or fourth option at back, behind incumbent starter Spencer Ware and the change of pace duo of Michael Ford and Alfred Blue. Instead, Hilliard is second on the team with 37 carries, just three shy of Blue, though leads the team in both rushing and touchdowns. His 303 rushing yards is good for 26th in the nation, while his six scores is tied for first and his 8.2 yards per carry is 18th.
We could very well be hearing whispers of Heisman talk for Hilliard if he wasn’t sharing backfield touches with the other three backs. Hilliard has not carried the ball more than 13 times in any of the first three contests.
Most pundits have praised Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell and UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin as the two best running backs in college football so far, but if you look closely, Hilliard has had a much more impressive start to the season. He has scored just one less touchdown than the two combined and has nearly doubled Bell’s yards per rush while being dead even with Franklin in the category.
This week, LSU takes on an Auburn team that has allowed at least 165 rushing in each of their three games, including an atrocious 320 yards allowed on the ground against Clemson. My guess is that the foreseeable future looks pretty bright for Hilliard playing a depleted Auburn team followed by the college football heavyweights of Towson University.
Trust me, it won’t take many more games like the first three from Hilliard before we start hearing some buzz from Heisman voters. My guess is most people will want to see how the sophomore performs on November 3 against Alabama, before they crown him the king. As of now, he is surely on the right path as he leads the No. 2 LSU Fighting Tigers on what many have been calling this “Redemption Year.”
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