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Dave Matter | St. Louis Dispatch | July 12, 2017

Overlooked Vandy RB Ralph Webb on pace to finish among SEC's best

  Ralph Webb can pass Bo Jackson, Emmitt Smith and Leonard Fournette on the all-time SEC rushing list.

HOOVER, Ala. — Ralph Webb made what's become his annual trip to The Wynfrey Hotel to represent Vanderbilt at Southeastern Conference Media Days on Tuesday, but unlike many of those gathered for the preseason event, Webb runs under most radars.

After three seasons as Vandy's featured back, the senior and three-time Media Days participant stands 20th in SEC career rushing yards with 3,342. A 1,000-yard season will bring Webb's career total to fourth in the SEC, behind only Georgia's Herschel Walker, Arkansas' Darren McFadden and Louisiana State's Kevin Faulk and push him past the likes of Auburn's Bo Jackson, Florida's Emmitt Smith and Louisiana State's Leonard Fournette.

"He's the back that nobody talks about, but all he does is perform," Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. "You put him on a stage, and he's going to be big."

RELATED: Follow SEC Media Days | Florida, Georgia vying for SEC title

Webb has 13 100-yard rushing yard games, including seven last year. He's proven to be the ultimate workhorse for the Commodores, averaging 246 carries a season the last three years.

"The first year, could he run between the tackles? He did that," Mason said. "Second year, could he catch the football out of the backfield? Did that. Third year, could he pass (protect)? Did that. Any time you can make yourself a three-dimensional back in this conference, I think that says something. ... He came back this year to give himself a chance to do something. He's back and he's chasing SEC history."

Still, Webb rarely is mentioned among the SEC's elite backs despite the impressive body of work. Webb can't explain why.

"I think I'm the best running back in the nation," he said.

Why don't others agree, a reporter asked.

"Your guess," Webb said, "is as good as mine."

This article is written by Dave Matter from St. Louis Post-Dispatch and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

 

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