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ANALYSIS: NC State’s Greatest Running Backs of All-Time

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With the 2018 football season right around the corner, it’s time for me to help you catch up on your NC State history before the Wolfpack hits the field. In this piece I will be breaking down the best running backs in school history. Future breakdowns by position will be coming in the near future.

Wide Receivers

The below rankings are my own. In looking at all of the data supplied below (collegiate achievements only), these were my conclusions.

1) Ted Brown – 1975-78 – It’s stressful creating Top-5 lists, but it’s a relief when the #1 spot is a no-brainer. Ted Brown is the best running back in NC State history. It’s not even close. He graduated in 1978 as the all-time rusher in ACC history, and he still sits on the throne. He was the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns in conference history until 2005. Brown is the only player ever in the ACC to earn 1st Team All-Conference 4 times. He is the career leader in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and total touchdowns at NC State.

2) Dick Christy – 1955-57 – In 1957, Christy was the ACC Player of the Year (1 of 2 running backs in school history to do so), and earned 1st Team All-American (1 of 2 running backs in school history to do so)  and 1st Team All-ACC Honors. He also earned 2nd Team All-ACC in 1955. Christy scored all 29 of NC State’s points in the last game of the 1957 season against South Carolina, defeating the Gamecokcs to earn the first ACC Championship in school history. He left NC State holding 14 NC State records and 4 ACC records.

3) Willie Burden – 1971-73 – Burden won the ACC Player of the Year award in 1973 (1 of 2 running backs in school history to do so) after a monster season. He became the first running back in NC State history to rush for over 1,000 yards, leading the ACC in rushing (1,014) in 1973. Burden is one of only five players in NC State history to lead the ACC in rushing in a single season.  What makes this feat more impressive is that he did this while sharing the backfield with the “Stallions”, which consisted of fullback Stan Fritts, and running backs Roland Hooks and Charley Young. For context, Fritts and Hooks both almost rushed for 700 yards in 1973.  Burden was nearly impossible to bring down in ’73, averaging 6.8 yards per carry (2nd highest season average in NC State history). NC State won the ACC Championship in 1973, and Burden was a huge reason why. Burden was a 1st Team All-ACC selection in 1972 & 73.

4) Joe McIntosh – 1981-84 – McIntosh ranks 2nd all-time at NC State in career rushing yards (3,642). He’s the only other player besides Ted Brown to rush for over 1,000 twice (1981 – 1,190 & 1983 – 1,081). McIntosh earned 1st Team All-ACC honors twice, and was the ACC Freshman of the Year in 1981 after leading the ACC in rushing (1,190).

5) Stan Fritts 1972-74 – While not a halfback, Fritts was a fullback, and by definition, a fullback is a running back. Fritts always shared the backfield. In 1972 and 1973, he shared it with Willie Burden and Charley Young. In 1974, it was Roland Hooks. Despite that, Fritts ranks 8th all-time in career rushing yards (2,542), and 2nd all-time in career rushing touchdowns (41). Fritts had monster season in 1974, leading the ACC in rushing (1,169), and earning 2nd Team All-American honors (AP). He also earned 1st Team All-ACC honors in 1972 and 1974.

Honorable Mention

Matthew Dayes – 2013-16 – While Dayes never received the accolades he deserved, there is no denying his body of work. He ranks 4th all-time in career rushing yards (2,856). Dayes deserves to be in the conversation about the Top-5 running backs in NC State history, and one of the main reasons was his ability to get in the end zone. His 34 career rushing touchdowns and 40 total touchdowns both rank 3rd in school history. Dayes rushed for over 100 yards 13 times, which ranks 4th.

Anthony Barbour – 1988-92 – In 1992, Barbour rushed for 1,204 yards, which is the most rushing yards in a single season at NC State by anyone not named Ted Brown. Barbour is the only player in school history to average over 6 yards per carry in consecutive seasons (1991 – 6.2 & 1992 – 6.1), and his career average of 5.43 ranks 2nd in school history. He earned 1st Team All-ACC honors in 1992. In my opinion, Barbour is probably deserving of being ranked as 1 of the Top-5 running backs in NC State history. The only reason he isn’t is that he didn’t get the carries needed. He only played in 11 total games in his first two seasons. Barbour ranks 6th all-time in carer rushing yards, but only had 474 career rushing attempts. That’s 175 less than Ray Robinson who ranks 5th all-time in career rushing yards.

Tremayne Stephens – 1994-97 – In my opinion, Stephens is extremely underrated. Stephens ranks 3rd all-time in career rushing yards (3,553) and 5th in yards per carry (5.225). He led the ACC in rushing in 1997, racking up 1,142 yards (1 of only 5 players in school history to lead the ACC in rushing). Stephens earned 1st Team All-ACC honors in 1997 and 2nd Team in 1994.

NC State All-American Running Backs 

Ted Brown – Consensus 1st Team – 1978
Stan Fritts – 2nd Team (AP) – 1974
Dick Christy- 1st Team (AP & UPI)

All-ACC NC State Running Backs 

1st Team

Nyheim Hines – 2017
T.A. McLendon – 2002
Tremayne Stephens – 1997
Anthony Barbour – 1992
Joe McIntosh – 1981 & 1983
Ted Brown – 1975-78
Stan Fritts – 1972 & 1974
Willie Burden – 1972-73
Bobby Hall – 1968
Don DeArment – 1966
Shelby Mansfield – 1965
Dick Christy – 1957

2nd Team

Matthew Dayes – 2016
Tremayne Stephens – 1994
Joe Scarpati – 1962-63
Ron Podwika – 1959
Ken Trowbridge – 1958
Dick Hunter – 1957
Dick Christy – 1955

3rd Team

Gary Downs – 1993

NC State Running Backs who won ACC Player of the Year

Willie Burden – 1973
Dick Christy – 1957

NC State Running Backs who won ACC Freahman of the Year

T.A. McLendon – 2002
Ray Robinson – 1998
Joe McIntosh – 1981
Ted Brown – 1975

NC State’s All-Time Rushing Leaders

1. Ted Brown, 1975-78 – 860 carries – 4,602 yards
2. Joe McIntosh, 1981-84 – 729 carries – 3,642 yards
3. Tremayne Stephens, 1994-97 – 680 carries – 3,553 yards
4. Matthew Dayes, 2013-16 – 549 carries – 2,856 yards
5. Ray Robinson, 1998-01 – 649 carries – 2,781 yards
6. Anthony Barbour, 1989-92 – 474 carries – 2,575 yards
7. Shadrach Thornton, 2012-15 – 513 carries – 2,572 yards
8. Stan Fritts, 1972-74 – 534 carries – 2,542 yards
9. Andre Brown, 2005-08 – 523 carries – 2,539 yards
10. Willie Burden, 1971-73 – 491 carries – 2,529 yards

NC State’s All-Time Rushing Touchdown Leaders 

1) Ted Brown – 1975-78 – 49
2) Stan Fritts – 1972-74 – 41
3) Matthew Dayes – 2013-16 – 34
4) T.A. McLendon – 2002-04 – 33
5) Ray Robinson – 1998-01 – 30
6) Jaylen Samuels – 2014-17 – 28
7) Tremayne Stephens – 1994-97 – 23
7) Gary Downs – 1990-93 – 23
9) Willie Burden – 1971-73 – 22
9) Andre Brown – 2005-08 – 22

Most 100-yard Rushing Games in NC State History

1. Ted Brown, 1975-78 – 27
2. Joe McIntosh, 1981-84 – 20
3. Tremayne Stephens, 1994-97 – 19
4. Matthew Dayes, 2013-16 – 13
5. Willie Burden, 1971-73 – 12
6. Ray Robinson, 1998-01 – 10
6. T.A. McLendon, 2002-04 – 10
8. Stan Fritts – 1972-74 – 9
8. Shadrach Thornton – 2012-15 – 9

Highest Average Yards Per Carry in NC State History

1. Roland Hooks, 1972-74 – 251 carries – 1,368 yards – 5.45 average
2. Anthony Barbour, 1989-92 – 474 carries – 2,575 yards – 5.432 average
3. Nyheim Hines, 2014-17 – 258 carries – 1,400 yards – 5.426 average
4. Ted Brown, 1975-78 – 860 carries – 4,602 yards – 5.35 average
5. Charley Young, 1971-73 – 317 carries – 1,657 yards – 5.23 average
6. Tremayne Stephens, 1994-97 – 680 carries, 3,553 yards – 5.223 average
7. Dick Christy, 1955-57 – 348 carries – 1,817 yards – 5.221  average
8. Matthew Dayes, 2013-16 – 549 carries – 2,856 yards – 5.202 – average
9. Willie Burden, 1971-73 – 2,529 yards – 5.15 – average
10. Shadrach Thornton, 2012-15 – 513 carries – 2,572 yards – 5.01 average

Players at NC State who have led the ACC in Rushing

NC State Running Backs who have had their Jersey Retired/Honored

Dick Christy – #40
Ted Brown – #23
(both #’s have been retired)

NC State Running Backs who were 1st Round NFL Picks

Ted Brown – 1979 – #16

NC State Running Backs who went to the NFL Pro Bowl

Alex Webster – 1958, 1961

Former NC State Players with Most Rushing Yards & Rushing Touchdowns in NFL

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