Over the past 35 years the Utes have had a long line of solid running backs. There have been power backs and guys who could be used for a change of pace. There have been players who needed to shoulder the load as well as great backs who have had to split time because the stable was so deep and talented.
This is a top-15 list of the best running backs at the University of Utah over the past three and a half decades. The rankings are based on what each running back did during his time on the hill and nowhere else.
Note: For these players, junior college and NFL stats have not been taken into account. Players' stats do include bowl games.
Years at Utah: 2005-08
Mack spent four seasons on the hill but only one full season as the main ball carrier. As a junior, Mack carried the ball 253 times for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns. That same season, he caught 21 passes for 144 yards and three more scores.
The best game of Mack’s career was Oct. 5, 2007, when he carried the ball 32 times for 163 yards and three scores, in Utah’s 44-35 victory on the road over University of Louisville.
For his career, he rushed for 2,065 yards and 16 touchdowns while catching 40 passes for 250 and three more scores.
Years at Utah: 2007-10
Wide spent four seasons with the Utes but barely touched the ball until an injury propelled him into the starting lineup midway through his junior year. Wide made the most of his carries to put up a huge season, carrying the ball 203 times for 1,069 yards and 12 touchdowns.
For his career as a Ute, Wide carried the ball 401 times for 2,013 yards and 23 touchdowns. Wide also caught 51 passes for 425 yards and three scores.
Years at Utah: 1991-93
Williams put up stats for three years at the U. with his best season in 1991. That year, Williams rushed 1,076 yards and six scores on 207 carries. He also caught 24 passes for 252 yards and another touchdown.
For his Utah career, Williams rushed for 2,003 yards and 16 touchdowns while catching 72 balls for 726 yards and another score.
Not bad for a guy after blowing out his knee and overcoming academic challenges.
Years at Utah: 2002-03
Warfield spent two seasons with the Utes and was the main ball carrier each season. In each season, he carried the ball more than 200 times for more than 900 yards and at least nine scores.
He finished his Utah career rushing for 1,895 yards and 20 touchdowns on 438 carries, and Urban Meyer loved the guy.
Years at Utah: 1994-97
Johnson played four seasons at the University of Utah during the early 1990s and contributed every year. While never breaking the 1,000 mark in any season, he put up some very impressive numbers. His best statistical season was his senior year, when he carried the ball 181 times for 838 yards and seven scores.
Johnson became the primary back for the Utes following an injury to Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala in 1996, and he never looked back. During his four years on the hill, Johnson carried the ball 606 times for 2,695 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Years at Utah: 1977-80
Lindsay was Utah's leading rusher three times. His best season came as a senior, when he rushed 909 yards and had eight touchdowns on 190 carries while making 25 receptions for 215 yards and another score.
For his Utah career, Lindsay rushed the ball 648 times for 2,995 yards and 17 touchdowns and caught 42 passes for 347 and three scores.
Years at Utah: 2004-05
Ganther spent two seasons with the Utes, but only one as a starter. That season, he carried the ball 205 times for 1,120 yards and seven touchdowns while catching 25 passes for 314 yards and another score.
The most impressive game of his Ute career came Oct. 22, 2005, against UNLV, when Ganther had 15 carries for 155 yards and three touchdowns to go along with two catches for 66 yards.
During his two years as a Utah player, Ganther ran for 1,774 yards and nine touchdowns on only 314 carries while adding 32 receptions for 363 yards and two more trips to the house.
He left for the NFL without a degree, but later returned and finished the job.
Years at Utah: 1982-85
Lewis played four seasons at Utah and was the leading ground gainer in both his sophomore and senior years. His best statistical season came as a senior, when he rushed for 1,018 yards and eight touchdowns on just 195 carries while recording 22 receptions for 198 yards and four more touchdowns.
For his career as a Ute, Lewis totaled 2,179 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground while averaging 5.7 yards a carry.
Years at Utah: 1992-93
Before Anderson was doing his "Dirty Bird" dance for the Atlanta Falcons, he was terrorizing defenses in the WAC.
He spent two seasons playing for the Utes but only one as the starter. During that season as the Utes' main ball carrier, Anderson had 184 carries for 1,030 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with 24 receptions for 244 yards and three more scores.
During his two seasons at Utah, Anderson rushed for 1,347 yards and 15 touchdowns on only 239 carries. He also had 42 receptions for 403 yards and four more scores.
Fun fact: Jamal Anderson grew up around celebrity. Before enrolling at Utah, Anderson had met and spent time with with Mike Tyson, Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Magic Johnson, Arsenio Hall, Jim Brown, Byron Scott and Michael Jackson.
Years at Utah: 1978-81
Rodgers was part of the Super Bowl XXIII champion San Francisco 49ers, but when he started his Utes career, he was anything but a feature back. He split carries with Tony Lindsay, among others, for his first three years. When he finally got the lion's share of the carries his senior year, Rodgers really shined.
He rushed for 1,127 yards and 13 touchdowns on only 170 carries. His 6.6 average yards per carry led the WAC and was third highest in the nation. He also led the WAC in rushing yards and finished second in rushing touchdowns.
During his full career at Utah, Rodgers rushed for 2,616 yards and 31 touchdowns while adding 34 receptions for 338 yards and another score.
Years at Utah: 2000-01
A product of the 'hood, Hunter spent two seasons playing for the Utes but only one as a starter. As a senior, he rushed for 1,490 yards and nine touchdowns. During that same season, Hunter had the best game of his career. On Dec. 1, 2001, he rushed for 226 yards and two scores on 28 carries against Air Force.
For his career as a Ute, Hunter amassed 1,829 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Years at Utah: 1995-97
Fuamatu-Ma’afala basically split carries his whole Utes career. Even so, he finished two seasons as the Utes' leading rusher. Fuamatu-Ma’afala’s best season came in his second year on the hill, when he rushed for 987 yards and nine touchdowns on 172 carries. What makes that more impressive is that he missed games that season because of a knee injury.
Injuries prompted Fuamatu-Ma’afala to take his chances in the NFL after his junior season. Who can say how good he would have been for the Utes as a senior.
For his career at Utah, Fuamatu-Ma’afala rushed 2,635 yards and 22 touchdowns on 467 carries. He also caught 15 passes for 125 yards and another score.
Years at Utah: 1998-99
Anderson spent both of his two seasons as the Utah starting running back and led the team in rushing yards both seasons. He finished second in the conference in each of his seasons in rushing yards, scoring at least 10 touchdowns.
One of his best games came in 1999 against UNLV. Anderson tied a single-game record, scoring four touchdowns on 19 carries. Anderson said public disrespect from UNLV coaches motivated him that day.
For his career as a Ute, Anderson rushed for 2,404 yards and 24 touchdowns while taking two passes into the end zone as well.
Years at Utah: 1981-82
Monroe spent two seasons as a Ute but only one as a starter. As a senior starter, Monroe set the all-time Utah single-season rushing record with 1,507 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Monroe’s yardage total placed him first in the WAC and seventh nationally in 1982.
For his career at Utah, Monroe rushed for 2,029 yards and nine touchdowns while catching 30 passes for 249 yards and another score.
Years at Utah: 2011-12
White spent two seasons at the University of Utah and rushed for more than 1,000 yards each season. His best season came his junior year, when he broke the Utah single-season rushing record by amassing 1,519 yards to go along with 15 touchdowns. White also caught 13 passes for 44 yards and two more scores. Those totals placed him second in the PAC-12 in rushing and third in rushing touchdowns.
For his career at the U., White rushed for 2,560 yards and 23 touchdowns as well as 28 receptions for 167 yards and three more scores.
Not bad for a 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back.
Years at Utah: 1984-88
Johnson spent his entire college career at Utah and was effective every season. He had more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage in three different seasons, including two seasons of more than 1,000 yards rushing.
As a freshman, Johnson finished second in the WAC in rushing and was sixth nationally with a yards-per-carry average of 6.5. He almost duplicated the feat as a junior, when he once again finished second in the WAC in rushing while finishing seventh in the nation in yards per carry.
For his career with the Utes, Johnson ran the ball 564 times for 3,219 yards — the first Ute to break the 3,000-yard barrier — and 26 touchdowns with a yards-per-carry average of 5.7.
What separates Johnson from all other Utah backs was the fact that as well as being a great rusher, he was also a major threat catching passes. During his time on the hill, Johnson caught 95 passes for 839 yards and nine scores.
This article by Brad Rock about Eddie Johnson's career is definitely worth a read.