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Thursday, February 29, 2024

This week in Fullbacks: Celebrating America's Position of the Past and Future

It would not be controversial to claim that the fullback is by far the most important position not just in football, but in all of sports. Every week, heroes put on their pads much higher than their teammates, run out onto the field to deafening applause directed solely to them and proceed to take inside handoffs for exactly 3 yards every time.

Unfortunately, fullbacks do not get the credit they deserve from the mainstream media. Shockingly, a fullback has not won the Heisman Trophy since Alan Ameche in 1954, a true disgrace on the completely virtuous sport of college football.

Every single day, a different person approaches me and asks, “Jon, what is your perfect college football game?” My reply, “There are only two positions, fullback and punter. The fullback gets 3 yards on an inside handoff on every play. Sometimes they punt on fourth down. Sometimes they don’t.”

As a part of my mission to return college football to the fullback-central game the way God intended, I have done the critical duty of grading the fullbacks for every team ranked in the AP Poll from week eight.

No. 1 Alabama

Fullback: Alabama does not have any fullbacks listed on their roster. As a result, they have been disqualified from participating in college football and will not be bowl-eligible this year. Tough news, but those are the rules.

Grade: F

No. 2 Ohio State

Fullback: Ohio State also does not have a fullback on their depth chart, so it is no surprise they lost to Purdue. The Buckeyes only managed 76 rushing yards for the entire game. Urban Meyer must be rethinking his decision not to carry any players who are sure to gain 3 yards every play on inside handoffs.

Grade: F

No. 3 Clemson

Fullback: Clemson also does not have a fullback. They struggled running the ball in their win over NC State with running back Travis Etienne only gaining 39 yards on 15 carries. His 2.6 yards per carry average is far lower than the 3.0 yards per carry average of fullbacks throughout history. Clemson would have been much better suited throwing a fullback right down the middle every play.

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Grade: F

No. 4 Notre Dame

Fullback: Ask any college football expert and they will tell you Notre Dame does not deserve to be a playoff contender. This is because they do not have a fullback.

Grade: F

No. 5 LSU

Fullback: Tory Carter

Carter did not play in LSU’s win over Mississippi State, but he boasts an impressive season statline of two carries for 4 yards and one reception for 10 yards. Despite their sparing use of their generational talent at fullback, LSU gains some points because head coach Ed Orgeron is the coaching version of a fullback.

Grade: C-

No. 6 Michigan

Fullback: Ben Mason

Michigan’s Ben Mason is a near-perfect fullback. The 6-foot-3 Mason sports a mohawk, received Michigan’s “Toughest Player” award from his teammates last season and has been lighting up the college football world with his 2.8 yards per carry average and six touchdowns. On Saturday against rival Michigan State, Mason ran four times for 15 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown. With this performance, Mason proved he’s a dark horse Heisman contender.

Grade: A

No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Georgia

Fullback: N/A

Grade: F

No. 9 Oklahoma

Fullback: Carson Meier

Meier did not have any carries in the Sooners’ win over TCU, but he did catch two passes for 17 yards, one of which was a 16-yard touchdown. Meier embodies a fullback’s second-most important job: catching passes for either 1 yard or a touchdown.

Grade: A

No. 10 UCF, No. 11 Florida, No. 12 Oregon

Fullback: N/A

Grade: F

No. 16 West Virginia

Fullback: Logan Thimons

West Virginia has committed the only offense worse than not carrying a fullback: They have a perfectly good fullback in the 6-foot, 231-pound Thimons but have not used him in any capacity so far this season.

Grade: F-

No. 14 Kentucky, No. 15 Washington, No. 16 NC State

Fullback: N/A

Grade: F

No. 17 Texas A&M

Fullback: Cullen Gillaspia

The Aggies had a bye this week, but Gillaspia did not play in their last game against South Carolina. He has only one carry on the season for 5 yards, but has three catches going for -1, 5 and 21 yards. These are the perfect amounts of yardage for a fullback to gain through the air, but the Aggies will have to start using Gillaspia more if they really want to challenge for the SEC West title.

Grade: C

No. 18 Penn State

Fullback: N/A

Grade: F

No. 19 Iowa

Fullback: Austin Kelly

Kelly was perfect on the day as the Hawkeyes shut out Maryland, running the ball twice for 7 yards (3.5 yards per carry is godlike for the most godly of positions). Both runs came on third and short, ensuring that Kelly got a first down on every carry. A true hero. He should light up Penn State, who refuses to use a fullback.

Grade: A

No. 20 Cincinnati, No. 21 USF, No. 22 Mississippi State

Fullback: N/A

Grade: F

No. 23 Wisconsin

Fullback: Alec Ingold

Analysis: If a fullback were a football team, it would be Wisconsin. The Badgers actually used two fullbacks in their blowout win over Illinois, with backup Mason Stokke carrying the ball twice for 7 yards. However, the real star of the game was Alec Ingold, who had three carries for a dozen yards and a score. Ingold also showed off his versatility by hauling in two catches for 48 yards and another touchdown. Ingold has been a standout player this season, leading the Badgers’ receiving corps in yards per catch with 27. He has also tallied five total touchdowns on the season, second only to Jonathan Taylor’s eight. Ingold’s 7.8 yards per carry on the season has helped cement him as one of the Heisman frontrunners. Going forward, Ingold is a player to watch as a potential top 10 pick in the NFL Draft next year. Good for Wisconsin for not forgetting the most important player in football.

Grade: A+

No. 24 Michigan State

Fullback: Collin Lucas

Analysis: Lucas has played in five games this season but is yet to touch the ball once. Michigan State’s roster boasts an incredible four fullbacks, but none of them have touched the ball this season, clearly why the Spartans dropped out of the rankings.

Grade: F-

25. Washington State

Fullback: N/A

Grade: F

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