Where Tank Bigsby ranks among Auburn running back legends
A great Auburn career has come to a close, as running back Tank Bigsby is preparing for the next stop in his football journey by declaring for the NFL Draft.
Bigsby committed to Auburn as a member of the 2020 recruiting class on Aug. 9, 2019. He was the No. 40 overall prospect of the 2020 cycle and was the No. 4 overall running back out of Callaway High School in Hogansville. He was the top recruit in Auburn’s haul, which was No. 8 overall. He joined the likes of Wesley Steiner, Kobe Hudson, and Cam Riley in signing with Auburn during the 2020 recruiting cycle.
He would go on to become the signature back from 2020-22, accumulating 2,903 yards and 25 touchdowns during his three-year career. His best season was in 2021, when he rushed for 1,099 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Auburn is known for producing great running backs, so where do Bigsby’s career numbers rank among those who built upon the legacy of RBU? Let’s take a look.
These rankings are composite and are based on rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and how high they were picked in the NFL Draft.
Scott Halleran /Allsport
Rushing Yards: 2,811
Rushing TDs: 30
NFL Draft: 4th Round, No. 102 overall
Davis was an All-SEC selection twice during his time at Auburn, but is known more for his stellar NFL career. Davis played 11 NFL seasons between Washington, Carolina, and St. Louis. During that span, Davis rushed for 8,052 yards and 65 touchdowns while making the Pro Bowl three times.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Rushing Yards: 3,321
Rushing TDs: 24
NFL Draft: 2nd Round, 58th overall
Ben Tate’s strongest seasons came in 2007 and 2009. He rushed for 903 yards during his sophomore campaign, his first as a premier back. He finally eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark during his senior season in 2009. He would go on to play five seasons in the NFL, with a majority of those as a member of the Houston Texans.
Manny Rubio-USA TODAY NETWORK
Rushing Yards: 2,789
Rushing TDs: 24
NFL Draft: 1st Round, 4th overall
Fullwood split time with a few Auburn greats such as Bo Jackson and [autotag]Tommy Agee[/autotag] during his college career, but that did not stop him from receiving many accolades. Fullwood was named an All-American, and received Heisman votes during his time at Auburn, which led to him becoming a 4th overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft.
Austin Perryman/AU Athletics
Rushing Yards: 2,903
Rushing TDs: 25
NFL Draft: Is expected to be taken 93rd overall in the latest mock draft from Draft Wire.
Bigsby played during a difficult time in Auburn Football’s history. His freshman season ended with his coach, Gus Malzahn, being relieved of his duties. He then managed to rush for 1,099 yards during his sophomore season before seeing his carries drop drastically during his final year on the Plains, which saw a dip in yardage production. Bigsby’s numbers could have easily been padded with more consistency during his college career.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Rushing Yards: 2,979
Rushing TDs: 32
NFL Draft: 3rd round, 75th overall
Mason accumulated two 1,000-yard seasons during his time at Auburn, with his most beneficial season coming in 2013. He rushed for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns, which was instrumental in Auburn’s run to the BCS National Championship Game.
Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
Rushing Yards: 2,707
Rushing TDs: 29
NFL Draft: 1st round, 2nd overall
Much like Brent Fullwood was to Bo Jackson, Ronnie Brown was a perfect compliment to Carnell Williams during the turn of the 21st century. He ended his four-year Auburn career with 2,707 yards and 29 touchdowns, which is incredible considering that he split time with Williams. He ended up being a higher NFL Draft pick than Williams, however, as he was taken No. 2 overall with Williams going three picks later in 2005.
Rushing Yards: 3,368
Rushing TDs: 34
NFL Draft: 2nd round, 29th overall
Cribbs became a machine during his final two seasons, as he rushed for 30 of his 34 career college touchdowns during that span while splitting carries with James Brooks. He ranks top-five in school history in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
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Rushing Yards: 3,583
Rushing TDs: 34
NFL Draft: 1st round, 24th overall
James Brooks and Joe Cribbs combined to form the first great 1-2 punch in the backfield in Auburn history, paving the way for others such as Bo Jackson-Brent Fullwood and Cadillac Williams-Ronnie Brown. Both players rushed for over 1,000 yards in 1979, and Brooks capped his college career in 1980 by rushing for 1,314 yards and nine touchdowns.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Rushing Yards: 3,831
Rushing TDs: 45
NFL Draft: 1st round, 5th overall
Cadillac Williams is one Heisman Trophy away from making a great case to be Auburn’s best running back of all time. He is first in rushing touchdowns, and second in rushing yards. He split time with Ronnie Brown during the early 2000s, which led the Tigers to winning the 2004 SEC Championship.
Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports
Rushing Yards: 4,303
Rushing TDs: 43
NFL Draft: 1st round, 1st overall
Not only does Auburn have arguably the best running back of all-time, but they also have the best athlete of all-time. Jackson was a three-sport athlete at Auburn, playing baseball and running track in addition to his football days. He still holds the program record for rushing yards, and is the highest drafted running back in school history, going first overall in 1986.