Robert B. Stanton

Prior to today’s pass-happy NFL, the sport spent the majority of its storied history dominated by marquee running backs. Because of the long-standing philosophy of establishing the run to set up the passing game, the league has a strong track record of all-time great running backs.

Similar to legendary quarterbacks, plenty of running backs are strongly associated with their home states. Marcus Allen grew up in San Diego, starred in college at USC and won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Raiders. And before he won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys, Tony Dorsett attended high school in Aliquippa, Penn., and won the Heisman Trophy while playing for Pittsburgh.

Other legendary tailbacks’ home states are not as well-known, so PointAfter has decided to find each state’s most statistically successful running back. We made each state’s selection based on their career rushing yards (min. 2,000 career rushing yards), and made a few substitutions where the stats didn’t tell the full story.

Absent from this list are 10 states that have not produced a 2,000-yard rusher: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. We’ll rank the other 40 states — plus Washington, D.C. — in reverse order, based on the total career rushing yards of each state’s best statistical running back in NFL history.

Note: All statistics mentioned are accurate through Week 7 of the 2015 NFL season.

#41. Wyoming: Jerry Hill

Career rushing yards: 2,668
Career rushing TDs: 22
College: Wyoming

Hill played for the Johnny Unitas-led Baltimore Colts for nine seasons and led the team in rushing yards in 1965. He was a member of the 1970 team that beat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. Though he played in the league for nearly a decade, his most lasting legacy may have been off the field. Hill was the namesake for the malt liquor brand Colt 45, as he wore the jersey number 45 throughout his career.

#40. South Dakota: Clarence “Pug” Manders

Career rushing yards: 2,727
Career rushing TDs: 35
College: Drake

Manders played in the NFL for nine seasons for three different teams. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and led the league with 486 rushing yards in 1941. He is the younger brother of Jack Manders, who played eight seasons for the Chicago Bears from 1933 to 1940.

#39. Colorado: Dutch Clark

Career rushing yards: 2,772
Career rushing TDs: 36
College: Colorado College

Clark began his professional career in 1931 with the Portsmouth Spartans. He led the league in scoring in 1932 before leaving to coach the Colorado School of Mines football team for two seasons. Due to the Great Depression, the Spartans moved from Portsmouth to Detroit in 1934 and were renamed the Lions.

Clark returned to play for the Lions that season and helped lead the team to a win in the 1935 NFL Championship Game. He finished his career as a six-time first-team All-Pro selection and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

#38. Utah: Felix Jones

Career rushing yards: 2,914
Career rushing TDs: 11
College: Arkansas

The leading rusher from the state of Utah is actually not a running back — quarterback Steve Young ran for 4,239 yards during his Hall of Fame career. Jones, however, gets the nod as the state’s top running back.

At the University of Arkansas, Jones teamed with Darren McFadden to form one of the most dynamic duos in college football. He was taken by the Cowboys in the first round of the 2008 draft and served mostly as a backup running back, though he did lead the team in rushing in 2010. His biggest asset as a pro was his versatility, as he totaled 6,085 all-purpose yards for his career.

#37. Arizona: Paul Robinson

Career rushing yards: 2,947
Career rushing TDs: 24
College: Arizona

Robinson played just one season of college football at Arizona before being selected in the third round of the 1968 draft. He rushed for 1,023 yards in his rookie season and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection.

#36. Oklahoma: Curtis McClinton

Career rushing yards: 3,124
Career rushing TDs: 18
College: Kansas

The leading rusher from Oklahoma is actually Don Calhoun, who ran for 3,455 yards and 22 touchdowns during his career. Cullen Bryant also ran for more yards (3,264), but neither ever made a Pro Bowl, so McClinton gets the nod. McClinton was a three-time AFL All-Star and a member of the 1969 Kansas City Chiefs team that won Super Bowl IV.

#35. Idaho: Merril Hoge

Career rushing yards: 3,139
Career rushing TDs: 21
College: Idaho State

Hoge played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1987 to 1993, leading the team in rushing yards in three different seasons. Since his retirement, he has worked as an on-air analyst for ESPN.

#34. Minnesota: Lester Josephson

Career rushing yards: 3,407
Career rushing TDs: 17
College: Augustana College

Josephson went undrafted in 1964 and signed with the Cowboys. He was traded to the Los Angeles Rams during the preseason and spent all of his 11 NFL seasons with the team. He made the Pro Bowl in 1967, and after his retirement he worked as an actor and football film consultant.

#33. Wisconsin: Alan Ameche

Career rushing yards: 4,045
Career rushing TDs: 40
College: Wisconsin

Ameche won the Heisman Trophy in 1954 before joining the Baltimore Colts. He played all six of his NFL seasons with the Colts, earning four Pro Bowl selections. His signature moment came in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, dubbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” when he scored the game-winning touchdown in sudden death overtime to beat the Giants. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.

#32. Indiana: Timmy Brown

Career rushing yards: 3,862
Career rushing TDs: 31
College: Ball State

The leading rusher born in Indiana is actually Lamar Smith, who never made a Pro Bowl and averaged fewer yards per carry than Brown. Brown made three All-Pro teams with the Philadelphia Eagles and was an Eagles Honor Roll inductee in 1990. Following his NFL career, he found success as an actor, appearing in films such as “MASH,” “Black Gunn” and “Nashville.”

#31. New York: Dorsey Levens

Career rushing yards: 4,955
Career rushing TDs: 36
College: Notre Dame, Georgia Tech

Choosing the best New York-born running back was a difficult task — Levens has similar stats to Ray Rice and John Brockington, though both have more rushing yards. Levens gets the nod as the only one of the three to make an All-Pro team and win a Super Bowl, as he was a member of the Packers’ 1996 team that won Super Bowl XXXI. He rushed for 1,435 yards and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 1997, and he is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame.

#30. Missouri: Billy Sims

Career rushing yards: 5,106
Career rushing TDs: 42
College: Oklahoma

With 6,008 career rushing yards, James Wilder is the leading rusher born in Missouri. But he made just one Pro Bowl in 10 NFL seasons and did not have nearly the impact that Sims did in his far-too-short pro career.

Sims won the Heisman Trophy in 1978 while playing for Oklahoma and was the first overall pick in the 1980 draft. He made the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons and made two All-Pro teams. His career came to an abrupt end during his fifth season, when he suffered a debilitating knee injury on Oct. 21, 1984.

#29. North Carolina: Willie Parker

Career rushing yards: 5,379
Career rushing TDs: 24
College: North Carolina

Though Joseph Morris has the slight edge in career rushing yards (5,585), his résumé doesn’t quite stack up to Parker’s. Dubbed “Fast Willie” due to his track-star speed, Parker went from being an undrafted free agent to a key member of two Super Bowl-winning teams. He led the Steelers in rushing yards for four consecutive seasons and made two Pro Bowls. His 75-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XL is the longest run in Super Bowl history.

#28. Tennessee: James Stewart

Career rushing yards: 5,841
Career rushing TDs: 48
College: Tennessee

Stewart was a first-round pick in 1995 and a member of the inaugural season of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent three seasons with the team and finished tied for second in the league with 13 rushing touchdowns in 1999.

#27. Maryland: Calvin Hill

Career rushing yards: 6,083
Career rushing TDs: 42
College: Yale

Taken by the Cowboys with the 24th overall pick in the 1969 NFL draft, Hill was the first player from an Ivy League school to be drafted in the first round. He was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1969 and was a member of the Cowboys team that won Super Bowl VI. Though Chris Warren has more career rushing yards (7,654), Hill’s Super Bowl ring and edge in Pro Bowl appearances (four vs. Warren’s three) earn him the nod as Maryland’s best running back.

#26. Iowa: Don Perkins

Career rushing yards: 6,217
Career rushing TDs: 42
College: New Mexico

Perkins spent his entire nine-year career with the Cowboys and was a member of the franchise’s inaugural season in 1960. He sat out the entire 1960 season with an injury, then won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1961. He made six Pro Bowls during his career.

#25. Connecticut: Floyd Little

Career rushing yards: 6,323
Career rushing TDs: 43
College: Syracuse

Little spent nine seasons as a pro, all with the Denver Broncos. He amassed 12,157 all-purpose yards and 54 total touchdowns and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

#24. Washington, D.C.: Brian Westbrook

Career rushing yards: 6,335
Career rushing TDs: 41
College: Villanova

During his nine-year NFL career, Westbrook was one of the most dangerous all-purpose backs in the league. He caught 442 passes for 3,940 yards and 30 touchdowns during his career and was a two-time First-Team All-Pro selection. He was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame in 2015.

#23. New Mexico: Arian Foster

Career rushing yards: 6,472
Career rushing TDs: 54
College: Tennessee

The only active player on this list, Foster has established himself as one of the best running backs in the league. He was born in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1986 and moved to San Diego in 1999. He led the league with 1,616 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in 2010 and has made four Pro Bowls. He will miss the remainder of the 2015 season with a torn Achilles.

#22. Massachusetts: Mark van Eeghen

Career rushing yards: 6,651
Career rushing TDs: 37
College: Colgate

Van Eeghen spent his first eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders and was a member of two Super Bowl-winning teams. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in three straight seasons from 1976 to 1978 and finished his 10-year career with two seasons playing for the Patriots.

#21. West Virginia: Curtis Warner

Career rushing yards: 6,844
Career rushing TDs: 56
College: West Virginia

Warner was taken with the third overall pick in the 1983 draft by the Seahawks and made an immediate impact, rushing for 1,449 yards and 13 touchdowns. He made three Pro Bowls during his career and had three All-Pro selections.

#20. Alabama: Antowain Smith

Career rushing yards: 6,881
Career rushing TDs: 54
College: Houston

Smith was taken by the Bills in the first round of the 1997 draft. He had two 1,000-yard seasons — one with the Bills and one with the Patriots. Though he never made a Pro Bowl, he was the leading rusher on two Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams.

#19. Illinois: Michael Turner

Career rushing yards: 7,338
Career rushing TDs: 66
College: Northern Illinois

Taken by the Chargers in the fifth round of the 2004 draft, Turner was stuck behind LaDainian Tomlinson on the depth chart and seemed destined for a career as a backup running back. But he played so well in the few chances he had — he averaged over 5.5 yards per carry in four seasons in San Diego — that he was able to get a six-year, $34.5 million contract with the Falcons despite starting just one game for the Chargers.

In five seasons with Atlanta, Turner was a workhorse, twice leading the league in carries and averaging 1,216 rushing yards per season. He retired as the Falcons’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns and made two Pro Bowls.

#18. South Carolina: Stephen Davis

Career rushing yards: 8,052
Career rushing TDs: 65
College: Auburn

During his 11-year NFL career, Davis posted four seasons with 1,300 rushing yards or more, including a career-high 1,444 yards in 2003 for the Panthers. He made his third Pro Bowl that season and helped lead Carolina to the Super Bowl, which the team lost to the Patriots.

#17. Ohio: Larry Csonka

Career rushing yards: 8,081
Career rushing TDs: 64
College: Syracuse

Taken with the No. 8 pick in the 1968 draft, Csonka made his mark in the NFL with the Dolphins. He made five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1970 to 1974, winning two Super Bowls in that span. He was the leading rusher on the famed 1972 team that went a perfect 17-0 (including the postseason) and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

#16. Nebraska: Ahman Green

Career rushing yards: 9,205
Career rushing TDs: 60
College: Nebraska

Green was taken in the third round of the 1998 draft by the Seahawks and never got an opportunity to shine. After a trade to the Packers, he immediately flourished, rushing for 1,175 yards with 10 touchdowns in 2000. He made four consecutive Pro Bowls from 2001 to 2004 and is the Packers’ all-time leader in rushing yards.

#15. Kentucky: Shaun Alexander

Career rushing yards: 9,453
Career rushing TDs: 100
College: Alabama

Alexander earns the title of Kentucky’s best running back ahead of a true football legend — Paul Hornung. During his career, Hornung won the 1956 Heisman Trophy, the 1961 NFL MVP award and four NFL championships. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

But Hornung played multiple positions during his career, and even has an award named after him that’s given to college football’s most versatile player. That, plus Alexander’s nearly 6,000-yard advantage in career rushing yards, gives the former Seahawk the nod. From 2001 to 2005, Alexander established himself as one of the league’s best running backs, averaging 1,500 yards per season and playing in every game. His 27 rushing touchdowns in 2005 tied the record for most in a single season, only to be broken the following year by LaDainian Tomlinson. He made three Pro Bowls during his career and helped lead the Seahawks to an appearance in Super Bowl XL.

#14. Arkansas: Joe Perry

Career rushing yards: 9,723
Career rushing TDs: 71
College: El Camino College (Compton, CA)

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Perry signed with the 49ers out of what was then known as Compton Junior College. He was the first player ever to post consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and retired as the career rushing leader. He made three Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969. He earns the nod as Arkansas’ best running back over Priest Holmes, who finished his career with 8,172 yards and 86 touchdowns.

#13. Virginia: Tiki Barber

Career rushing yards: 10,449
Career rushing TDs: 55
College: Virginia

Fellow Virginia native Thomas Jones (10,591 yards) holds a slight edge on Barber for career rushing yards, but Barber’s résumé is the more impressive one. He had six seasons with 1,000 rushing yards and made three Pro Bowls. A versatile threat in the passing game, he finished his career with 586 receptions for 5,183 yards and 12 touchdowns.

#12. Washington: Corey Dillon

Career rushing yards: 11,241
Career rushing TDs: 82
College: Washington

Though many might not realize it, Dillon is 19th all-time in career rushing yards, ahead of Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson, Joe Perry, and Earl Campbell. Dillon made four Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl as a member of the Patriots in 2004.

#11. Nevada: Steven Jackson

Career rushing yards: 11,385
Career rushing TDs: 68
College: Oregon State

Though he’s not yet officially retired, Jackson is currently a 32-year-old free agent whose playing days are probably behind him. He spent the majority of his career in St. Louis and is the Rams’ all-time leading rusher. He had 3,663 career receiving yards and made three Pro Bowls.

#10. New Jersey: Franco Harris

Career rushing yards: 12,120
Career rushing TDs: 91
College: Penn State

Harris was a member of the Steelers dynasty during the 1970s, winning four Super Bowls. He was named the MVP of Super Bowl IX. He made one of the most iconic plays in NFL history — “The Immaculate Reception” — during an AFC Divisional playoff game in 1972. He made nine Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

Other noteworthy New Jersey running backs include a pair of Heisman Trophy winners — Mike Rozier and Ron Dayne.

#9. California: Marcus Allen

Career rushing yards: 12,243
Career rushing TDs: 123
College: USC

California is home to plenty of all-time great running backs — O.J. Simpson, Ricky Williams, and Terrell Davis all have outstanding résumés. But none of them can hold a candle to Marcus Allen.

Prior to achieving NFL superstardom, Allen set the NCAA record with 2,427 rushing yards in 1981. He won the Heisman Trophy that year and was picked with the No. 10 overall pick by the Raiders in 1982. Allen led the Raiders to a win in Super Bowl XVIII, during which he was named the game’s MVP. He made six Pro Bowls and was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

#8. Louisiana: Marshall Faulk

Career rushing yards: 12,279
Career rushing TDs: 100
College: San Diego State

As the star of the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf,” Faulk put up some of the most gaudy offensive stats in league history. After spending five seasons with the Colts, Faulk was traded to St. Louis before the 1999 season. That year, he had 1,381 rushing yards and 1,048 receiving yards, becoming the second player ever to reach 1,000 yards in both categories in a single season. Faulk ranks sixth all-time with 19,190 all-purpose yards, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

#7. Georgia: Jim Brown

Career rushing yards: 12,312
Career rushing TDs: 106
College: Syracuse

On the shortlist of greatest running backs in NFL history, Brown is one of four players to win at least three MVP awards. He led the Browns to a win over the Colts in the 1964 NFL Championship Game and was an eight-time First-Team All-Pro selection. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995. He is also a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame after a decorated college career.

#6. Pennsylvania: Tony Dorsett

Career rushing yards: 12,739
Career rushing TDs: 77
College: Pittsburgh

Though the leading rusher from Pennsylvania is Curtis Martin (14,101 yards), Dorsett earns the top spot in the toughest decision of any state on this list.

Both players were three-time All-Pro selections, and both were named Offensive Rookies of the Year. Martin made five Pro Bowls compared to Dorsett’s four, but Dorsett gains the edge on Martin thanks to his leading the Cowboys in rushing during their win in Super Bowl XII. Dorsett also won the Heisman Trophy in 1976. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

#5. Michigan: Jerome Bettis

Career rushing yards: 13,662
Career rushing TDs: 91
College: Notre Dame

Known as “The Bus,” Bettis is best known for his 10 years with the Steelers. He helped lead the team to a win in Super Bowl XL and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Bettis posted eight 1,000-yard rushing seasons and retired tied with fellow Steelers legend Franco Harris for 10th all-time in rushing touchdowns.

#4. Texas: LaDainian Tomlinson

Career rushing yards: 13,684
Career rushing TDs: 145
College: TCU

No state has a more impressive list of homegrown running backs than Texas — Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson, Thurman Thomas, and Earl Campbell all were passed up in favor of Tomlinson, who is sure to join the trio in Canton when he becomes eligible in 2017.

Tomlinson was a versatile terror for opposing defenses throughout his 11-year career. In addition to his 13,684 rushing yards — good for fifth-most all-time — he had 624 catches for 4,772 yards. He scored 162 total touchdowns in his career, third-most all-time. Tomlinson rushed for 28 touchdowns in 2006, setting the single-season record, and won the MVP award that same season. Though he never played in a Super Bowl, he deserves to be mentioned among the league’s all-time great running backs.

#3. Kansas: Barry Sanders

Career rushing yards: 15,269
Career rushing TDs: 99
College: Oklahoma State

Had he not abruptly retired in 1999 at age 30, Sanders might be even higher on this list. He averaged over 1,500 rushing yards per season during his decade-long career and was an All-Pro selection in each season. He led the league in rushing yards four times and won the MVP award in 1997. He also won the Heisman Trophy in 1988 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

#2. Mississippi: Walter Payton

Career rushing yards: 16,726
Career rushing TDs: 110
College: Jackson State

Nicknamed “Sweetness,” Payton spent his entire 13-year career with the Chicago Bears. He led the team to a win in Super Bowl XX and was named the league’s MVP that same year. He earned nine All-Pro selections and retired as the league’s all-time rushing leader. Payton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

#1. Florida: Emmitt Smith

Career rushing yards: 18,355
Career rushing TDs: 164
College: Florida

Smith starred for the Cowboys during their dynasty in the 1990s in which they won three Super Bowls. He was named the league’s MVP in 1993 and was the MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII. Smith is the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.