Phillip Lindsay is somewhat of a champion for the little guy.

Colorado's 5-foot-8, 190-pound star running isn't very big, but he sure plays like it.

"I'm letting people know and letting kids come in and know, you ain't got to be 220 pounds, you ain't got to be 6-2 to be what you want to be," Lindsay said over the summer. "You just have to yourself and you have to be a dog. You have to be able to go out there every day and give it your all. That's what I feel like I do every day."

Nobody has ever accused Lindsay of not giving it his all, and that's part of what makes him one of the elite running backs in the Pac-12.

"For me, I feel like I'm the No. 1 running back, period," Lindsay said. "I feel like my team thinks that too, and we're going to roll with it. If you're better than me, then you show it out there and produce. You show me, I'm going to show you."

Lindsay has become one of the all-time greats in CU history and one of the best in the conference. That's an impressive feat, because the Pac-12 — long known for its stellar quarterbacks — features some of the best backs in the country.

Of course, the Pac-12 is still stocked with talented quarterbacks, including USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen and Washington's Jake Browning.

The conference is loaded at running back, as well, with two of them — Lindsay and Washington's Myles Gaskin — on display Saturday night at Folsom Field.


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"There's maybe one or two great running backs, in my opinion, on every team," Arizona State back Kalen Ballage said of the Pac-12.

Coming into this season, there were 10 Pac-12 running backs on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, given to the top running back in the country. That list, for some strange reason, didn't include Oregon's Royce Freeman, who has more career rushing yards than any active player in the country.

Stanford's Bryce Love and Freeman came into this weekend among the top five rushers in the country, while Lindsay was 15th.

USC's Ronald Jones and Stephen Carr, ASU's Ballage and Oregon State's Ryan Nall are also among the elite back in the country.

"We have a lot of good running backs," Nall said of the Pac-12. "They've done some great things the past couple of seasons and I'm glad to be a part of that crew; not only in the Pac-12, but across the nation. Any one of us could break out for a 250-yard game. You never know what you're going to see from us."

Gaskin got off to a slow start this season, averaging just 51 yards in the first three games, but he did post 6.4 yards per carry in those contests.

Barring injury, Gaskin is likely to break into the top three on Washington's career rushing list this season. Just a junior, if he returns in 2018, he's got a great shot of shattering the career record held by Napoleon Kaufman.

Lindsay, meanwhile, has developed into one of the best all-around backs in the conference.

In addition to his ability to run (he came into Saturday eighth on CU's all-time rushing list), he's among the top 20 in CU history in receptions. And, he's got a love for blocking, too.

"That's the main thing: can you block?," Lindsay said. "Can you catch when it comes down to it? Can you make people miss? Are you making an impact? Anybody can run the football."

Ballage, who grew up in the Colorado Springs area and went to Falcon High School, said Lindsay "is like my brother" and gave plenty of praise for the CU tailback.

"I think very highly of him," Ballage said. "I think he's a great leader, he's a great running back, he's a great person in general.

"The way he runs the ball ... people consider him a smaller running back, but he runs wild and he runs hard. I always appreciated that about him."

Lindsay's style has put him in elite company, and while he has the confidence that he's at the top of the heap, he has a great deal of respect for his peers in the conference.

"I'm proud that we have running backs that represent for the Pac-12," Lindsay said. "It's good to see the competition because it shows that we're doing our thing."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.