It's a strange season for running back in the Big Ten. Gone are household names like Montee Ball, Le'Veon Bell, and Rex Burkhead. However, that doesn't mean there isn't talent at the position group. All you need to do is look at the names that dot the Top 25 list so far.
Well, we add one more name to that list today and he'll be the guy for the first time going into a season in Nebraska. The question for us is No. 8 the last running back to make the list or not? Could there be a better RB in the Big Ten than him?
Only time will tell, but for now let's focus on the guy who hopes to make people forget all about Rex Burkhead and make his own name on the Memorial Stadium turf.
No. 8: Ameer Abdullah (RB, Nebraska):
2012 Stats/Honors: 14 games (7 starts); 1,137 yards, 4.8 average, 11 TD's rushing; 24 receptions, 178 yards, 2TD's; 16 punt returns, 1 TD; 2nd team All-Big Ten (coaches), Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (media)
What makes him worthy: Last year it was a bit of the old Thunder and Lightning attack in Lincoln, when Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah were in the same backfield that is. Well, with Burkhead out for part of the season, 2012 was a bit of the 'ol coming out party for Abdullah and he passed the test.
However, coming into 2013 he's clearly the man and that's a totally different set of expectations. Lucky for him and for Huskers fans Abdullah happens to be perhaps the most diverse back in the league. He's a perfect combination of speed, vision, power, and moves. If there's a smoother running back in the league I'm not sure who it would be.
He's a damn good receiver out of the backfield and over the past two years he's also been an explosive returner. With him being a main focus of the running game on offense I'm not sure we'll see that part of his game going forward though.
So, why isn't he higher on this list? Well, a knee injury this spring has us a bit leery moving forward. Sure, it wasn't major, but anytime you're talking knee injuries and running backs in the same sentence you never know what the outcome will be.
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