January 1, 2011; Tampa, FL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Silas Redd (25) runs with the ball during the second half of their game against the Florida Gators of the 2011 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 37-24. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Big Ten Position Rankings: Top Five Running Backs

Today, we continue this little series with the guys who grind it out on the ground. There are some really talented RBs in the Big Ten and could be as many as seven who reach 1,000 yards in 2012.

5. Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan

With 1000 yards and 10 total touchdowns as a junior, Fitz could be be primed for a breakout season. Sharing a backfield with Denard Robinson can’t hurt.

4. Le’veon Bell, Michigan State

Almost 1000 yards and 13 touchdowns last year on just 182 carries. With the departure of Cousins, he’ll be leaned on heavily this year and could have a monster season.

3. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska

Hard-nosed and quick, Burkhead works well in the Nebraska offense. Had a spectacular season last year that was overshadowed by Ball.

2. Silas Redd, Penn State

Rushed for over 1,200 yards last year with barely a glimmer of a passing game to free up space. Any improvement at QB should free up the slippery Redd.

1. Montee Ball, Wisconsin

Guy scored like 50 touchdowns last year. It’s not likely that his production goes up, but he easily deserves this spot. Still can’t believe he didn’t enter the NFL Draft.

 

While not all that surprising, the running backs of the Big Ten are a bit more advanced than the quarterbacks. With Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins headed to the NFL, look for these five and others to really shine in the conference.

For all of the latest on the Penn State Nittany Lions, follow VBR Lead Editor Tim Tolley on Twitter.

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Tags: Montee Ball Rex Burkhead Silas Redd

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