Michigan State Football: Top 10 players of the Mark Dantonio era

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Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Jeremy Langford (33) runs with the ball against the Baylor Bears during the first quarter in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I know what you’re thinking. It’s too early to have Jeremy Langford on this list, right? Wrong. The most recent Spartan running back made a name for himself in Michigan State record books, rushing for over 100 yards in 10 straight games and 16 straight games against Big Ten opponents — both school records.

If there is one guy who deserves to be on this list for being an absolute workhorse, it’s Langford.

During his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, Langford was primarily used on special teams and was even beginning his career on the defensive side of the ball. He didn’t earn any playing time at running back until his junior year when he won the starting role before fall ball and never looked back.

As a junior, Langford rushed for 1,422 yards and 18 touchdowns in just 14 games, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and just over 100 yards per game. This past year, he improved on those already-impressive numbers, racking up 1,522 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 117 yards per contest.

Talk about an overall career improvement under Dantonio, Langford went from unknown special teams player to starting running back and now he’s on the Chicago Bears after getting drafted, looking like their second string RB.

Langford was a winner as well, leading MSU to its first Rose Bowl in decades in 2013 and a Cotton Bowl win last year. That’s a 24-3 record as starting running back — probably the best mark in school history.

Next: 9. Jerel Worthy, DT