Michigan State Football: Top 5 running backs since 2000

Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State football (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images)
Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State football (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Since 2000, Michigan State football has had some of the best running backs in the Big Ten. Who tops the list over the past two decades?

Over the pass two decades, Michigan State has had some impressive running backs. When you’re a program that has preached “pound, green, pound” that should come as no surprise.

The Spartans have sent multiple backs to the NFL since 2000 and there’s a good chance Elijah Collins will be the next star to leave East Lansing for the pros. He just missed a 1,000-yard season in 2019 and with a new offensive line coach in town to fix the horrid situation in the trenches, there’s a good chance he’ll become that 1,000-yard rusher which Michigan State hasn’t seen since 2014 with Jeremy Langford.

It’s tough to pick just five running backs who top Michigan State’s list since 2000, but we did our best, starting with a few honorable mentions.

Honorable mention

Edwin Baker was once the starter over Le’Veon Bell during the 2010 season, rushing for over 1,200 yards on 5.8 yards per carry. The rise of Bell during his sophomore year, however, led to Baker’s worst season as a junior before leaving early for the NFL and getting drafted in the seventh round.

Jehuu Calcrick was a touchdown machine and broke the 20-mark in a single season while at Michigan State. He was never the lead back, but his ability to get into the end zone was unmatched.

Lastly, Deandra Cobb came to Michigan State as a junior and had an immediate impact. He was a heck of a kick returner, which helps his case as an honorable mention, returning three touchdowns in that first season while rushing for 172 yards. As a senior, he broke out a little more for 728 yards rushing and four touchdowns, averaging an impressive 7.6 yards per carry. He might be the fastest running back MSU has had since 2000.

Now, onto No. 5.