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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Michigan State football
Jeremy Langford, Michigan State football (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Jeremy Langford squeaked by Le’Veon Bell for the No. 3 spot and it was a pretty close one. This should draw plenty of debate as well considering Langford was a star for two seasons while Bell was a prominent piece of Michigan State’s backfield for three.

However, when you sit down and dissect the numbers, it’s fairly obvious Langford still isn’t given as much respect as he deserves for his time in East Lansing.

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To start, he began his career as a defensive back before moving to running back as a sophomore, buried on the depth chart and carrying the ball just nine times for 23 yards. There was no way he would break the rotation at any point during his career, right? Wrong. Bell decided to go pro after the 2012 season and that opened up the competition in the backfield where Langford took over.

As a first-year starter in 2013, Langford was as consistent as any back in the nation, rushing for over 100 yards in eight out of nine games to end the year, helping lead Michigan State to a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth. He was also known for his knockout touchdown runs which iced games — such as his dash versus Ohio State in the Big Ten title game which clinched the win.

He finished his first season as a starting back with 1,422 yards and 18 touchdowns on 4.9 yards per touch.

Langford actually improved on all those numbers as a sophomore, rushing for 1,522 yards and 22 touchdowns on 5.5 yards per touch before getting drafted by the Bears.

The former defensive back finished his career just short of 3,000 yards in two full seasons as a starter with an incredible 40 touchdowns on 5.1 yards per carry. He also had 15 straight Big Ten games with 100 rushing yards and 16 total in his career.