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
Javon Ringer, Michigan State football (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Javon Ringer is arguably the closest Michigan State has ever gotten to a Heisman Trophy winner, at least over the past two decades.

In fact, Ringer finished 10th in the voting in 2008 after his senior season when he ran for 1,637 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was the second running back in the voting behind only Iowa’s Shonn Greene. He likely would have finished higher if he didn’t end his season on a sour note and finish with a 4.2 yards per carry average.

Ringer was having a spectacular senior year and he was in the Heisman conversation, but ended the season with just 264 yards over the final four games, including the bowl game, and averaged a paltry 2.9 yards per carry which brought his entire average down. Before that, he had 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns on a 4.6 yards per carry average through nine games.

Heck, he also had two 200-yard performances during his senior year and a 194-yard game as well. He was a machine on the ground and his strong lower body made it next to impossible for defenders to bring him down on first contact.

Ringer’s career really took off when Mark Dantonio got to town in 2007, but he still had over 1,300 yards and nine rushing touchdowns combined in his freshman and sophomore years.

As a junior, he rushed for 1,447 yards and six touchdowns on 5.9 yards per touch and he also proved to be a threat out of the backfield. In fact, over his career, he finished with 96 catches for 719 yards and a touchdown.

Next. Ranking MSU's top 5 QBs since 2000. dark

It’s a shame his NFL career didn’t last longer because he seemed to have that it factor that teams need in the backfield at that level. Still, he’s the best running back Michigan State has fielded since 2000.