We're down to the cream of the crop now with our top three players from the 2013 Big Ten season. Before the morning is over, we will have revealed who is No. 1.
As a reminder, the list is based only on last season's performance during the 2013 season and no other factors like pro potential. This next guy will take his bulldozing ways to the NFL very soon ...
No. 3: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Previous ranking: Not ranked
Making the case for Hyde: After the Big Ten championship game loss to Michigan State, Hyde made it very clear that he thought he should have gotten more than 18 carries that night. It was hard to argue against his logic.
Good things almost always happened when the Buckeyes put the ball in the hands of their 242-pound wrecking ball. Hyde averaged 7.3 yards per carry in 2013 and only got stopped for no gain or a loss a handful of times. He was suspended for the first three games following an incident with a woman in a nightclub. Hyde said he played with more hunger after that mistake nearly cost him his senior season, and it showed.
Ohio State probably doesn't beat Northwestern without his 168 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Buckeyes almost certainly lose at Michigan if not for his 226-yard effort. Hyde also provided the backbreaking score against Iowa on a highlight reel run, part of a 149-yard day. And we haven't even mentioned his 246-yard, five-touchdown showing at Illinois yet.
Hyde averaged 155 rushing yards in his final nine games. That propelled him to beat out a talented field for Big Ten running -back-of-the-year honors. So, yeah, he probably should have gotten the ball even more.