Hunter makes mark among top OSU running backs

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 8

It might seem that Kendall Hunter is mismatched by being the leading rusher in a conference that appears to be so pass-heavy as the Big 12.

But that's not the case. Hunter is one of the Big 12's most valuable players because of his running ability and the balance he brings to Oklahoma State.

The most notable number for Hunter is 6.5 -- his yard-per-carry average in both his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Cowboys.

If he continues to pile up yardage, he'll go down in history as one of the top running backs in history at Oklahoma State -- one of the nation's traditionally strong rushing teams. And another huge season might be enough to help catapult the Cowboys into the Big 12 title hunt for the first time in school history.

Player: Kendall Hunter
Team: Oklahoma State
Position: Running back
Vitals: 5-foot-8, 190 pounds; Jr.; Tyler, Texas (John Tyler)

Why he was picked: Hunter was the Big 12's leading rusher as a sophomore, piling up 1,555 yards to rank seventh nationally. He also scored 16 rushing touchdowns and added another touchdown reception. His average of 119.6 yards per game topped the second-place finisher Chris Brown of Oklahoma by more than 30 yards per game. Hunter was selected to the Football Writers Association of America's All-American team, becoming OSU's first All-America running back since Gerald Hudson in 1990. Hunter notched nine 100-yard rushing games and produced 15 carries of at least 20 yards last season.

What 2009 will hold: If Hunter can stay healthy and continue his pace of his first two seasons, he will likely have a good shot at earning All-America honors for a second season. More importantly, his breakaway abilities will provide a vital balance for the OSU offense that should be one of the nation's most explosive. A big season might boost them into Big 12 title contention and produce a shot at the first BCS bowl appearance in school history.

The countdown:

9. Oklahoma LB Travis Lewis
10. Kansas QB Todd Reesing
11. Oklahoma RB-KR DeMarco Murray
12. Oklahoma State T Russell Okung
13. Texas DE-LB Sergio Kindle
14. Oklahoma T Trent Williams
15. Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon
16. Baylor LB Joe Pawelek
17. Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
18. Texas WR-KR Jordan Shipley
19. Oklahoma RB Chris Brown
20. Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr.
21. Texas Tech DT Colby Whitlock
22. Kansas WR-KR Dezmon Briscoe
23. Oklahoma DE Jeremy Beal
24. Kansas S Darrell Stuckey
25. Texas Tech RB Baron Batch
26. Kansas QB-WR Kerry Meier
27. Texas T Adam Ulatoski
28. Oklahoma State LB Andre Sexton
29. Missouri G Kurtis Gregory
30. Missouri RB Derrick Washington
31. Texas Tech LB Brian Duncan
32. Texas S Earl Thomas
33. Kansas State WR-KR Brandon Banks
34. Oklahoma LB Keenan Clayton
35. Baylor S Jordan Lake
36. Oklahoma State CB-KR Perrish Cox
37. Texas C Chris Hall
38. Texas Tech DE-DT McKinner Dixon
39. Kansas State DE Brandon Harold
40. Oklahoma FB Matt Clapp