Big Ten rankings: No. 24, Mikel LeShoure

The 2010 Big Ten preseason player rankings, based on past performance and 2010 potential continue with ...

No. 24: Mikel LeShoure, Jr., RB, Illinois, 6-0, 230

2009 numbers: Finished sixth in the league in rushing average (66.7 ypg) despite having 15 fewer carries than anyone else in the top 10. Boasted a 6.8 yards-per-carry average and had three runs of 61 yards or more.

Most recent ranking: Unranked in the 2009 postseason player rankings.

Making the case for LeShoure: Some will look at the team he plays for and quickly dismiss LeShoure, but he has a chance to be one of the Big Ten's best running backs this fall. He finished the 2009 season on a very strong note, eclipsing 120 rushing yards in three of his final six games despite never getting more than 21 carries in a single contest. LeShoure not only has excellent size at 230 pounds, but the ability to take it the distance. He needs to separate himself from Jason Ford in preseason camp, but LeShoure can provide a big lift to Illinois' new young quarterback. That is, if he gets the ball enough. John Clay and Evan Royster are clearly the Big Ten's top two backs, but the No. 3 spot is pretty wide open right now. If LeShoure gets some help from the offensive line, he has the makeup to fill that role for the Illini.

The rundown

  • No. 25: Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt