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Friday, March 11, 2011
Big Ten rankings: No. 7, Mikel Leshoure

By staff

The 2010 Big Ten postseason player rankings continue with ...

No. 7: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois, Jr., 6-0, 230

Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure
Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure scored 122 points for the Illini this season.
2010 numbers: Ranked second in the Big Ten and fifth nationally in rushing average at 130.5 yards per game; led the Big Ten in touchdowns with 20 (17 rush, 3 receiving) and tied for the league lead in scoring with 122 points (9.4 ppg); averaged 6.04 yards a carry; tied for the national lead in rushes of 30 yards or longer (11); recorded 17 receptions for 196 yards and three scores; consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors.

Preseason rank: No. 24 in preseason Top 25 players

Why he's here: Leshoure was undoubtedly the Big Ten's best running back (Denard Robinson plays quarterback, people) and one of the league's most consistent performers. He eclipsed 100 rushing yards in nine games and led the Big Ten in rushing average during conference play (121.6 ypg). Leshoure earned All-America honors from five outlets, including second-team honors from the Associated Press.

The junior turned in an unforgettable performance Nov. 20 at Wrigley Field, rushing for a team-record 330 yards against Northwestern. It marked the highest rushing total in the nation since 2008, the fifth-highest total in Big Ten history and the fourth-highest in a Big Ten game. Leshoure finished strong for the second consecutive season, racking up 1,011 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns in Illinois' final five games.