- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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The expectations for this player were high going into the season, and he more than lived up to them. Not only did he help lead his team to a national ranking for the first time since 2003, he won the most prestigious award in his conference.
No. 18 Chad Spann, RB, Northern Illinois
For a school that has a good running back tradition, there is no question Chad Spann has taken his place as one of the best. Spann won the Vern Smith Leadership Award, presented to the top football player in the MAC. It says even more about him that the league head coaches vote for this award. He also won MAC Offensive Player of the Year after racking up 1,388 yards and leading the league in rushing. He also scored 22 touchdowns, setting the single-season school record. In all, Spann had six 100-yard games, including a doozy of a performance in a big win over Minnesota. Spann had 223 yards on just 15 carries, averaging 14.9 yards every time he touched the ball. He scored two touchdowns including a 61-yarder. That just set the stage for the season to come, when Northern Illinois finished the regular season 8-0 in MAC play. He and Chandler Harnish proved to be a duo that was difficult to stop, and the Huskies are going to need to find a way to replace him in 2011.
No. 20 T.Y. Hilton, WR/KR, FIU
No. 21 Eric Page, WR/KR, Toledo
No. 22 Jake Kirkpatrick, C, TCU