The 10 best individual seasons of the '00s

Updated: December 23, 2009, 1:42 PM ET
By Bruce Feldman

2010 arrives in a little more than a week. I wanted to look at the best individual seasons by a player in the past decade. Interestingly, Ndamukong Suh this year ends up pretty high on this list.

1. Vince Young, Texas Longhorns QB, 2005:

There are other guys who packed together more impressive stat-driven careers than Young, who basically played two full seasons for UT and whose first wasn't all that spectacular (12 TD passes, 11 INTs). However, what Young accomplished in 2005 was epic, and it coincided with Mack Brown's decision to basically flip Young the keys to his offense and "let VY just be VY." Young simply made play after play, often unconventionally, and was both brilliant and beguiling. He amassed 346 yards in a win at No. 4 Ohio State, was 25-of-29 against No. 24 Colorado in a 42-17 win and threw for 239 yards in a 52-10 win over No. 10 Texas Tech. At Oklahoma State, he ran for 276 yards. Against archrival Oklahoma, he threw three TDs in a 45-12 Texas romp. But it was the way he finished off the season that elevated Young to all-time great status; everyone knows the game. He stared down a USC team that was riding a 34-game winning streak and playing a game in its own backyard. Texas hadn't won a national title in 35 years.

Young produced the greatest clutch performance I've ever seen as he accounted for 467 yards of total offense, rushing for 200 and passing for 267 on a 30-of-40 night in an amazing 41-38 comeback win for the Horns, capped by a 9-yard TD run in the final seconds. It seemed like on that night the more dire the circumstances, the more comfortable and the better he played.

2. Reggie Bush, USC Trojans RB, 2005:

As fantastic as Young was in '05, he still didn't win the Heisman. Bush did, and he won it by a decent-sized margin. He averaged 222 all-purpose yards per game and had almost a 9-yard per rush average while running for 1,740 yards. He also caught 39 passes for 481 yards, and in a game against Fresno State, he set a Pac-10 record for total yards with 513. (He also did this.)

Sparked by Bush's game-breaking skills, the Trojans scored more than 40 points in nine of their 12 regular-season games and scored at least 34 points in every game they played that year. He had runs of at least 30 yards in nine of USC's 12 games, and runs of 40-plus yards in seven games. He also assisted Matt Leinart on a TD sneak on the game-winning score at Notre Dame in what is now known as "the Bush Push." It is also must be noted that Bush's season is still in question thanks to an open NCAA investigation, but until the NCAA weighs in, his season remains as is.