According to Josh Moyer and the rest of the Big Ten staff over at ESPN, Ron Dayne is one of the Big Ten's top-five, all-time running backs, coming in at No. 3.
Here's what ESPN had to say about Dayne:
At 260-plus pounds, the Badgers' "Great Dayne" wore down opposing defenses unlike maybe any other Big Ten running back. He won the 1999 Heisman and twice surpassed the 2,000-yard plateau, as both a freshman and senior. Said former coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez: "When anybody thinks of Wisconsin today, they think of us handing the ball off and Dayne running the football." Dayne started four seasons and rushed for at least 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns every year. For three years, he led the conference in both rushing yards and touchdowns. And he remains the NCAA's career leader in rushing (7,125) by nearly 600 yards. Dayne is the modern-day epitome of smash-mouth football.
Before being chosen with the 11th overall pick by the New York Giants in the 2000 NFL Draft, Dayne was a true superstar for the Badgers. Over the course of his four year career in Madison, Dayne accumulated 7,429 total yards and 71 touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
Dayne's 1999 season was one for the record books, as he garnered the following awards and honors:
- AP Player of the Year
- Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year
- Consensus All-American
- Doak Walker Award
- Maxwell Award
- Heisman Memorial Trophy
- Walter Camp Player of the Year
To this day, Dayne is still (comfortably) the Big Ten and NCAA leader in career rushing yards, career yards from scrimmage and career rushing attempts.
The only running backs ranked above Dayne according to ESPN are Illinois' Red Grange (No. 1) and Ohio State's Archie Griffin (No. 2).