Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Josh Ferguson (6) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Illinois 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Illinois Fighting Illini Football: Josh Ferguson Left Off Top 10 Big Ten Backs List

Illinois Fighting Illini starting running back Josh Ferguson just got another piece of bulletin board material this morning when the BTN’s Tom Dienhart released his top 10 Big Ten Running Backs for 2014.

Sure, it’s a great list, but omitting Ferguson is a mistake. He is coming off a career year in his first full season under offensive coordinator Bill Cubit’s tutelage. He led the team in rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns, while also finishing second on the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.

Josh Ferguson’s 2013 Offensive Statistics

  • Rushing – 141 Attempts, 779 yards, 7 TD
  • Receiving – 50 receptions, 535 yards, 4 TD

In more than doubling his production from 2012 in both rushing and receiving, Ferguson displayed great vision, pass catching ability, and no fear in taking the ball into the teeth of the defense on numerous occasions throughout the season even though his speed would trick an average fan into type-casting him as a back that would be seeking to beat the edge of the defense with almost every touch. In short, he has proven he is a complete back. Now, the sky is the limit.

Couple last season’s production with the fact that the Illinois offensive line will be returning multiple starters and even better things may be just around the corner for Ferguson, which is why I find it so surprising that Dienhart chose to omit him from his list.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.

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