In 1995 Wasean Tait produced the greatest individual season a running back has ever had in the MAC. Tait ran for 2,090 yards and 24 touchdowns while leading the Toledo Rockets to an 11-0-1 season and a win in the Las Vegas Bowl. Tait was poised for a monster senior season, but unfortunately he wrecked his knee in the 1996 season-opener and didn't return to action until 1998. While his career didn't go quite as planned, there's no denying his individual season was the best a MAC running back has ever had. So we decided to honor him by naming our award after him.
In 2013 MAC fans picked Buffalo senior running back Branden Oliver to receive the inaugural award. The bruising Buffalo back was a fitting winner, seeing as how injuries had limited his performance in previous years. In 2013 he ran for 1,421 yards and 15 touchdowns as one of college football's most productive backs. now he's tearing it up in the NFL preseason with the San Diego Chargers.
So who will take home this honor this fall? Well, below are the five names our staff thinks are the most likely to produce the best season.
This Eastern Michigan senior is arguably one of the most underrated players in the MAC. In 2013 Hill ran for 1,101 yards and five scores on 196 yards, despite starting in just seven games. In 2012 he had 905 yards and six scores on 140 yards, all while playing for a team that had to put their hopes on his back. A 2013 Third-Team All-MAC honoree, Hill seems poised for a huge senior season under Chris Creighton's leadership.
It's been easy to overlook Jahwan Edwards these past three seasons with Keith Wenning shattering records left and right in the Cardinals offense, but that doesn't mean Edwards hasn't been producing at an elite level. A two-time All-MAC honoree Edwards' has 3,306 yards and 39 touchdowns in his career and will go down as the best back in Ball State history, and maybe the best the MAC has to offer in 2014.
Say what you want about Jawon Chisholms underwhelming performance, you can't deny his ability. Chisholm is an interesting choice for this list because it's almost every Belt staffer's opinion that he doesn't live up to his potential, but part of that could have been do to the pieces around him. With a team full of talent and ripe to make a run for a bowl appearance in 2014, it's sink of swim time for Chisholm, but if he does choose to swim the rest of the MAC could be in danger.
This super sophomore filled in quite well for David Fluellen last season. Mostly over the course of the final six games of the year, Hunt managed to put up 886 yards and six scores. With Fluellen graduated, Hunt is now the top back in the Rockets' run-heavy offense. With his impressive size, plus speed and that dominant offensive line in front of him, Hunt could be the next great UT running back.
We were all infatuated with what Bowling Green's Matt Johnson did last season, but one could argue what Travis greene did was as impressive, if not more. The former receiver and defensive back took over as the team's lead running back in 2013 as a redshirt freshman and ran for a school-record 1,594 yards (breaking a record that had stood since 1951). He also had 11 touchdowns and was one of the nation's most productive backs. While all the attention is on Johnson and what he can do in Dino Babers' high-powered offense, lets not forget that Babers produced a pair of 1,000 yard rushers in 2013, and that's without a player the caliber of Greene.