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Top 70 MAC Football Players: #64 Trayion Durham (RB, Kent State Golden Flashes)

Kent State is now the first University so far on this countdown to have three members in the top 70. Is that a good or bad thing this early?

Alex Trautwig (Getty Images)

From the moment Durham walked onto campus as a member of then head coach Darrell Hazell's 2011 class, he was expected to be a top player. Being ranked as the number three player at your position (fullback) in the country can bring expectations like that. As a true freshman, the man who would eventually become "thunder" appeared in every game, and started in eight of them.

His sophomore season was his best to date, and he and fellow 1,000 yard rusher Dri Archer (Now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers) led Kent State to the MAC Championship game. Durham's best game as a Flash to date came against Miami (OH) where he rushed for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns.Durham would add several accolades, from  being nominated for the Doak Walker award, to being named to Phil Steele's All-MAC list at the end of the season. The future looked bright for both Trayion and the Golden Flashes, but then Hazell hit.

While they would ultimately come up short of their goal of a MAC title, Durham still helped lead Kent State to their first bowl game since 1972, and only their second bowl game overall. After the season, Durham was at a crossroads, as was the rest of the Kent State football program: Hazell had left the program to become the head coach at Purdue. After many Flashes considering transferring, most of them decided to honor the university, rather than one coach.

After he and Archer were able to break out in 2012, in 2013 things were different. Archer was dealing with various injuries, as was Durham. Durham was still able to lead the team in rushing, with 766 yards and 14 touchdowns, on 266 carries. Durham was used in new head coach Paul Haynes' system as much more than just a downhill runner, as he could be found blocking, catching the ball out of the backfield, etc. which was a new game for Durham's big body (6-foot-1, 250 pounds)

Last season, Durham was named to Phil Steele's Preseason All-MAC Team, and was placed on several running backs award watch lists. but various things caused Durham to redshirt, including a foot injury that he had previously had surgery on. Kent State took a major step backwards in his absence, and because of this a new offensive coordinator was brought in for the 2015 season.

Coming into this year, Durham needs to come back healthy, and prove he was more than worthy of Athlon Sports placing him on the All-MAC 4th team. He is going to have several chances to add to the record book, as currently he is 5th in career rushing yards, and 9th in career rushing touchdowns with 24.The Flashes are going to need his contribution, both on the field and in the locker room, if they are to improve on their record from last season, and if they are going to keep the Wagon Wheel from rival Akron.