Tarik Cohen, NC A&T
By now, you’ve seen the videos. You know the ones that made it to ESPN on Sportscenter and His and Hers. Yeah, that’s Tarik Cohen aka “The Bunn Blur.”
But if you’ve watched the MEAC over the past two seasons, you’ve seen what “The Bunn Blur” can do. The diminutive running back followed up an impressive freshman campaign with an even better sophomore one. He started the season on fire, running for 528 yards and four touchdowns in the first three games, including a 234 yard performance against Elon.
Cohen ran for 100 or more yards seven times in 2014, and ran for 200 twice, including a 203 yard, 2 touchdown performance against NCCU to finish the season. But he also fumbled the ball near the goal line late in the fourth quarter, just inches away from giving his team the go-ahead score, which you can be sure he hasn’t forgotten.
But anyway you slice it, Cohen has been amazing so far. He ran for 1,340 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, bringing his career total to 2,488 yards and 23 touchdowns in just 22 games.
Herb Walker Jr., Morgan State
Like Cohen, Walker had a big 2014 season. Unlike Cohen, few people expected it. Walker started off the season slow, rushing for just nine yards on five carries in the season opener against Eastern Michigan. His breakout performance came just a week later when he ran for 271 yards and two touchdowns. That game set up a string of five consecutive games in which the 5’8, 180 pound back from Cleveland, OH rushed for at least 100 yards and one touchdown.
By the time he ran for 203 yards against FAMU, the secret was out. Walker was named to the Payton Award Watch list late in the season, but a midseason lull effectively ended his bid. He ended up the season with strong performances, running for 128 yards and a touchdown against Delaware State and 120 yards against Richmond in the FCS playoffs. All told, Walker ran for 1,408 yards and 13 touchdowns while also catching 20 passes and 2 touchdowns.
|(Atlanta Journal-Constitution photo)|
Jalen Simmons, SC State
Simmons may not have gotten national recognition like Walker and Cohen, but MEAC defenders definitely know who he is. Simmons broke the 100 mark five times, including a 206 yard performance against FAMU late in the season. He also finished with nine rushing touchdowns, coming up with three multi-touchdown games. He finished with 1.090 yards on 210 carries. Expect more of the same in 2015.
William Parker, Howard
Parker got off to a slow start last season, largely because his carries were inconsistent. Once he began to get the ball in his hands consistently, he produced results. He hit his groove in November, rushing for 151 yards against Delaware State and topping that with 175 yards and two touchdowns against Savannah State. Parker rushed for 673 yards and seven touchdowns, just behind teammate Greg McGhee. With McGhee gone, expect Parker to get more touches in 2015.
Michael D. Jones, Bethune-Cookman
Like Parker, Jones didn’t get the ball much early in the season. He carried the ball an average of four times a game in the season’s first four games. He got it just 10 times against Delaware State, but rushed for 132 yards, including a 51 yard burst, and a receiving touchdown. That was the first of three 100 yard performances, including a 100 yard, one touchdown performance against FAMU in the Florida Classic. He finished his sophomore season with 730 yards and five touchdowns.