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Cover 3: Best college player to wear Giants uniform


In honor of EA Sports bringing back the College Football video game, who is the best college player to wear a Giants uniform? The crew debates in this week's edition of Cover 3.

John Schmeelk: Ron Dayne. In 1999, he won the Heisman Trophy, the Big Ten Player of the Year Award and was honored as an All-American. He finished that season with 2,034 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. It was the second 2,000-yard rushing season of his career. As a freshman for Wisconsin, Dayne rushed for 2,109 yards and 21 touchdowns. Dayne's 7,125 rushing yards is still the most in NCAA history and a record that might not ever be broken. Dayne rushed for at least 1,450 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in each of his four collegiate seasons.

Dan Salomone: Herschel Walker wasn't "only" a Giant, but he was "once" a Giant. His fourth NFL stop brought him to the Giants in 1995, and while he played only a single season for Big Blue, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner is in the conversation for best college football player in history. He amassed 5,097 rushing yards in his three-year career at Georgia – 1,616 of which came during his freshman year as the Bulldogs went 12-0 and won the national title. Walker, Glenn Davis, and Doak Walker are the only players to log three top-three Heisman finishes.

But if you're looking for someone with a longer stint as a Giant, look no further than Saquon Barkley, who finished his career as Penn State's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (43), total touchdowns (53), and all-purpose yards (5,538). Need more? He set the school record with a touchdown in 15-straight games and became the only player in Penn State history (and just the fourth in the Big Ten) to gain 3,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a career. Keep in mind that Penn State has been playing football since 1887.

View photos of running back Saquon Barkley's stellar collegiate career at Penn State.

Lance Medow: You'd be hard-pressed to find a more decorated college football player than Ron Dayne. The Giants' first-round pick in 2000 left Wisconsin as the NCAA's all-time leading rusher and collected 7,125 rushing yards. Dayne had at least 1,457 yards and 15 touchdowns in each of his four seasons as a member of the Badgers. He also tied the record for most 200-yard rushing games with 12.

Dayne piled up the hardware. In 1999, he won the Heisman Trophy as a senior. He also earned the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Chic Harley Award, Doak Walker Award and Jim Brown Award – honors reserved for either the nation;s best college football player or the top running back. In addition, he was named AP Player of the Year and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Dayne was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

The three-time All-American wasn't necessarily flashy, but this thick workhorse could run over opponents and wear them down. Dayne carried the ball 1,220 times over his four-year Bulldogs career and played at least 12 games in every season. When you combine his production, durability, awards and the fact he started all four years, Dayne makes the strongest case.

View photos of Heisman Trophy winner and former Giants running back Ron Dayne.


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