Marquise Grizzle, Shaw
Heading into last season, Grizzle looked like he could potentially be special back. It didn't take long for him to fulfill his potential, as the sophomore rushed for a conference high 1,276 yards and finished fourth with 12 rushing touchdowns. Grizzle was consistently good all season, rushing for 100-plus yards in eight of the ten games he played in and breaking off a run of at least 20 yards in every single game. He also became a factor in passing game last season, catching six passes for a career-high 132 yards and a touchdown. Right now, the only weakness in his game is his tendency to lose the football (he fumbled eight times, losing four of them). With two seasons of eligibility left, it's scary to think how good he might be when its all said and done.
Keith Brown, Bowie State
2013 was just another ho-hum season for Bowie State, but Brown showed up big all year long. Brown rushed for five 100-plus yard games, saving his best for last with a 230 yard, four touchdown performance against Elizabeth City in the season finale. For the season, Brown finished with an impressive 1,132 yards and 16 touchdowns. Look for him to continue to be a big part of the Bowie State offense in 2013.
|(Daily Advance Photo)|
Petey Boone, Elizabeth City State
Elizabeth City State failed to repeat as CIAA North Champions for the third straight season, but Boone did all he could to help. The former Hertford County quarterback and Western Carolina transfer was the central cog in the Vikings' engine, finishing fourth in the conference in rushing yards (957) and third with 14 rushing touchdowns. He got off to a slow start in the season's first three games, but followed that up with 100-plus yard rushing games in three of the next four contests, including a career-high 182 yards and four rushing touchdowns against Lincoln. Boone also factored into the passing game, catching 17 passes for 233 yards.
|(WS Journal photo)|
Maurice Lewis, Winston-Salem State
Considered by many to be one of the best D2 backs in the country heading into last season, Lewis came into the season with big expectations. Like his team, he had a good season (902 yards, 11 TDs) but not a great one. He only put together two 100-plus yard performances (albeit against rivals Johnson C. Smith and Fayetteville State), and rushed for just over 70 yards in WSSU's two losses. When healthy, he's an explosive offensive force, but he'll have to have a more consistent season as a senior to help the Rams stay atop the CIAA and increase his pro prospects.
Others To Watch: Leander Barney-JCSU; Josh Glisson-WSSU