Ron Dayne

Ron Dayne

Infobox NFLactive

currentteam=Free Agent
currentposition=Running back
birthdate=birth date and age|1978|3|14
birthplace=Berlin Township, New Jersey
debutteam=New York Giants
* 1999 Heisman Trophy
* 1999 Maxwell Award
* 2005 All-Iron Award
* New York Giants (2000-2004)
* Denver Broncos (2005)
* Houston Texans (2006-2007)

Ron Dayne (born March 14, 1978 in Berlin Township, New Jersey) is an American football running back who is currently a free agent, most recently of the Houston Texans of the NFL. He is best known for holding the NCAA record for career rushing yards, winning the Heisman Trophy and a memorable performance against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2005 as a member of Denver Broncos.

High school career

Dayne's athleticism and speed made him a star running back at Overbrook High School in Pine Hill, New Jersey, and he was heavily recruited by many colleges. He also excelled at Track & Field. In 1995 he won the NJ Meet of Champions, setting a new meet record in the Discus. In 1996 he won state titles in both the Shot Put and Discus, breaking both meet records (although both of those have since been broken again). He also won the NJ Meet of Champions in both events breaking his own meet record in the discus. He has the #5 distance ever thrown in the Discus by a US High Schooler at 216' 11" (66.12m). [ [ Ron Dayne player profile] , National Football League Players Association. Accessed July 24, 2007. "Hometown: Berlin, NJ... Dayne was a consensus first-team All-America selection and SuperPrep’s Eastern Region Player of the Year at Overbrook High School in Berlin, N.J."]

His football role was expected to change when he reached college - at 270 pounds out of high school, many felt that he was simply too big to be a tailback and believed he would be best suited as a fullback. Eventually, Barry Alvarez promised Dayne a tailback position and persuaded him to come to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

College career

Dayne is usually considered one of the greatest backs in NCAA football history. Known as "The Great Dayne" throughout college, Dayne was the starting running back all four years at Wisconsin. Never a flashy or boisterous player, Dayne was a workman-like back, expected to carry the ball as much as necessary - he had 1,220 carries during his career.

Over his four seasons, Dayne chased the NCAA Division I-A rushing record for total yards in a career. He gained 1,863 yards as a freshman, 1,421 as a sophomore, 1,325 as a junior, and 1,834 as a senior. He finally broke the record in the final game of the 1999 season against Iowa. Dayne ended his career with 6,397 rushing yards, eclipsing the record set the previous year by Ricky Williams of Texas.

Dayne saved some of his best performances for the four bowl games to which he led Wisconsin. He rushed for 246 to lead the Badgers to a 38-10 victory in the 1996 Copper Bowl against Utah, garnering MVP honors. Dayne only gained 36 yards in the 1998 Outback Bowl loss against Georgia the next season, but bounced back the next two seasons with 246 yards and 200 yards, respectively, in leading the Badgers to back-to-back Rose Bowl victories in 1999 and 2000 over UCLA and Stanford, respectively. Dayne won MVP honors in both Rose Bowls, becoming one of only four players to win two Rose Bowl MVPs (Washington's Bob Schloredt, Southern California's Charles White, and Texas' Vince Young are the others).

Dayne won the Heisman Trophy in 1999 as well as numerous other awards throughout college, including Big Ten Conference player of the year in 2000 and All-American placement in 1996, 1998 and 1999. His name and number is one of six displayed on the Camp Randall Stadium façade. Dayne's number was officially retired during the Nov. 10, 2007 game against Michigan.

Dayne's career rushing total remains an NCAA record. Bowl games included, he amassed 7,125 yards, becoming the first player in NCAA history to total over 7,000 rushing yards. He shares the record for most 200-yard rushing games with Ricky Williams and Marcus Allen, with twelve. He also holds the Big Ten Conference rushing and total touchdowns record, with 71, and is one of five players in NCAA history to rush for over a thousand yards in each of his four seasons.

Pro career

Dayne was selected with the 11th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Dayne's first season was filled with promise as he teamed up with Tiki Barber in the backfield to create the tandem known as "Thunder and Lightning," a combination of Dayne's power and Barber's speed. The Giants went on to play in Super Bowl XXXV. Over the next few years, Dayne's carries slowly diminished, with head coach Jim Fassel growing increasingly upset with Dayne's lack of commitment to lose weight. Fassel also did not like Dayne's initial running style, that of a halfback, and instead tried to make him a goal line back. After Fassel was fired, Dayne received a second chance under new head coach Tom Coughlin and shed 40 lbs. Despite having a good 2004 preseason, Dayne was once again sidelined by Coughlin for unknown reasons. Some critics have speculated it was due to his inability to break tackles. Others say he wasn't breaking long runs like he did in college. The Giants elected not to re-sign Dayne, and he later signed a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos for the 2005 season, where he showed signs of rejuvenation on Thanksgiving, winning the CBS Thanksgiving All-Iron Award for his performance. Filling in for the injured Tatum Bell, he carved up the Dallas Cowboys defense for 98 yards and a touchdown. He was re-signed in the 2006 offseason and was named starter, but fell on the depth chart as the pre-season went on and was cut as part of a roster move on September 2, 2006. The Houston Texans claimed Dayne off waivers the following day. []

As a Texan, Dayne enjoyed a resurgence of sorts, having rushed for 429 yards and 5 touchdowns in December 2006, including two scores in an upset victory over the division rival Indianapolis Colts. In 2007 filling in as the starter for the injured Ahman Green, he gained more yards per game as the season progressed.

Dayne was released in the off-season. He is in contact with a few teams, and has visited the Tennessee Titans, but Dayne still has yet to receive a contract offer.

ee also

*History of the New York Giants (1994-present)


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