Weight: 202 lbs.
High school: Youngstown (OH) Liberty
Position: Running back
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #28
Last year: I ranked Toussaint #53 and said he would be a backup running back and kick returner. He started eleven games at tailback and had 187 carries for 1,041 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and 9 touchdowns. He also caught 6 passes for 28 yards (4.7 yards per catch) and 1 touchdown.
If I awarded an annual Underranked Player of the Year trophy, it would go to Fitzgerald Toussaint. It wasn't that I was down on Toussaint's abilities, but I didn't expect him to stay healthy. There always seem to be a couple players who suffer from perpetual injuries, and he was one up to that point. Toussaint took over the starting running back job and rushed for 120+ yards in four out of the last six games. His best performance came against Illinois, when he rushed 27 times for 192 yards and a touchdown. He's got the best of both worlds, because he's part Jitterbug and part Mini-Plow; he can make you miss and gain some tough yards.
Naturally, once he rid himself of the injury bug, he caught the Grady-Stonum bug and got picked up by the police for driving under the influence of things that should not have been influencing him. It's unclear how soon he will be cleared to play, although he missed some practice time and most people (including me) think he should miss at least the first half of the opener against Alabama, if not more. The loss of Toussaint for the Alabama game could potentially be disastrous. The coaches like Thomas Rawls and so do a lot of analysts and fans, but he only has 13 carries under his belt and does not have the elusiveness of Toussaint. Rawls is going to have to break tackles that Toussaint would likely avoid, and that's going to slow down the offense. Whenever #28 returns to action, he should pick up where he left off and have another great performance this season. A missed start or two could cost him some end-of-season accolades within the Big Ten, and the presence of guys like Montee Ball, Rex Burkhead, and Le'Veon Bell in the conference could drop him to All-Big Ten Honorable Mention or even off the list altogether.
Prediction: Starting running back (whenever he returns); 180 carries, 1020 yards, 10 touchdowns
Poll results: Ricky Barnum got 69% of the vote for the #3 spot, while Toussaint got 30%.