When opening up Arizona State's football record book, one thing immediately jumps out--Woody Green.
The dynamic Green was a Sun Devil legend during his career that spanned from 1971-1973. As the centerpiece of the ASU offense, he posted three straight seasons over 1,300 yards in helping the team to a 32-4 record. His 1972 season ranks along with Terrell Suggs' 2002 as the greatest single season a Sun Devil ever had--1,565 yards rushing and 18 rushing touchdowns, both records that still stand today.
When the Kansas City Chiefs made him a first round pick, Green owned the school career records for rushing attempts (675), rushing yards (4,388) and rushing touchdowns (39), marks he still owns nearly 40 years later.
The Sun Devils have have several other fantastic backs over the years. Freddie Williams, J.R. Redmond, Art Malone and Wilford White are just some of the terrific runners who've left a legacy both on the field and in the record books.
Now a new name is poised to join that list.
Cameron Marshall built upon a promising sophomore season with a terrific 2011. He became the first Sun Devil to top 1,000 yards rushing since Ryan Torain in 2006, and his 18 touchdowns on the ground tied Green's record that Terry Battle also tied in 1996.
That put Marshall within striking distance to three of the school's hallowed marks. Barring injury (recent ankle surgery aside), he should find himself in the top five by season's end.
Marshall has 444 carries during his time in Tempe, 231 behind Green. Last season, Marshall carried 230 times. Can he get there?
On one hand, the return of a hopefully healthy Deantre Lewis and the additions of top recruits D.J. Foster and Marion Grice figure to cut into the carries available to Marshall. Indeed, over his 230 carries last season, he battled a nagging ankle injury.
However, it's not inconceivable to think that he could see a similar workload this fall. Last season, ASU threw a school-record 517 passes, a figure that most certainly will not happen again with the new run-heavy offensive scheme. So while his percentage of the rushing-attempt pie may decrease, the size of that pie will in turn expand greatly. Even factoring in a modest 150 carries, Marshall would finish his career at No. 4 on the all-time list.
This is a category that Marshall has little to no chance of catching Green. He currently is 2,057 yards behind Green's record. However, a finish in the school's top five is eminently possible.
Marshall would need 864 yards to pass Leon Burton's 2,994 yards for the fifth spot, with Wilford White's 3,173, J.R. Redmond's 3,299 and Freddie Williams' 3,424 ahead of them.
Even with the crowded backfield, Marshall will be the team's starting running back, and should he maintain his career improvement arc, he should find his way there.
In tying Green and Battle's single season record last year, Marshall also put himself in place to make a run at the career record for rushing touchdowns.
Marshall has found the end zone on the ground 29 times in his three seasons, putting him 10 behind Green. Even with so many other talented running backs, it's hard not to think he won't approach a double-digit tally again. Marshall only needs six scores to pass Burton for second place on ASU's all-time list.
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