On December 3, 1988, Oklahoma State University running back, Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy after accumulating 2,628 rushing yards and scored 37 touchdowns in his third collegiate season.
Sanders played three seasons with Oklahoma State. He totaled 3,556 rushing yards, 164 receiving yards and 49 touchdowns. After being chosen third overall in the 1989 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions, he was able to forgo his senior season and turn his passion into his profession.
The talented running back was also presented with the Consensus All-America title, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award at the end of the 1988 season.
In 10 seasons with the Lions, Sanders accumulated 15,269 yards rushing, 2,921 receiving and was responsible for 109 touchdowns. In his most successful season, 1997, he rushed for 2,053 yards, at the time he was second to Eric Dickerson (2,105) who still holds the record.
Sanders was named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year following the 1989 season. He played in 10 Pro Bowls, was named and never made it to the Super Bowl.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame recognized his talent as they inducted him with the class of 2004.
The 5-foot-9 running back weighed in at 203 lbs. was small for his position. Currently, the average height of running backs in the Hall of Fame is 6 feet. But, he was able to use his smaller frame to his advantage. Defensive players could not keep up with his quick feet and his ability to change direction on a dime left them gasping for air.
By the end of his career, Sanders held almost all of the Lion’s rushing records alongside a number of NFL records.
“He makes you miss so bad, you kind of look up in the stands and wonder if anybody’s looking at you,” Atlanta Falcons cornerback D.J. Johnson once remarked. “You’ve got 60,000 people in there and you wonder if anyone saw you miss that tackle.”
Check out some of his collegiate highlights. When you are done, follow me on Twitter @TodayInSport365