When Danny Woodhead launched his college football career in the fall of 2004, he was relatively unknown on the national scene.
By the time his playing days were complete at Division II’s Chadron State, located in the Northwest corner of Nebraska, an argument could be made that Woodhead, by statistical standards, is one of the best college running backs ever, at any level.
At the very least, Woodhead certainly deserves strong consideration for an appearance on the elite list of college football running backs.
|WOODHEAD CAREER HIGHLIGHTS|
|• Ran for 2,756 yards in 2006 (DII record)|
|• Ran for 7,962 total yards (DII record)|
|• Had 19 games with more than 200 rushing yards (NCAA record)|
|• Scored a touchdown in 38 consecutive games (NCAA record)|
|• Rushed for at least 100 yards 37 times (DII record)|
|• Career rushing average of 180.9 yards per game|
Woodhead became the all-time leading rusher in Class A Nebraska high school football and was named 2003 Nebraska Football Player of the Year while at North Platte High School. Still, Woodhead was not recruited by the state’s most heralded national football power, Nebraska. Both Frank Solich’s and later Bill Callahan’s Cornhuskers had questions about his height (5’8”), weight (then-185 pounds, now 195 pounds) and durability at the FBS level.
Neither Big Red leader offered Woodhead a scholarship, so he decided to take his talents 160 miles north to Chadron State, where his older brother Ben was a wide receiver. Woodhead did much more than just answer those annoying questions along the way.
Woodhead still has nearly 900 more career rushing yards than any other student-athlete in NCAA Division II history (7,962). When he finished his career in 2007, Woodhead had amassed more than 600 more rushing yards than any other player in any division of NCAA football (his all division record was later broken by Nate Kmic of Division III Mount Union — who played in 12 more games during his career than Woodhead).
Woodhead also holds the NCAA all-divisions record with 101 rushing touchdowns and he scored at least one touchdown in 38 consecutive games. In all, Woodhead holds nine NCAA records.
Woodhead has continued to answer tough questions from doubters in the NFL. Is he too small to play at football’s highest level? After being undrafted and making the New York Jets roster upon the completion of training camp, Woodhead hurt his knee and was out for the entire 2008 season. The Jets were so impressed with his preseason performances they decided to keep him on the practice squad in 2009. In 2010, after rehabbing in the offseason, he made the Jets roster again, only to see the Jets cut him after two regular-season games.
Then, Woodhead finally received his big break when the New England Patriots signed Woodhead to the league-minimum salary. He started three of the remaining 14 regular-season games for the Patriots, running the ball 97 times for 547 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught 34 passes for 379 yards and a touchdown.