The "Dayne Train"
RB | Senior | University of Wisconsin
Dayne joined Alan Ameche as a Wisconsin Heisman winner after setting the NCAA career rushing record — a record that still stands today.
Dayne was born in Blacksburg, Va., but grew up mostly in New Jersey. His stardom began while attending Overbrook High School in Pine Hill, where he was heavily recruited for his football and track and field prowess. He won state titles in both the shot put and discus — his best of 216-11 in the discus throw is still one of the best prep marks of all time. On the gridiron, he rushed for 1,566 yards and scored 27 touchdowns as a junior and followed that up with 1,785 yards and 24 TDs as a senior.
Dayne averaged over 10 yards per carry during his high-school career, but as a 270-pound athlete, the expectation was that he would not play tailback in college. Most schools recruited him as a fullback, but Wisconsin saw him as a primary ball carrier, so he signed to play for the Badgers in the spring of 1996.
His impact was immediate and huge. The “Dayne Train” carried the ball 1,220 times in his college career, becoming the work horse in Wisconsin’s fabled ground game. He gained 1,863 yards as a freshman, 1,421 as a sophomore, 1,325 as a junior, and 1,834 as a senior, becoming one of only five players to rush for over a thousand yards in four consecutive years. He ended his college career with 6,397 rushing yards, a total that still stands as the most ever in FBS history, eclipsing Ricky Williams previous record set in 1998. When yardage from bowl games is included in Dayne’s NCAA rushing record, his total comes to a remarkable 7,125 yards.
Dayne led Wisconsin to back-to-back Rose Bowl victories in his final two seasons. In those games, he came up huge, rushing for a combined 446 yards in wins over UCLA and Stanford. He’s the only Big Ten player in history to win back-to-back Rose Bowl MVP awards.
Dayne was drafted 11th overall by the New York Giants in the 2000 NFL draft.