Today’s player is already among the all-time greats as a running back at Purdue. He is 11th in total rushing yardsand with a good year he can easily crack the top 5.
Markell Jones - Sr.
Columbus, IN (Columbus East HS)
5’11”, 210 pounds
2018 Projection: Contributor at running back
Perhaps the only thing that will prevent Markell from reaching 3,000 career yards is a crowded backfield with D.J. Knox and Tario Fuller. With 2,057 rushing yards Markell is currently 11th on the career rushing list. He can easily climb into the top 5 with less than 600 yards.
Arguably he could have had more, however. After a freshman record 875 yards and 10 TDs in 2015 he was banged up for part of the last two seasons. he had 616 yards and 4 TDs in 2016 and 566 yards and one TD last year. He missed part of last season with a knee injury and battled a shoulder injury in 2016. He still had a monster game against Indiana with 217 yards rushing. It was only the 13th 200-yard game in school history and first since Ralph Bolden went for 234 in 2009 against Toledo. It was the first 200+ game against a Big Ten opponent since Montrell went for 208 and a Bundy in the Rose Bowl clincher against Indiana back in 2000.
So what can we expect this year? His 15 rushing touchdowns ranks 13th in school history and he can easily get into the top 10. He has been the team’s leading rusher in terms of yards all three seasons he has been in West Lafayette. He is also not that far separated from a high school career that saw him rush for 7,930 yards (second in state history) and score 774 points (fourth in state history). Should he crack 3,000 career yards he would join Otis Armstrong, Kory Sheets, and Mike Alstott as the only Purdue backs to do so. Finally, a 1,600 yard season would be incredible, but it would also give him both the single season and all-time rushing marks at Purdue.
A more modest goal is 1,000 yards, only the 9th time a Purdue back would reach that mark and first since Sheets in 2008.