Hometown: Hempstead, NY
Record: 23-13, Bowl Record: 0-3
Many Mountaineer fans still contend that Amos Zereoue is the greatest running back in school history. During his three seasons in Morgantown, Zereoue would set the school’s all-time rushing record (a record that would stand for only 4 seasons). Zereoue was an impact running back for the Mountaineers, balancing the passing game of Marc Bulger. Zereoue’s talents were immediately recognized, as he would rush for 1,035 yards and 9 touchdowns during his freshman season, earning Big East Rookie of the Year honors. He would follow that up with 3,053 yards and 31 touchdowns over the next two seasons in Morgantown. Zereoue would earn three All-Big East Selections and an All-America selection for his three seasons in Morgantown. With the school rushing record in hand, and a positive draft appraisal, Zereoue decided to forgo his senior season in Morgantown, to enter the NFL draft. Had Zereoue stayed in Morgantown, he might have set the school rushing record out of reach of his successor, Avon Cobourne. Zereoue would find minimal success in the NFL, serving predominantly as a situational rusher for the Steelers, Raiders, and Patriots. Famous Amos is not yet a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, but it is only a matter of time before he receives his call to the Hall.
Memorable Game: Amos Zereoue put his talents on display throughout his career, but may have best showcased his talents in the 1997 game against East Carolina. The game came one week after West Virginia’s win against Marshall. The Mountaineers would be tested by the scrappy Pirates. East Carolina’s pass heavy offense put ECU out to an early 10-3 lead. Zereoue would answer back with a touchdown carry to knot the game at 10-10, early in the 3rd quarter. WVU and ECU would trade scores in the 3rd quarter, leaving the score at 17-17 heading into the 4th quarter. Zereoue took control of the game from that point on. He would punch in the winning touchdown in the 4th quarter and help the Mountaineers drain the time off the clock. Zereoue rushed for 199 yards and a pair of touchdowns in WVU’s 24-17 win over East Carolina.
Competition: Let’s be serious: who else did you think this pick could have gone to? Boogie Allen? Curlin Beck? Maybe, Shawne Alston? None of these other players have held a school record, no one else in this pool of players made as big an impact on his teams as Zereoue did on those mid 1990s teams.
Teaser: We are rapidly approaching football season, and now are down to the teens! Speaking of teens, when I was a teen, I was not into hip hop or rap, but did have appreciation for DMX. I really enjoy Rough Ryders’ Anthem. That brings me to tomorrow selection at #19. This player was a stud defensive back for the Mountaineers who would later start in the CFL as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.