Top 10 players of the season: No. 3

At least on this list, our No. 3 player gets the respect he deserves. As we get even closer to the Independence Bowl, we look at one of Missouri's most overlooked stars, and this year all he did was break three Missouri records and lead the Tigers' potent rushing game.

Perhaps Zack Abron will never get the respect he fully deserves.

Coming into this season, he had to face yet another competition for his spot as starting tailback despite being fewer than 1,000 yards short of the all-time school record. Even with fans drooling over incoming runner Damien Nash, Abron easily won his starting spot for the third straight year.

Then he went to work. He failed to get 50 yards in only two games this season, which includes his 46 yards on only 11 carries in the regular season finale against Iowa State. He put together four 100-yard games this season, all on 25 carries or fewer.

His strong running style complemented Brad Smith's spark and helped Missouri become on of the best running teams in the country. Nash never really stood a chance against Abron, even with Abron battling a bad ankle all season.

And in the end, Abron finished as Missouri's all-time leading rusher with 3,061 career rushing yards. He also broke the Tiger records for scoring and touchdowns this season. It was a fitting end for one of the Tigers' most overlooked stars in the past three years.

Abron also improved his receiving skills. Once with hands of stone, Abron became a viable receiving threat out fof the backfield, and he finished third on the Tigers with 25 receptions.

But Abron's rushing record is one doomed to fall and to fall very soon. He might want to get a picture of his plaque on Missouri's wall of records, because Smith has fewer than 800 yards to go to break Abron's rushing record, and Smith has gone for more than 1,000 yards in both of his seasons.

Once again, Abron might be removed from the spotlight. But he definitely gets his due respect on our list, finishing third on our list of the best players of the season.

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