Archive for June, 2012
These kids go from being star athletes in small towns to bug-eyed freshman football players on a big time college campus (or they take a longer JUCO route). On today’s release of the DA Sports Blog Football Preview it is time to take a look at the top incoming freshman and JUCO transfers.1. Trey Metoyer – WR – Oklahoma
Previous School: Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, VA)
Metoyer has an interesting story, he was a five star blue chip recruit and number two rated high school player in the state of Texas in the 2011 class, but ended up having to go to prep school for a season. While at prep school, he hauled in 108 catches for 1540 yards and 23 touchdowns. After a season at prep school, Metoyer enrolled early at OU and shined in spring practice. He made plays throughout the spring earning him a starting wide receiver spot going into two-a-days. Expect Metoyer to become one of Landry Jones’ favorite targets.
2. Wes Lunt – QB – Oklahoma State
Previous School: Rochester High School (Rochester, IL)
Having won the starting job away from junior Clint Chelf, Lunt is poised to take over the same offense that Brandon Weeden had so much success in. Lunt, comes off a season in high school where he threw for 3651 yards and 31 touchdowns. The former Illinois All-State Quarterback, Lunt has high expectations to be the next star quarterback in Stillwater. If he plays under control and smart there is no reason why he cannot grasp the system and have at least a little success.
3. Malcolm Brown – DT – Texas
Previous School: Brenham High School (Brenham, TX)
The six-foot-two, 295 pound, Brown will add to perhaps the nation’s best defensive line. Brown can come in and take up space. He just has to be able to eat up blocks and keep offensive linemen off of the linebackers. If Brown can be one of those guys that demands constant attention, than it’ll pave the way for Texas’ Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat. Brown will surely be a threat for the Longhorns.
4. Will Latu – OT – Oklahoma
Previous School: College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, CA)
The former Gibbs High School (St. Petersburg, FL) took the long road to getting to big time college football. After playing in JUCO at the College of Canyons, this giant offensive tackle has a chance to start at right tackle. With four starters coming back at every other position, Latu can learn a little from those guys and jump in to play alongside of them giving Landry Jones another solid protector.
Previous School: Aledo High School (Aledo, TX)
With Texas already having such an outstanding backfield with Malcolm Brown, along with Jeremey Hills and DJ Monroe, Texas has the best backfield in the Big 12 Conference. Johnathan Gray will add to that undoubtedly. He put up monster numbers in high school rushing, he even set the all-time career high school rushing touchdown record set by former Michigan running back Mike Hart back in 2003. If Gray can have a career anywhere near similar to Hart’s he’ll be making Texas proud.
6. Devonte Fields – DE – TCU
Previous School: Martin High School (Arlington, TX)
Rated as the twelfth best defensive end nationally by Rivals.com, expect Devonte Fields to make an immediate impact for Coach Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs. Fields can work early in his career as a situational pass rusher lining up opposite of Stansly Maponga. Expect Fields to have a big first season at least in the sack stat line.
Previous School: Katy High School (Katy, TX)
Having turned so many heads of coaches, teammates and media during spring practice, Thompson is ready to become another threat in Dana Holgorsen’s offense. Thompson nicknamed “squirt” during spring ball, has a good set of hands out of the slot and can be used in a Tavon Austin type role. Obviously, Thompson is a long way away from being as good as Austin, but if he can develop into that, WVU may just found themselves a diamond in the rough with Thompson who Rivals.com rated just a two-star recruit.
8. Will Smith – MLB – Texas Tech
Previous School: Riverside C.C. (Riverside, CA)
The JUCO transfer didn’t get many offers didn’t have any big time offers, his other scholarship offers came from schools like Nevada and New Mexico, so Smith didn’t have any expectations as he enrolled early at Texas Tech for spring camp. With that he was able to catch the attention of Tommy Tuberville, as Smith recorded six tackles, one tackle for loss and one interception.
9. Toshiro Davis – MLB – Texas
Previous School: Woodlawn High School (Shreveport, LA)
The Longhorns had a little bit of luck on this guy, Davis switched his commitment at the last minute from LSU to Texas. The Longhorns got themselves a good one, in Davis, who could compete for a linebacker job. Davis should be able to give Texas some depth at linebacker as well as play on special teams.
10. Javonte Magee – DE – Baylor
Previous School: Sam Houston High School (San Antonio, TX)
Art Briles landed one of the top defensive ends in the nation who chose Baylor over Texas, LSU and Michigan State. Magee proves how far this Baylor program has come. Prior to Art Briles tenure at Baylor, there was no way Baylor could land a four star recruit, but with Robert Griffin III winning the Heisman and a new stadium in the works, Magee proves Baylor is program with a lot to offer.
Another day of previews, brings the top play makers in the Big 12 to the DA Sports Blog.1. WR Tavon Austin – West Virginia
2011 receiving stats: 101 receptions, 1,186 yards, 8 touchdowns
2011 rushing stats: 16 carries, 182 yards, 1 touchdown
2011 special teams stats: 55 returns, 1,206 yards, 2 touchdowns
West Virginia’s Tavon Austin can do it all, literally. Austin is always all over the field and can torture defenses in several ways. He is a terrific receiver with over 100 grabs last season, the first Mountaineer to ever accomplish that feat. Austin’s feet could be even more dangerous than his hands. He was actively involved in the running game last season, is one of the best returnmen in college football, and led the naton in all-purpose yardage last season. Lots of Austin’s receiving yards come after the catch which makes him one of the biggest threats in the country.
2. RB Joseph Randle – Oklahoma State
2011 rushing stats: 208 carries, 1,216 yards, 24 touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: 43 receptions, 266 yards, 2 touchdowns
Quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon stole the national spotlight for the Cowboys in 2011. Joseph Randle quietly was incredibly productive last year in Oklahoma State’s pass-happy offense. This year, the ‘Boys will likely rely on Randle much more than a year ago. With a 5.8 rushing average last year, Randle is a real threat every time his touches the ball. Randle will look to match his stats from his sophomore year and will probably rush for even more years. You can bet he’ll find the end zone early and often again in 2012.
3. QB Geno Smith – West Virginia
2011 Passing Stats: 4,385 yards, 31 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 65.8% completion percentage
Geno Smith was phenomenal in the first year of the Holgorsen era in Morgantown. He matured greatly from his sophomore season in 2010 to his junior season last year. 2012 should be no different as Smith continues to climb the latter as one of the greatest Mountaineer quarterbacks of all time. Smith’s numbers are likely to improve, which is a very scary thought for Big XVII defenses. Smith and the rest of the WVU offense should now have a firm grasp of the high octane offense. With playmakers all around him, Geno Smith may make some plays look for easy this season.
4. QB Collin Klein – Kansas State
2011 Passing Stats: 1,918 yards, 13 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 57.3% completion percentage
2011 Rushing Stats: 1,448 yards, 27 touchdowns
Klein is a true dual threat quarterback. He can beat defensive with his arm or his feet with great efficiency. Klein is the conference returning leader in rush yards as a quarterback. His style, stats and big frame combine to make legitimate comparisons to Tim Tebow. Klein led the Wildcats to a surprising 10-3 season in 2011. Advancements in his passing game could make Klein one of the biggest playmakers in America.
2011 Passing Stats: 4,463 yards, 29 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 63.2% completion percentage
Jones will enter the 2012 season with some of the biggest expectations for a quarterback in the nation. He’s a pure gun slinger with a huge arm. Jones is already the Oklahoma all-time leader in passing yards and looks to rewrite the record books this season in Norman. This season should be Jones’ best with his number of interceptions decreasing. This 2012 Heisman hopeful is primed for another massive season with eye catching stats and perhaps a national title to conclude his college career.
6. WR Kenny Stills – Oklahoma
2011 receiving stats: 61 receptions, 849 yards, 8 touchdowns
Many may not have expected the production Stills had last season. When Ryan Broyles was lost early in the season, Stills became the go-to guy for quarterback Landry Jones. Stills stepped up very well in Broyles’ absence. This season should be even better for him with the valuable experience he gained during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Stills should be able to rack up 10+ touchdowns and have over 1,000 yards receiving this season.
7. CB Brodrick Brown – Oklahoma State
2011 Defensive Stats: 68 tackles, 15 pass break-ups, 5 interceptions
Brown returns to Stillwater after considering the NFL after last season. At only 5’8, Brown is physically limited, but makes up for it with his aggression. Brown is perhaps the best corner in the conference and came on late last season with 5 straight games with 7 or more tackles to end the year. Also, he was the conference leader in passes defended in 2011.
8. WR Stedman Bailey – West Virginia
2011 receiving stats: 72 receptions, 1,279 yards, 12 touchdowns
The other half of the “Miramar Connection” is Stedman Bailey. Bailey was the only Mountaineer with double-digit receiving touchdowns. He has a knack for being spectacular catches in critical situations and is very explosive with the ball in his hands. Bailey’s production is very impressive by himself, but even more so because of Austin being opposite of him on the field. In 2011, Bailey had five consecutive games with 100+ yards receiving.
2011 Defensive Stats: 58 tackles, 10 pass break-ups, 7 interceptions
Malone led the conference in inceptions last season and was a semifinal for the Jim Thorpe award (nation’s top defensive back). Malone is always around the football and has that special ability to make big plays on the defensive side of the football.
10. RB Malcolm Brown – Texas
2011 Rushing Stats: 172 carries, 742 yards, 5 touchdowns
Brown is the youngest member of this list. The true sophomore had an impressive rookie campaign last year, despite missing 3 games due to a toe injury. He was the top rated tailback in the 2011 national high school recruiting class and rushed for nearly 750 yards in 10 games. Expect Brown to be in a great position to be a 1,000 yard rusher in 2012.
“July 1, 2012 is an important and historic day for our University,” Director of Athletics Oliver Luck said in a press release. “We wanted to do something special for our student-athletes as we join the Big 12 Conference, and bringing them together along with our coaches and staff will be a great way to recognize our membership into a new league.”
New Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby will be in attendance. WVU along with TCU will officially become the ninth and tenth members of the Big 12 Conference.
The event will be held at the Touchdown Terrace of Milan Puskar Stadium and starts at five o’clock. Also, it is closed to the public.
Along with unveiling the uniforms, the new Big 12 logos are now on the football field.
Quick disclaimer: I have no idea about any European prospects in this (or any other) year’s draft, so that’s the reason guys like Evan Fournier who are projected in some mock drafts to go in the first round will not show up in this mock.
1. New Orleans – Anthony Davis, PF (Kentucky)
Absolute no-brainer here for New Orleans who just got a big man that it will be able to build around for years to come. Davis has the ability to change games defensively and has improved his offensive game during his season at Kentucky.
2. Charlotte – Thomas Robinson, PF (Kansas)
There are a couple of different ways the Bobcats can go with the No. 2 pick, but Robinson is going bring a lot of energy and rebounding to Charlotte and he’s shown during his career in college that he’s going to be able to produce. Should be a great pick for Charlotte.
3. Washington – Brad Beal, SG (Florida)
Bringing in Beal should be music to John Wall’s ears, giving him a fantastic backcourt mate who can shoot the lights out. After picking up Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor earlier in the week, adding Beal into the mix could make the Wizards an interesting team to watch next season.
4. Cleveland – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF (Kentucky)
You aren’t going to find another player in this draft with a higher motor than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. MKG could easily be the No. 2 pick in this draft and it would make sense. He’s a small forward who is going to do just about everything for you. Great pick for Cleveland and will be a nice complement to Kyrie Irving.
5. Sacramento – Harrison Barnes, SF (North Carolina)
Barnes should be better in the NBA than he was at North Carolina. With this pick, he’ll give the Kings a guy on the wing with a lot of length who can knock down perimeter jumpers. The biggest knock against Barnes is that he can’t create his own shot very well, but he should be a very good fit in Sacramento alongside of Tyreke Evans.
6. Portland – Damian Lillard, PG (Weber State)
Lillard emerged as the top point guard in the draft after a solid senior season at Weber State. Portland could opt to take a big man here, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Blazers take a point guard here and wait and see who is available between Andre Drummond, Meyers Leonard and Tyler Zeller at No. 11.
7. Golden State – Dion Waiters, SG (Syracuse)
He’s being compared to Dwyane Wade last season and Waiters is going to give whatever team takes him a tough combo guard who has the potential to be a great scorer at the next level. He can penetrate well, and is able to shoot it off the dribble.
8. Toronto – Jeremy Lamb, SG (Connecticut)
The Raptors will likely choose between Lamb and Austin Rivers with this one. Rivers can score in bunches and has the potential to become a very solid player in the NBA. His length will also help him a lot and he’ll be able to run the floor really well.
9. Detroit – John Henson, PF (North Carolina)
Henson gives the Pistons a long, athletic big man to pair up with Greg Monroe in the frontcourt. The UNC product is an explosive shot blocker and is able to make a big difference on the defensive end of the floor and can score well around the basket. His small frame is a bit of a concern at the next level.
10. New Orleans – Austin Rivers, SG (Duke)
Rivers is a very versatile scorer who can play both guard positions, and should be a nice fit in New Orleans with Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis. He creates off the dribble about as well as any other player in this draft.
11. Portland – Andre Drummond, C (Connecticut)
Drummond could easily go at No. 6 in the draft, but a lot of people have questioned his motor and how good he’ll be in the NBA, but the Blazers will get a big man with a ton of potential with this pick if Drummond drops to the 11th pick.
12. Milwaukee – Meyers Leonard, C (Illinois)
The Bucks need some help in the frontcourt and Leonard is an interesting prospect. At 7-feet, the Illinois product is a true center, but Leonard also possesses some freakish athletic ability for a big man that is moving him up draft boards quickly. Wouldn’t be surprised if he turns into an All Star in the league.
13. Phoenix – Kendall Marshall, PG (North Carolina)
There wasn’t a point guard in America that I enjoyed watching more than Marshall. Marshall is a pass-first point guard that you really don’t see as much of anymore in the NBA, and is there a better person for him to learn under in his first couple of seasons in the NBA than Steve Nash? These two are cut from the same cloth and getting to learn under Nash could be great for his development.
14. Houston – Tyler Zeller, C (North Carolina)
Any team that drafts Tyler Zeller knows what they’re getting. He’s a true center who showed while at North Carolina that he is able to run the floor exceptionally well for a big man and could fit in with what the Rockets will try to do.
15. Philadelphia – Jared Sullinger, PF (Ohio State)
Sullinger is one of the examples of a person who should have left after his freshman season. Teams are going to have questions about his back and the problems that he’s had with staying healthy during his time in Columbus, but the reward still beats out the risk in this case. Sullinger can come in and be a good power forward for the Sixers to have when Elton Brand is gone.
16. Houston – Perry Jones III, PF (Baylor)
PJ3 is a versatile forward who will be able to do a little bit of everything for Houston at the small and power forward positions. Although he’s received some criticisms for being inconsistent and ineffective for stretches, Jones is extremely talented and has a ton of athleticism.
17. Dallas – Terrence Jones, PF/SF (Kentucky)
He’s a very skilled player, who (like Perry Jones) is going to be able to play both forward positions at the next level. Probably a better fit as a small forward in the league, would fit in with the Mavericks in the same kind of way that Shawn Marion does. Can slash, knock down midrange jumper (but he does need to work on it) and can rebound the ball, especially on the offensive end.
18. Houston – Terrence Ross, SG (Washington)
The Rockets could likely trade this pick away if reports are true about trying to get Dwight Howard, but taking Ross would make sense. It would give Houston the chance to move Kevin Martin’s contract somewhere else, while bringing in a player with a similar skill set.
19. Orlando – Arnett Moultrie, PF (Mississippi State)
Orlando is likely going to need a big man, assuming a certain all-pro big man leaves town, so with this pick they’re going to go big. Best available at this point will probably be Moultrie, Royce White or Fab Melo if they actually want a true center. Moultrie’s technically a power forward, but he’s got the size and skills to be a center in the NBA. Rebounds extremely well, can score it a little bit and is versatile enough to score from the perimeter as well.
20. Denver – Royce White, PF (Iowa State)
White might be the most undervalued prospect who will go in the first round. A lot of teams have been overlooking him because of his problems with anxiety, but you aren’t going to find a lot of guys with his size (6-foot-8, 261 pounds) who can do as much as him. He has lottery-level talent and is able to pass the ball as well as — maybe better than — any other big man in this year’s draft class.
21. Boston – Moe Harkless, SF (St. John’s)
Harkless had a very solid freshman season under Steve Lavin at St. John’s, and is another prospect who could end up being a steal for Boston or any other team that takes him in the 15-25 range. He’s long and athletic and does a nice job of getting to the basket. If he can find consistency with his perimeter game, he could be a great high-value pick at this point in the first round.
22. Boston – Fab Melo, C (Syracuse)
Melo had some problems with academics in his time at Syracuse, but the Celtics need a guy who can make an impact down low, not pass a math test. His offensive game is still raw, but it’s gotten better and he can make an impact on the defensive end of the floor. He can grow into Boston’s starting center for a long time.
23. Atlanta – Andrew Nicholson, PF (St. Bonaventure)
Nicholson is a great rebounder and underrated scorer, mostly because not a lot of people got to watch him at St. Bonaventure. He should be able to come in and make an immediate impact in Atlanta as a pure post player on a team that doesn’t really have anybody like that at the power forward position.
24. Cleveland – Will Barton, SG (Memphis)
Barton will bring the Cavaliers another good wing player to put with Anthony Parker and MKG. Having players ahead of him will allow him to take some time and develop more instead of having to come in and have an immediate impact. Needs to be a little bit more aggressive going to the basket and cut down on his poor decisions in order to have success at the next level.
25. Memphis – Marquis Teague, PG (Kentucky)
Teague could fit in nicely and bring point guard depth to Memphis, backing up Mike Conley Jr. Really showed a lot of improvement as a game manager toward the second half of last season, and should only continue to get better at that with time in the NBA. He’s best when he can break down a defense and penetrate, not an NBA-level shooter.
26. Indiana – Jeffery Taylor, SF (Vanderbilt)
Taylor proved at the NBA draft combine that he’s a great athlete. He’s gotten better as a perimeter shooter, but isn’t very good at taking his defenders off the dribble. He was an underrated defender last season, and is able to guard shooting guards as well as small forwards.
27. Miami – Draymond Green,PF (Michigan State)
Draymond Green is a winner. He does what he needs to help the team win and will fit into the role that Udonis Haslem has filled so well for Miami in the past. He’s more skilled than a lot of people give him credit for and can do a little bit of everything. Very nice value pick at the end of the first round, absolute steal if he falls to the second round.
28. Oklahoma City – Doron Lamb, SG (Kentucky)
With its young core, Oklahoma City doesn’t really need a ton in this draft, but Lamb will bring the Thunder a solid perimeter shooter who has the ability to run the point a little too.
29. Chicago – John Jenkins, SG (Vanderbilt)
Possibly the best shooter in this year’s draft class, Jenkins will bring just that to Chicago as the Bulls need a consistent three-point shooter to come off the bench.
30. Golden State – Kevin Jones, PF (West Virginia)
Would probably take Quincy Miller from Baylor under most circumstances with this pick, but with the reports that KJ has a first-round guarantee from a team, the Warriors seem like the most logical landing spot for Jones. You know what you’re going to get with Jones. He’s not a great athlete, but knows how to get the job done. Can rebound with the best of them. He’s a lot like Draymond Green.
31. Charlotte – Tony Wroten, PG (Washington)
32. Washington – Evan Fournier, SG (France)
33. Cleveland – Festus Ezeli, C (Vanderbilt)
34. Cleveland – Tyshawn Taylor, PG (Kansas)
35. Golden State – Quincy Miller, SF (Baylor)
36. Sacramento – Jared Cunningham, SG (Oregon State)
37. Toronto – Kevin Murphy, SF (Tennessee Tech)
38. Denver – Kim English, SG (Missouri)
39. Detroit – Miles Plumlee, C (Duke)
40. Portland – Drew Gordon, PF (New Mexico)
41. Portland – Darius Miller, SF (Kentucky)
42. Milwaukee – JaMychal Green, PF (Alabama)
43. Atlanta – Scott Machado, PG (Iona)
44. Detroit – Khris Middleton, SF (Texas A&M)
45. Philadelphia – Kris Joseph, SF (Syracuse)
46. New Orleans – Hollis Thompson, SF (Georgetown)
47. Utah – Robbie Hummel, SF (Purdue)
48. New York – Orland Johnson, SG (UC-Santa Barbara)
49. Orlando – William Buford, SG (Ohio State)
50. Denver – J’Covan Brown, PG (Texas)
51. Boston – Darius Johnson-Odom, SG (Marquette)
52. Golden State – Quincy Acy, SF (Baylor)
53. Los Angeles Clippers – Henry Sims, C (Georgetown)
54. Philadelphia – Kyle O’Quinn, PF (Norfolk State)
55. Dallas – Jae Crowder, SF (Marquette)
56. Toronto – Mike Scott, PF (Virginia)
57. Brooklyn – Cameron Moore, PF (UAB)
58. Minnesota – Marcus Denmon, SG (Missouri)
59. San Antonio – Alex Young, SG (IUPUI)
60. Los Angeles Lakers – Tu Holloway, PG (Xavier)
In the pass happy Big 12, the ultimate neutralizer for an elite passing game, is getting to the quarterback. The DA Sports Blog continues its football preview by ranking the Big 12’s Top Pass Rushers today.
2011 Stats: 58 Tackles, 14 TFL’s, 7 Sacks, 17 QBHs, 2 FF, 1 FR
Okafor is not only the best off the edge defensive end in the Big 12 but perhaps in the country. He is as good as anyone in the SEC like a Sam Montgomery or Barkevious Mingo from Louisiana State. Also, Okafor has is very quick off the football, when attacking inside, he’s way too fast for a guard to play. From the outside he has great hands that can defeat the punch of an offensive tackle, with his array of pass rushing techniques, he is so good. His 17 quarterback hurries proves that he’s a master of harassing quarterbacks.
2. Stansly Maponga (DE) – TCU
2011 Stats: 55 Tackles, 13.5 TFL’s, 9 Sacks, 2 QBHs, 5 FF, 2 FR
Coming from the Mountain West, Maponga did play against some undersized offensive tackles and will have the challenge of playing bigger offensive linemen during the season. Now, it shouldn’t factor in a ton, because Maponga is that good. He is ferocious when trying to get to the quarterback. He flies around the field with a relentless pursuit that allows him to make plays. He can get to the quarterback at any time. And TCU will need that because in order to slow some of these high octane offenses. Add the fact that Maponga can lay the lumber and force a fumble at any time really helps the Horned Frogs.
3. Jackson Jeffcoat (DE) – Texas
2011 Stats: 71 Tackles, 21 TFL’s, 8 Sacks, 9 QBHs, 0 FF, 0 FR
If Texas is real good with just Alex Okafor, add Jackson Jeffcoat to the equation and possibly Texas has the most lethal pass rush in the country. Jeffcoat is even faster than Okafor and gets to the quarterback real well. With great sideline to sideline speed, Jeffcoat has no problem chasing a quarterback down. Jeffcoat could end up with more sacks considering Okafor is on the other side and will get more attention. Jeffcoat is poised for a massive 2012.
4. Meshack Williams (DE) – Kansas State
2011 Stats: 28 Tackles, 10 TFL’s, 7 Sacks, 1 QBH, 1 FF, 1 FR
The K-State pass rush led certainly by Meshack Williams. Williams can get around tackles with ease and finds a way to hunt down the passer. The senior and former JUCO transfer was a situational pass rusher in the first part or his career at KSU. Now, having to prove himself on every single down, it’ll be interesting to see if Williams can get to the quarterback with the success that he maintained last season.
5. Corey Nelson (OLB) – Oklahoma
2011 Stats: 59 Tackles, 8.5 TFL’s, 5.5 Sacks, 3 QBHs, 0 FF, 1 FR
Now Nelson isn’t a guy immediately that one would think of as a pass rusher, having been a steady outside linebacker throughout his Sooner career, but Nelson does have that ability. His ability to get to the quarterback will give the Sooners a faster edge that some of the other schools don’t have. Nelson, rated as Phil Steele’s 15th best linebacker in the country is sure to be a factor for Oklahoma.
6. RJ Washington (DE) – Oklahoma
2011 Stats: 16 Tackles, 5 TFL’s, 5 Sacks, 3 QBHs, 2 FF, 0 FR
Washington has some good speed edge and played in 2011 as a situational pass rusher. Now he has to be a three down starter, Washington has to show that same relentless pass rush that he showed in 2011. If he can get to the quarterback it’ll give Oklahoma a fierce pass rush with both Washington and Nelson.
7. Toben Opurum (DE) – Kansas
2011 Stats: 45 Tackles, 10.5 TFL’s, 4 Sacks, 7 QBHs, 1 FF, 0 FR
A former running back, Opurum was moved from the backfield to the defensive line after the the 2010 season and right away became a threat that Kansas needed. Opurum runs around well, its scary when a defensive end has tailback speed and that’s what Opurum possesses. Expect now with a full season under his belt at end to full understand the position. Opurum could have a huge breakout type season for the Jayhawks.
8. Will Clarke (DE) – West Virginia
2011 Stats: 34 Tackles, 5 TFL’s, 2 Sacks, 0 QBH, 0 FF, 0 FR
Replacing Brue Irvin and Julian Miller cannot be pinned on one guy. The WVU defensive line is going have to collectively replace the duo that got to and sacked the quarterback 37.5 times. Clarke inhibits some nice pass rushing moves and has decent speed. With new d-line coach Erik Slaughter in Morgantown, it’ll be interesting to see how much he raises Clarke’s game. In order for WVU to play well on defense Clarke’s going to have to produce for WVU.
9. Vai Lutui (DT) – Kansas State
2011 Stats: 34 Tackles, 2.5 TFL’s, 1 Sack, 1 QBH, 0 FF, 1 FR
Typically an interior pass rush is an afterthought, but Lutui is a guy who presence doesn’t go unnoticed. At six-foot-two, 290 pounds, Lutui forces most center and guard combos to double team him. Since they have to double team him he frees up other people to get to the quarterback in passing situations. Lutui demands as much attention as the speed guys on this list.
10. David Johnson (DE) – TCU
2011 Stats: 28 Tackles, 7 TFL’s, 3 Sacks, 0 QBHs, 0 FF, 0 FR
Now Johnson isn’t the stud the Stansly Maponga is, having to play inside but he certainly is going to get as much opportunity as Maponga. With Maponga receiving all the off the edge attention, getting double team by tackles and backs or tight ends, Johnson most the time will be lined up in one on one situations. He can give Coach Gary Patterson a great second pass rusher.
This week, we begin the second week of our 2012 college football season preview by breaking down the top 10 wide receivers in the Big 12 Conference this season.
1. Tavon Austin – West Virginia
2011 receiving stats: 101 catches, 1,186 yards, eight touchdowns
2011 rushing stats: 16 carries, 182 yards, one touchdown
2011 special teams stats: 55 returns (kick & punt), 1,206 yards, two touchdowns
After his breakout performance in last year’s Orange Bowl, Austin looks to be the top playmaker in the Big 12 this season and his versatility is what puts him on the top of this list. The first Mountaineer receiver to catch 100 passes in a season, the senior Dunbar, Md., native’s numbers could only get better in the second season in head coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense. He led the nation in all-purpose yards with 2, 574 and will also be one of the nation’s best kick returners this season as well.
2. Kenny Stills – Oklahoma
2011 receiving stats: 61 catches, 849 yards, eight touchdowns
With the exit of Ryan Broyles, Stills is going to be counted on as Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones’s No. 1 target in the Sooner passing game this season. Stills was put into the go-to role last year when Broyles missed the last four games of the season and averaged just five catches and 50 yards per game with no scores in that time, but scored eight touchdowns in the first nine games of the 2011 season.
3. Stedman Bailey – West Virginia
2011 receiving stats: 72 catches, 1,279 yards, 12 touchdowns
Having a playmaker like Tavon Austin on one side of the field could be enough to help make any offense in the Big 12 successful, but West Virginia boasts another 1,000-yard receiver on the other side in the sure-handed Bailey. Geno Smith’s go-to guy at Miramar High School (Fla.) bursted onto the scene last year after showing glimpses of his potential as a redshirt freshman. His 1,279 yards was the highest total for any receiver in a single season in school history and he and Austin have a chance to break a lot of career records in 2012.
4. Terrance Williams – Baylor
2011 receiving stats: 59 catches, 957 yards, 11 touchdowns
Baylor’s got quite a few weapons to replace on offense this season. Quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is gone, as is 1,000-yard rusher Terrance Ganaway. But Williams will be expected to fill the shoes of Kendall Wright, who hauled in more than 100 passes last season for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns. Williams put up numbers of his own last season, scoring 11 touchdowns and had Baylor’s game-winning touchdown pass against Oklahoma. Williams’s talent should be perfect to help out new starting quarterback Nick Florence in 2012.
5. Tracy Moore – Oklahoma State
2011 receiving stats: 45 catches, 672 yards, four touchdowns
The Cowboys have quite a void to fill in the passing game after Justin Blackmon departed for the NFL and Moore will be the guy to take his place. In the spring, Moore moved from inside receiver to the outside, lost weight and got faster and proved to be a playmaker in the downfield passing game. He might not be the most recognizable name on this list, but there’s a very good chance that Moore breaks out this season in Stillwater.
6. Jaxon Shipley – Texas
2011 receiving stats: 44 catches, 607 yards, three touchdowns
Texas had trouble finding a reliable quarterback during the 2011 season, but that didn’t stop Shipley from showing flashes of brilliance before being sidelined for the last three games of the season with a knee injury. As a freshman last season, Shipley came in and produced immediately. Shipley could be the next big name at Texas following in his brother’s footsteps.
7. Josh Boyce – TCU
2011 receiving stats: 61 catches, 998 yards, nine touchdowns
For the second year in a row Boyce will be the go-to guy for the Horned Frogs. As a sophomore last season, Boyce finished with 998 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been known to catch just about anything that is thrown his way and has the elusiveness to make a lot of plays in the open field. He should have a big season in TCU’s first season in the Big 12.
8. Mike Davis – Texas
2011 receiving stats: 45 catches, 609 yards, one touchdown
On the other side of Jaxon Shipley is Davis, who is looking to rebound after what he admitted was a rough sophomore season in Austin. Even with his struggles throughout the year, Davis led the Longhorns in catches and receiving yards. If Texas can find a way to get consistent quarterback play from either David Ash or Case McCoy, it will have a solid one-two punch to throw to in Davis and Shipley.
9. Skye Dawson – TCU
2011 receiving stats: 45 catches, 500 yards, five touchdowns
The only senior among the TCU receivers, Dawson has the speed and ability to make big plays. Playing alongside of a playmaker like Boyce should help Dawson get less attention from defenses in the Big 12 and give him more opportunities to come away with some big plays.
10. Trey Metoyer – Oklahoma
2010 high school stats (spent 2011 at Hargrave Military Academy): 108 catches, 1,540 yards and 23 touchdowns
The only freshman on the list, Metoyer came to Oklahoma in the spring and immediately showed he can make an impact in his first season. He could also benefit from the fact that two of the Sooners’ top receivers from last season, Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks, were suspended indefinitely in May and head coach Bob Stoops said they had their scholarships taken away. Metoyer led all Oklahoma receivers in its Spring Game and has been compared to former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant.
This is the third day of The Daily Athenaeum’s college football preview, and today we look at the top running backs in the Big 12 Conference.
1. Joseph Randle – Oklahoma State
2011 rushing stats: 1,216 yards, 24 touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: 43 catches, 266 yards, two touchdowns.
Randle is the top returning running back, statistically at least, in the Big 12 Conference. In a pass-happy offense in Stillwater, it’s easy for the junior tailback to be overlooked. But, with the departure of quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon to the NFL, one can only assume that Randle will be relied on much more heavily this season.
2. Malcolm Brown – Texas
2011 rushing stats: 742 yards, five touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: Three catches, 17 yards
Brown had an impressive freshman campaign, leading the Longhorns in rushing. Injuries forced the No. 1 running back recruit in the nation in 2010 to miss three games last season. But, despite the injuries, Brown was still able to earn the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Award. One can only assume Brown will be healthy and ready to progress as one of the best young running backs in the Big 12.
3. Dominique Whaley – Oklahoma
2011 rushing stats: 627 yards, nine touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: 15 catches, 153 yards
With only 672 rushing yards on 113 attempts last season, you’re probably wondering why Whaley is so high on the list. However, an ankle injury a year ago cut his season short after only six games. Whaley is still not back to full strength and it is still unknown how effective he will be early in the season. But one thing is certain – Whaley is one of the most explosive backs in the country when he is at full strength.
4. Ed Wesley – TCU
2011 rushing stats: 726 yards, six touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: Six catches, 82 yards
TCU consistently used a three-back rotation in 2011, but Wesley was the most impressive. Wesley registered 1,078 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign and is prepped for another 1,000 yard season.
5. James Sims – Kansas
2011 rushing stats: 727 yards, nine touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: 14 catches, 119 yards
Sims may not have the statistics to be the fifth-ranked back on the list, but he certainly has the talent. The Jayhawks passing attack struggled mightily a year ago which enable opposing defenses to focus on containing the speed of Sims. But with hiring of offensive-minded Charlie Weis, look for Sims to find more holes this season. He will, however, have to serve a three-game suspension first.
6. Trey Millard – Oklahoma
2011 rushing stats: 169 yards (24 carries), two touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: 13 catches, 127 yards, one touchdown
Millard’s ability to do a little bit of everything brings him in at No. 6 on the list. The defending First Team All-Big 12 member makes a huge impact on special teams and not just on offense. In fact, he led the Sooners in special teams tackles a year ago and scored three non-offensive touchdowns.
7. Eric Stephens – Texas Tech
2011 rushing stats: 565 yards, eight touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: 16 catches, 133 yards
Stephens posted 565 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season in just five games. A knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. The Red Raiders haven’t decided if Stephens will be redshirted this season to ensure a full recovery. But if he is on the field, expect him to record impressive numbers.
8. John Hubert – Kansas State
2011 rushing stats: 970 yards, three touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: 24 catches, 188 yards, one touchdown
Hubert only had 200 rushing attempts in 2011. This is due to the dual-threat ability of starting quarterback Collin Klein. But one can assume Hubert will get more carries in 2012 after proving himself as a viable option in the backfield to compliment the speedy Klein.
9. Matthew Tucker – TCU
2011 rushing stats: 702 yards, 12 touchdowns
2011 receiving stats: 10 catches, 113 yards
Tucker joins teammate Ed Wesley on the list. Tucker is a stout, 227-pound back who recorded 12 touchdowns a year ago. He was the go-guy at the goalline for Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson. Look for Tucker to finish his career at TCU with a strong season.
10. Lache Seastrunk – Baylor
Sat out last season after transferring from Oregon
Many may be surprised to find Seastrunk rounding out the top 10. He was one of the top recruits in the 2010 class before committing to Oregon. But, a recruiting issue forced the back to transfer to Baylor. After sitting out last season, he rushed for 138 yards on only seven carries in the Bears’ spring game, and is one of the fastest backs in the conference.
It is day two of the DA’s Football Preview and there is no better time than now to rank the Big 12 Quarterbacks. In this air raided conference, this is the position that makes this conference go. Checkout Full Analysis in this video breakdown of the Big 12 Starting Quarterbacks.
2011 Passing Stats: 4385 yards, 31 TD’s, 7 INT’s, Completion Percentage: 65.8%
2011 Rushing Stats: -33 yards, 2 TD’s
Last season, Geno Smith thrived in year one of Dana Holgorsen’s offense. Now while year one was great for Smith, he told reporters during the spring that he “left a couple thousand yards out on the field.” One of the great things about Smith is that he is always nitpicking himself. Every time the majority of people (coaches, media & even fans) thinks Smith makes a good play, he’ll find something right to fix. Expect Smith who has perhaps the best receiving core in the nation with Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin to have a huge 2012 season.
2. Landry Jones – Oklahoma
2011 Passing Stats: 4463 yards, 29 TD’s, 15 INT’s, Completion Percentage: 63.2%
2011 Rushing Stats: -24 yards, 2 TD’s
The sure armed Landry Jones has had huge expectations throughout his entire career at Oklahoma, and 2012 is no different. Jones is expected to carry an offense that has national championship hope. Jones under Bob Stoops has endured some bad losses like last season getting upset by Texas Tech in Norman. But with a good offensive line and young receiver group around him, there is no reason for Jones to struggle in 2012. If he uses his weapons in Kenny Stills and newcomer Trey Metoyer, he should have more success this year.
2011 Passing Stats: 1918 yards, 13 TD’s, 6 INT’s, Completion Percentage: 57.3%
2011 Rushing Stats: 1448 yards, 27 TD’s
The true dual threat quarterback, Klein is good at managing and making key plays for the Wildcats to win games. In this pass happy league, Klein brings a different element to the game than these other gunslingers. Klein is like a poor man’s Tim Tebow (while at Florida). He just finds ways to win. His road wins last season against Miami and Texas were very impressive, in those two games he combined for five touchdowns.
4. Casey Pachall – TCU
2011 Passing Stats: 2911 yards, 25 TD’s, 7 INT’s, Completion Percentage: 66.5%
2011 Rushing Stats: 51 yards, 2 TD’s
The Mountain West isn’t the Big 12, but for Pachall that should be no problem at all. Last season no one thought he could effectively replace former Horned Frog, Andy Dalton. He did that with ease. Pachall threw the ball to Josh Boyce, Skye Dawson, and Antoine Hicks who all had over 30 catches. Good news for Pachall is that all three of those guys return. Pachall should fit right in with the rest of the Big 12 passers.
5. Nick Florence – Baylor
2011 Passing Stats: 151 yards, 2 TD’s, 0 INT’s, Completion Percentage: 70%
2011 Rushing Stats: 14 yards, 1 TD
For Baylor, replacing Heisman Trophy Winner, Robert Griffin III, is no picnic, but senior Nick Florence has been waiting for a long time to replace Griffin III. Florence shined in the Baylor spring game, completing 14-18 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns, leaving no doubt to Head Coach Art Briles that he can step in for Griffin III.
6. Seth Doege – Texas Tech
2011 Passing Stats: 4004 yards, 28 TD’s, 10 INT’s, Completion Percentage: 68.5%
2011 Rushing Stats: 46 yards, 4 TD’s
On a bad team, it is clear that Doege wasn’t the problem for the Red Raiders. Texas Tech’s defense was awful and everyone knows it. The fact that they were always behind means they were one dimensional in 2011, not having any time to run the football. Doege had constant pressure of throwing the ball. And since he threw for 28 touchdowns in comparison to just 10 interceptions is impressive.
2011 Passing Stats: 1068 yards, 4 TD’s, 8 INT’s, Completion Percentage: 56.6%
2011 Rushing Stats: 103 yards, 1 TD
After playing in tandem with Case McCoy, it seems like Ash has finally claimed the Longhorn quarterback job. In order to be successful all Ash has to do is make plays when it matters and manage the game. Texas has the best run game in the Big 12 and probably will rely on it most the time. But when they need a throw Ash has to be able to look for receivers Jaxon Shipley and Marquise Goodwin.
8. Wes Lunt – Oklahoma State
2011 Passing Stats (HS): 3651 yards, 31 TD’s
Transitioning from the 28 year old, Brandon Weeden to true freshman Wes Lunt won’t be easy for the Cowboys. They’ve had so much offensive success in recent history, so leaving it in the hands of a freshman would leave most head coaches a little scared. Mike Gundy told reporters after making the decision. “He has a good demeanor. He has a good knowledge of the game. He makes mistakes – Brandon Weeden made mistakes in his first year even though he was a more mature player – but some players have a calm demeanor and are able to execute better than others in critical situations and he showed signs of that. He has a lot of work ahead of him, but we feel like he has a very bright future.”
9. Jared Barnett – Iowa State
2011 Passing Stats: 1201 yards, 6 TD’s, 6 INT’s, Completion Percentage: 50%
2011 Rushing Stats: 437 yards, 1 TD
The redshirt sophomore, Barnett gained a lot of experience during the 2011 season. Barnett was able to start six games and played well in those games. He even three 376 yards and three touchdowns in the Cyclones’ upset win over Oklahoma State last season. Jared Barnett earned Iowa State’s Ray Scott Award, the award given to the best offensive player.
10. Dayne Crist – Kansas
2011 Passing Stats: 164 yards, 1 INT, Completion Percentage: 62.5%
Wow, has Christ come full circle. Heavily recruited by Notre Dame and Charlie Weis, Crist struggled to do anything well as a member of the Irish. But now back under Weis at Kansas, Crist has the reigns of the Jayhawks. While no one is expecting Christ to do anything exceptional, KU could be the perfect place for him just because of that.
To kick off the DA’s College Football Preview, the Big 12 Head Coaches are ranked.
1. Bob Stoops – Oklahoma
Record at OU: 139-34
There has been a ton of ups and downs in Norman since Stoops took over in 1999. Stoops has won seven Big 12 Championships, and won the National Title in 2000, but hasn’t been able to win the National Title since then. He’s had slip ups in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State and West Virginia, and he’s had some brutal upset losses like the one last season against Texas Tech. But overall it is tough to deny Stoops of his seven conference championships and one national title. Also, add in the fact that he’s brought great talent into Norman with eleven straight top twenty recruiting classes, it proves that Stoops has done a great job.
2. Mack Brown – Texas
Record at Texas: 141-39
Touted as the biggest name in Big 12 coaching, two Big 12 titles, a national championship and the fact that Mack Brown is the highest paid coach in the entire country gives him this spot on the list. Brown makes over 5.1 million dollars a year. Now, while Brown’s salary is high, he may be in the process of his toughest coaching job yet. After a dismal 2010 missing a bowl game, the Horns turned it around with an 8-5 mark in 2011. For 2012, Brown will have the task of bringing this Texas team full circle. Also, one great thing that Brown has done while at Texas is not abandoned the run game. In the pass happy Big 12, it is probably very easy to go with the gunslinger offense, but going into 2012 Texas may have the best run game in the conference.
3. Gary Patterson – Texas Christian
Record at TCU: 109-30
Patterson has done a phenomenal job keeping the Horned Frogs nationally relevant since he took over. He’s now overcome three different conference changes, winning in all the leagues he has coached in. Patterson has one C-USA championship and four Mountain West Championships. In 2009 Patterson was the consensus National Coach of the Year. The Horned Frogs head man, Patterson, took the Horned Frogs to two BCS Bowl Games in the last four years. Now in the Big 12, Patterson will have to prove his Frogs can do it again, but this time with the big boys. Also one negative with Patterson’s time at TCU, is the recent drug scandal that hit during spring practice. The scandal led to four players including linebacker Tanner Brock getting kicked off the squad.
4. Bill Snyder – Kansas State
Record at K-State: 159-83-1
There is nothing but good to say about Bill Snyder. He has resurrected the K-State football program, not once, but twice. He has taken the Wildcats program to a place where it was before he retired after the 2005 season. Snyder got quality players back into Manhattan where they have turned the Wildcats into one of the top fifteen programs in the nation. Snyder at 72 years old collected his most recent award, the Woody Hayes Coach of the Year award for the 2011 season. Now, if those doubters say he’s too old to connect with his young college players, think again, just look at the way Colin Klein plays the game.
5. Mike Gundy – Oklahoma State
Record at OSU: 59-30
Having gotten players into the school like Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, Dez Bryant and Levy Adcock, Gundy has done a phenomenal job with recruiting and getting players that fit his system. Besides the “I’m a man, I’m forty,” mantra that Gundy is known for, the Cowboys have gotten closer and closer to the National Title game. They just haven’t finished the deal yet. If not for a slip up at Iowa State on a Friday night in November, Gundy might have a title appearance on his resume. But with that Gundy has one conference title and a Fiesta Bowl victory under his belt during his tenure at OK State.
6. Dana Holgorsen – West Virginia
Record at WVU: 10-3
7. Art Briles – Baylor
Record at Baylor: 25-25
Having groomed and raised Robert Griffin III into a Heisman winner, and having taken a program that had seen better days into a program to be reckon with, Briles has done a real good getting the Bears onto the college football scene. With an explosive offensive game and a good enough defensive team to compete in the Big 12, Briles has done a nice job taking a step forward with this team. The toughest thing to do for Briles going forward to do is replace Robert Griffin III effectively.
8. Paul Rhoads – Iowa State
Record at ISU: 18-20
After taking over a job that was so hard for Gene Chizik (5-19 at ISU), Rhoads rejuvenated the program. Rhoads at Iowa State have taken the Cyclones to two bowl games in three years and hadn’t been to a bowl game since 2005. The Cyclones are now not a bottom feeder of the Big 12 and are highly competitive under Rhoads. Consider that, with Rhoads’ signature wins in 2010 against #22 Texas on the road (ISU’s first win on the road since 1990) and the Cyclones monster upset of #2 Oklahoma State this past November and Rhoads has done more than a decent job.
9. Tommy Tuberville – Texas Tech
Record at TTU: 13-12
The 2004 Walter Camp Coach of the Year, Tuberville had so much success while at Auburn in the SEC. Tuberville their even had perfect season in 2004. But his team at Texas Tech has not gotten quite up to par with those Auburn teams he’s had. Tuberville is just a game over .500 and has only one bowl victory to show for it. The Red Raiders also finished ninth in the Big 12 for the 2011 season. Tuberville has some more work to do in Lubbock before the Red Raiders make an impact in the Big 12 conference title race.
10. Charlie Weis – Kansas
Record at KU: 0-0
The former New England Patriots Assistant and Notre Dame Fighting Irish Head Coach, Weis has gotten another head coaching gig with the Jayhawks. Now while Weis came up short at Notre Dame with losses in the Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl plus a 3-9, 2007 season. Weis has a lot to prove at KU but this maybe the perfect job to do it. No one expects Kansas to win, so for Weis he’s in a good spot. He’s brought in some of his old Notre Dame recruits like quarterback Dayne Christ.
Spring Valley High School (Huntington, W. Va), fullback, Elijah Wellman has committed to West Virginia.
Late last night on Twitter, Wellman tweeted:
— Elijah Wellman (@BigLij28) June 19, 2012
Wellman, who plays fullback and linebacker for Spring Valley will play fullback for Dana Holgorsen’s offense. The future Mountaineer had other offers from Ohio, Marshall, Bowling Green and Charlotte.
Wellman is the second back of the 2013 class to commit. Back in April, DeShawn Coleman of Hickory High School committed.