Every year, a few elite players that decided to return for their senior seasons start to move up the record books. Last year some of the most prolific passers in NCAA history left with their names all over the record book (Keenum and Moore specifically), but there are plenty of people looking to make history this year; Ball, Barkley, and Jones, just to name a few.
Landry Jones already comes in at No. 18 in FBS history in career passing yards and is looking to move up. With 12,379 yards, he is behind Case Keenum's record by 6,838 yards, but Jones is only 4,693 yards (behind Hawaii's Timmy Chang) away from becoming the second most prolific passer of all-time. Jones threw for over 4,700 yards as a sophomore and is entirely capable of passing Chang for number two. At the very least, Jones will surpass Graham Harrell of Texas Tech as the nation number 3 passer and set a Big 12 career record.
Also, Jones has thrown 93 touchdown passes in his three years in Norman, good for No. 22 all-time. Taking his average of 31 TD's per season, Jones will move into fifth place. If he has a standout year, 42 TD's will give him the Big 12 record over Harrell and put him at No. 3 nationally, behind only Keenum (155) and Kellen Moore (142).
Another QB who will be moving on up this year is USC's Matt Barkley. With USC a heavy favorite in the Pac-12 South, Barkley should likely play 14 games this season.
Barkley already has 9,054 yards and 80 TD's. He won't reach the level of Landry Jones, but he should still place very high at the end of the year. A very possible 4,000 yards will put him in the top 10 with just over 13,000 yards.
In terms of TD's, Barkley needs only 33 to reach the top 10, last year's per game average with this years 14 games would give Barkley another 45 and 125 for his career, good enough for No. 6 behind Keenum, Moore, Harrell, Jones, and Colt Brennan.
More importantly perhaps, Barkley should leave with both Pac-12 records.
A heisman finalist a year ago, Ball has some special career accomplishments awaiting him in his last season as a Badger.
After 33 rushing touchdowns in 2011, Ball is only 18 behind Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) and his record of 73 TD's, which has stood since 1999. Barring injury, Ball appears to be a lock to leave Madison with more rushing touchdowns than anyone to ever play FBS football. Wisconsin will then be home to the most rushing TD's as well as yards, held by former Badger Ron Dayne.
In terms of yards, Ball will also have a special career. With only 3,310 yards, he most likely isn't going to make the top 5, but Ball only needs 26 more yards than last year's 1,923 to pass Herschel Walker for No. 10.
No wide receiver is likely to end the season in the top ten for either yards or touchdowns, but I will mention a few that could crack the top 25.
Conner Vernon of Duke is the active leader in yards with 2,675. He has had solid production all three seasons, never topping 1,000 yards. Giving Vernon a career best 1,050 would put him at number 25.
Marquess Wilson of Washington State has accumulated 2,394 yards in only two seasons. With Mike Leach taking over as head coach and Jeff Tuel returning at QB, Wilson could easily surpass last year's 1,388. 1,500 would get Wilson in the top 20 and only 1,330 yards are needed for the top 25.
Robert Woods of USC is tied for the active lead in career touchdowns with 21 in two seasons, including 15 last year. With two more games this season, Woods should match and most likely exceed last year's total. 15 would put him in a tie for 19th, and a monstrous 20 TD season would crack the top 10.
David Amerson's 2011 campaign was ridiculous. His 13 INT's were 2nd most all-time and the most since 1968. Assuming a repeat is possible, Amerson's 26 career INT's would be good enough for No. 4. A more modest 8, would put Amerson in a tie for tenth.
Georgia's Bacarri Rambo and Tulsa's Dexter McCoil each have 13 career INT's as well. But McCoil has never had more than 6 in a season and Rambo will start the season with a four game suspension. Each will need 8 more INT's to reach the top ten.
With Arizona LB Brian Wagner's decision to quit football, with a good chance of becoming the NCAA's leading tackler since defensive statistics became official in 2000, Travis Freeman of Ball State is the active leader in the category. Currently Tim McGarigle of Nortwestern has the record with 545 tackles since 2000, but that number places him at No. 18 in an attempt at finding the all-time list.
His 134 tackles last season gave Freeman a career total of 336. With a slightly improved 139 tackles this season, Freeman will leave the Cardinals as the No. 10 tackler since the stat became official, however he will still trail Justin Beriault for the school record.
Notre Dame's Manti Te'o could also make some noise with 324 tackles coming into 2012.
Brandon Jenkins of Florida State has recorded 21.5 sacks thus far, including 13.5 in 2010. His production fell to only 8 sacks last season, but he still only needs 12 more to crack the top ten since the stat became official in 2000. He would need 22.5 to reach the top ten since 1980.
Jenkins also has 36.5 tackles for a loss, including 21.5 as a sophomore in 2010. A repeat of 2010 would put Jenkins in the top 20 to end his career.
The FBS active leader in TFL's is only entering his junior year. Roosevelt Nix of Kent State has recorded 37 TFL's in only two years. He had 20 in 2010 and 17 in 2011. He is nearly half way to the record and with two seasons left if he so chooses, the record is well within reach. It will take Nix 24 TFL's this season to crack the top 10 since 2000 and 21 for the top 20.