Jeremiah Masoli and the Top Collegians Who Won't Play in 2010
Every college football fan knows much of what happens on the field is dictated by what happens off it.
The 2010 offseason has been no different, with suspensions, arrests, transfers, and early declarations for the NFL Draft changing team dynamics all over the country.
Here's this writer's 2010 All-M.I.A. team, which is just a smattering of the changes that have taken place around the country during the past few months at numerous significant programs.
Comment at will with the dozens of players whom I undoubtedly missed. I felt these were some of the more prominent gaps at their respective positions.
QB: Zach Mettenberger
Highly touted redshirt freshman Zach Mettenberger came into the spring as a top contender for Georgia's starting quarterback position.
He blew it though, first getting arrested during his spring break for underage alcohol consumption, and finally breaking Mark Richt's trust by violating team rules again. Mettenberger was kicked off the team on April 18.
Fellow redshirt freshman Aaron Murray said Mettenberger's already learned from his mistakes, but it wasn't in time to stay a Bulldog.
In the meantime, the quarterback competition in Athens will be between Murray and junior Logan Gray, who spelled Joe Cox at times during the 2009 season.
QB: Jeremiah Masoli
After getting taken down in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, the Ducks aren't having a particularly great 2010 so far.
A string of arrests have plagued the roster during the past few months, perhaps none more embarrassing than quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's role in a campus burglary that led to his suspension by coach Chip Kelly for all of 2010.
He pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary charges in March and will have to serve community service and pay restitution. Masoli will also have to pay with not getting a chance to follow up a terrific 2009 season because of his stupidity.
RB: Bryce Brown
One mystery has been the decision of rising sophomore running back Bryce Brown to leave Tennessee. Citing "personal reasons," he is currently not a part of the team, although he was never officially booted.
The top running back recruit of his class, who was also beset with injury issues, Brown was nonetheless a solid back-up to Montario Hardesty last season, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and accounting for four touchdowns.
There's been speculation he'll go to Kansas State and join his brother there; others thought he might join former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin at USC.
Whatever happens, it doesn't appear he's welcome to return to the Vols; fellow running back David Oku was asked by GoVolsXtra if Brown's potential return would upset team chemistry, and Oku said it probably would.
RB: Harvey Unga
Harvey Unga decided to return for another season with BYU rather than go to the NFL, but a violation of the school's honor code policy has de-railed that for the time being.
The record-setting Cougar, a rising senior, voluntarily withdrew from BYU last week for an undisclosed violation of the conservative institution's strict honor policy.
He's the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,455 yards and had established himself as one of the Mountain West's hardest-running backs. There's still a chance he could re-join the team, but for now, it looks like the Cougars will have to replace their star.
WR: Dezmon Briscoe
Kansas' 2009 season wasn't a roller coaster so much as it was like a simple water slide; a nice climb up and a long fall down.
Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe provided a mark of consistency, snagging 84 passes for 1,337 yards and nine touchdowns, including a 242-yard, two-score game in a season-ending loss to Missouri.
The physical Briscoe opted not to come back for his senior year and come out in a strong wide receiver class, falling to the Bengals in the sixth round. There's no doubting his abilities, but he would have been wise to stay a year.
The competition doesn't get any easier in Cincinnati, with the likes of Jordan Shipley, Chad Ochocinco, and Antonio Bryant also on the roster.
TE: Joseph Fauria
Notre Dame's loss was UCLA's gain in redshirt sophomore tight end transfer Joseph Fauria (photo from Flickr.com), who figures to play a prominent role with fellow tight end Cory Harkey in the Bruin offense in 2010.
Fauria played a season with the Fighting Irish (just three games of action), but was suspended by the school's Office of Residential Life and Housing for undisclosed reasons and decided that he'd had enough in South Bend. Popular perception on Notre Dame's campus was that Fauria got a raw deal and a punishment that didn't fit whatever his offense was.
Apparently, he's quite the clown and a favorite of his new teammates. He's also re-united with high school teammate and Bruin quarterback Kevin Prince, and he scored a couple touchdowns in UCLA's spring scrimmage.
OL: Aaron Douglas
Tennessee took another blow in March when All-American offensive tackle Aaron Douglas said he would be leaving the program.
He would have been the team's most experienced offensive lineman in 2010 and was expected to play at left tackle. Like Brown, he missed spring practices dealing with personal issues.
Now, his departure means the Vols must replace every member of the front five from 2009.
(Photo from GoVolsXtra)
DL: Gary Brown
We've seen steady improvement in Florida coach Urban Meyer's discipline of, well, discipline.
Choosing to suspend linebacker Brandon Spikes initially for one half (against Vanderbilt, no less) for gouging the eyes of Georgia's Washaun Ealey, he was rightly criticized for being too light in that punishment. Then he suspended defensive end Carlos Dunlap for the SEC Championship game for his DUI arrest, which was appropriate.
Defensive tackle Gary Brown's offenses merited harsher treatment, as he was expelled from the Gators for being charged with misdemeanor battery against two women.
Brown, just 19, came into Florida as one of the most highly touted recruits in the country, but he left it as a disappointment who couldn't get his act together off the field.
LB: David Pa'aluhi
Oregon State's defensive corps took a blow when middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi surprised the Beavers with his decision to leave and perhaps pursue a career in the military.
That honorable tune has changed a bit for the rising junior who, with 96 tackles and two forced fumbles in 2009, had established himself as a strong defensive player in the Pac-10.
News has recently surfaced that Pa'aluhi might wash up with Hawaii, where, when he was eligible to play again in 2011, he would face his old team.
DB: Walter Aikens
When your head coach says you've got yourself in "a bundle of issues," as reported by ESPN, then you're probably gambling your roster spot.
That's what Illinois coach Ron Zook had to say about his talented young safety Walter Aikens, who was arrested on felony possession of stolen property and indefinitely suspended from the Illini. Defensive tackle Lendell Buckner has also been suspended for burglary charges stemming from the same incident that involves Aikens.
A promising young talent who had five starts last season, Aiken's bid for a starting job will be replaced by a bid to simply keep his scholarship.