Who's The Best "Impact Player" In The Nation? Newton, Stanzi, James, Moore???
What is an "Impact Player"?
Alright, here are the criteria I've used in selecting the TOP 10 IMPACT PLAYERS in CFB today:
- An "impact player" is that player who gives his teammates confidence that they can win -- without regard to the present circumstances -- so long as he is in the game.
- Impact players are those players without whom their teams could not have attained their present level of accomplishment.
- Impact players are those who coaches can rely upon to deliver the explosive play, create the crucial turnover, or otherwise act to turn momentum in the game toward their teams.
- Impact players are the "heart and soul" of their respective teams.
Yes, the criteria listed above are quite subjective. The top Impact Player need not be the best overall football player in his position in the country. He will certainly be among the best, however. Remember, its about the four criteria listed above.
Naturally, there will be dissenting opinions galore. That's okay. Your point of view is welcome.
IMPACT PLAYER #10: COLIN KAEPERNICK: NEVADA
COLIN KAEPERNICK -- IMPACT PLAYER #10
At the helm for the Wolf Pack of Nevada, is a 6'6" tall, 223 lbs., from Turlock, CA is the ever dangerous Colin Kaepernick. Senior QB.
As things stand, it is entirely possible that Kapernick will become the first player in NCAA history to toss the pig for 2000 yards and rush for a cool 1000 more for the third year in a row.
Kaepernick's blazing speed and canyon-wide stride is reminiscent of University of Texas great Vince Young.
- 2007 -- 2,175 yards, 19 touchdowns against only 3 picks. Completion percentage = 54%
- 2008 -- 2,849 yards, 22 touchdowns against 7 interceptions. Completion percentage = 54%
- 2009 -- 2,052 yards, 20 touchdowns against 5 picks. Completion percentage = 59%
- 2010 Thus Far -- 1,670 yards, 12 touchdowns against 5 picks. Completion percentage = 68%
- Career -- 8,746 yards, 73 touchdowns.
Kaepernick's arm has been a question-mark throughout his career. Given that the Pack is a run-oriented squad, Kaepernick's passing ability will remain an issue for some time to come.
On the season, he has led his team to a 7-1 record, thumping Cal (52-31), thrashed Utah State (56-42), and sent BYU packing 27-13. Not too shabby! This seasons only loss came during week 7 to a very good Hawaii team 27-21.
Some will argue that Kaepernick hasn't faced competition such as one might encounter in the Big 10, Pac 10, Big 12 or SEC. From where I sit, I see increasing parity in CFB erasing the big conference superiority myth within another four or five seasons. Kaepernick would excel in any conference.
RICKY STANZI SETS THE GRAIN BELT ON FIRE!
- 6,295 yards. 50 Touchdowns. Completion percentage = 68.5%
- 1,922 yards. 19 Touchdowns.
RICKY STANZI - IOWA. IMPACT PLAYER #9
From the heart of the homeland -- Mentor, Ohio -- hails Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi. A tough, smart QB with strong leadership skills, and a better than solid arm.
A hefty lad, the tough Senior QB tips the scales at 230 lbs. He stands 6'4" tall.
Check out the stats:
Stanzi means business. Make no mistake, he is a top-rung QB in the making. He enjoys a #2 slot in the nation in passing efficiency. Anyone who questions the quality of Stanzi's chops is invited to review film of the beating previously high-riding Michigan State caught at his hands. Score 37-6.
Stanzi has improved steadily during his tenure at Iowa, paring down interceptions from 15 last season to 2. He is one of the finest players in the nation and a solid #9.
CAM NEWTON: LIKELY HEISMAN CANDIDATE DERAILED BY ALLEGATIONS OF IMPROPRIETY
CAM NEWTON, AUBURN. #8 IMPACT PLAYER!
Cam Newton, my number two (#2) until this afternoon, has fallen to the #8 Impact Player slot. Why? Well, it may not be fair, he may be innocent as a lamb, but a very serious cloud of suspicion is hovering over Newton, and by association his university as well.
Newton, confronted by reporters on November 5th, indicated that he was blessed by G-d, and went on to say that his thoughts were on his next ball game, rather than allegations that have rocked CFB, the SEC, and the entire CFB universe.
In a brief statement made alongside a team bus, Newton said, "I have done nothing wrong."
While I have no reason to doubt Newton's word, his value to the Auburn squad will be reduced by the most troubling allegation that he accepted money to play at Auburn. Should the scandal persist for another week or two, Newton's stock falls -- hard.
Guys like Newton come along for a coach every 20 years or so. He is a Top 5% CFB player.
If the Heisman voting were conducted today, he takes the prize. I wouldn't give it to him, but others probably would.
Hopefully, claims of impropriety will prove to be overblown. I do not believe that the Auburn coaching staff has any knowledge of impropriety. There's no way that one player, even one as good as Newton, would be worth it to any coach or program. Remember SMU? Ahh... no way they pay the boy to play!
Still, the appearance of impropriety can be extremely harmful. Make no mistake, there has been at least an appearance of wrongdoing, and there are those who have affirmed that Newton's father, and perhaps Newton himself -- insisted on being paid to play for the university with which he chose to sign. I sincerely hope that this is not truel
When I put aside the allegations mentioned above -- and I do not believe Newton or Auburn to be guilty of any such offense -- one is forced to acknowledge him as a tremendous force to be reckoned with.
- 2010: Auburn
- 168 Att, 1122 Yds. Rushing, Avg. = 6.7 Yds., TDs = 14, Passing = 108 0f 162 for 1,573 Yds., 65.5% Pc Pct.Career Rushing: 189 Att, 1235 Yds, 6.5 Avg, 18 Touchdowns
- Career Passing: 114 Cmp, 174 Att, 1627 Yds, 15 Touchdowns
- Career Punting: 1 Punts, 22 Yds, 22.0 Avg
- Career Scoring: 19 TD, 114 Points
ROBERT GRIFFIN III: BRINGING RESPECT BACK TO WACO
ROBERT GRIFFIN -- IMPACT PLAYER #7
Accuracy! That's the stat that comes to mind when sophomore Robert Griffin's name comes up in conversation. The 6'4", 225 lb. Big 12 star brings razor-sharp accuracy to Baylor's passing game. Entering today's contest against the OSU Cowboys, Griffin's passing percentage is 67%!
At the head of a Baylor squad that has, in recent years, lived in the BIG 12 cellar, Griffin brings a completely new attitude to Waco. Quoted in Tulsa World newspaper, Griffin said,
Well, it was a nice thought, huh? Griffin faced the OSU Cowboys today out in my general neck of the woods -- Stillwater, OK. The Pokes thrashed Griffin and his buddies. It was ugly. The final score was a horrible 55-28. So, much for invincibility!
Still, the Bears are a good football team, and show every sign of being a truly competitive foe for the BIG 12 Honchos in years to come. They will no longer be content to occupy the basement suite of the Conference, and I predict that we will see a resurgence of pride in Waco reminiscent of truly great Baylor teams of the past.
To be fair to Griffin, I suggest that analysts take a step back and think for a moment about how good the Pokes really are. Despite Gundy's grumbling that the team really isn't that good, they look very good indeed to me and to the Pokes faithful here in Oklahoma. I expect them to beat Texas -- perhaps badly -- on the 13th of Nov.
Final word? Griffin is a fantastic athlete who always give his teams a legitimate chance to overcome deficits and win. He deserves our respect.
Average 38.2 pts through 6 conference games. 294 Att., 196 Cmp., 2,592 Yds., Yds, Avg. 8.82, Touchdowns = 20, Int. 5
JUSTIN BLACKMON: ROMPIN' & STOMPIN' FOR THE OKI-POKIES!
JUSTIN BLACKMON ROMPS, STOMPS, FOR THE POKES! IMPACT PLAYER NO #6
An explosive receiver. The heart and soul of a very good Oklahoma State offense. He's Justin Blackmon, a sophomore receiver who is setting the world on fire for the Cowboys of Oklahoma State!
It was a dark day, back in October, when it was announced that Blackmon had sustained an arrest for DUI. In the end, it seems that the offense was not as terrible as it was billed. In any event, he laid-out his transgression, and has returned to the team without missing a beat. Well, almost.
Here's the bottom line on Blackmon: He is on fire!
As his skill level and maturity have increased (yes, even through the adverse situation of dealing with an arrest) his value to the team has increased as well. Don't believe anyone who tells you differently. I put him at #6 in our survey. He is an absolutely terrific receiver. Moreover, his teammates believe in Blackmon, and their QB to win -- even when prospects are less than ideal.
Make no mistake folks -- this young man is competitive in the extreme! He inspires his teammates to that all important, magical state in which they "believe".
Blackmon is a serious competitor. Confronted with a defender, he is as likely to bust the defender in the gazoozle as he is to take a lick. That's my kind of football player!
Blackmon's ultra-competitive competitive mindset hasn't gone unnoticed -- indeed it is spreading like a virus on the Pokes team.
Later today, the Pokes face Texas at Austin. There is always the chance that the Horns have engaged in a little self-examination and found that they do have some pride. Maybe, just maybe, they will give the Pokes a game. Who knows? But, win, lose or draw, the Pokes and Blackmon are a great football team.
Stats? Sure, here they are, and folks -- they ain't too shabby!
Catches = 75
Yards = 1,285
Touchdowns = 15
ANDREW LUCK -- A HEISMAN SEASON AT STANFORD?
ANDREW LUCK -- ON TOP OF THE PAC 10 -- IMPACT PLAYER #5
NFL analysts who know, agree that Stanford's fine QB, Andrew Luck will go in the first round. Some believe that a good chance exists that he will be first of the first. His upside is just that high!
Here's what I know of my own knowledge:
Andrew Luck is a rare leader -- one of the finest in CFB today. This young man leads his team like great platoon leader. His skills as a football player are well known. His stats -- provided below -- are impressive indeed. But, it is his skills as a general on the field, that make him shine. He easily deserves the #5 slot or higher.
This young man is a "HOSS"! He's big, tough, and smart, and he is easily among the top five field generals in the nation. I can see him as a #3, but I like a few others just a little better. His QB Rating is a very impressive 163.+, he sports 2,213 yards on the season, and 22 TD's. Not too shabby folks.
OREGON'S IMPACT PLAYER -- LAMICHAEL JAMES
IMPACT PLAYER #4
La Michael James? What can be said about his role as an impact player?
A leader? No, he's not a great leader. His arrest on domestic violence charges awhile back doesn't do much for his candidacy either. On the other hand, his has set the world on fire in the PAC 10. He is to Oregon, what Cam Newton is to Auburn or Robert Griffin is to Baylor.
Look at the stats -- those provided below cover his participation in 22 ball games. Look at the film. This guy is a great one.
Oregon Ducks #21 - Running Back
Height 5-9 Weight: 180
Career Games = 22 Rush 426 Yds. 2877 Avg./Carry 6.8 TD's 31 Rec 25 Yds 306 Avg. Yds. Rec. 12.2
SAM ACHO: A MAN AMONG BOYS!
SAM ACHO -- THE HEART & SOUL OF TEXAS! HOOKEM! IMPACT PLAYER #3
The University of Texas Longhorns have been so utterly wretched this year, that readers may well be surprised that anyone from that squad deserves recognition for anything.
Well, one Longhorn does deserve our respect and admiration. Meet Sam Acho, my #3 Impact Player!
While Texas has become mired in disgusting mediocrity, one player continues to press his teammates to step-up and be accountable. Sam Acho.
Acho doesn't beg, harp or otherwise arm-twist his teammates to get them to play football. Rather, he leads by his example -- an example that would do credit to any athlete in this country, college or pro.
Even as Sam serves as a team and defensive leader, he is setting records in the classroom. He is a brilliant student with an outstanding GPA. Sam Acho works hard to be the best at everything he does -- that's the Longhorns way.
Many will criticize my praise of Sam -- they will argue that he too has been a part of the problem at Texas. Sorry, I just don't see it that way -- he's one of the few bright stars still alight in the sky.
Not only is Sam a great football player, he is an absolutely brilliant young man. He is involved in an incredible array of service projects, including medical missions to Africa. They may argue that a defensive player should not be chosen as a top Impact player. This one sports 125 tackles, 5 forced fumbles, and incredible leadership on the field. He's a man among boys, and he will be sorely missed. Oh, his brother Emmauel also wears the burnt orange. Amazingly, he is just as smart, just as driven, and is possessed of similar leadership ability.
A DEFINITE, SOLID #3 IN THIS SURVEY.
For more info on Sam Acho, click here: http://www.texassports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/110810aaj.html
ANDY DALTON -- GREATEST LEADER IN TCU HISTORY?
ANDY DALTON - GREATEST LEADER IN TCU HISTORY? SOLID #2 IMPACT PLAYER
Is TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Andy Dalton the best QB in America? Hmm... well one could make the argument, thats for sure. However, much more certain is the matter of his value to his team.
Dalton may well have had a greater impact on TCU's winning tradition than any other TCU player in history. Under his leadership, the Frogs have not lost a regular season game since November of 2008.
Like Andrew Luck at Stanford, Dalton's leadership skills are exceptional. He is a terrific field general. With enough confidence for a dozen good QB's, Andy has that magical quality that gives his teammates the confidence that they can win - no matter what may come - as long as he's in the ball game.
Dalton's name has recently become associated with serious Heisman talk. Is he a legitimate candidate? You better believe it.
I rank Dalton at #2. However, there is increasingly little difference between the candidates at this level. One can certainly argue that he should be #1.
RATING YARDS TOUCHDOWNS
166.67.... 2,242.... 19
KELLEN MORE -- THE BEST QB IN AMERICA!
KELLEN MOORE - IMPACT PLAYER #1
Kellen Moore, Junior QB at Boise is the best in America. Period! He is the strongest leader in NCAA football. If he does not win the Heisman... it will be a real miscarriage of justice.
Hailing from Prosser, WA, 6' - 190 lb. Junior QB Kellen Moore, is the quintessential impact player! When Kellen is in the ball game, Boise's talented players -- those on offense and defense alike -- believe, no matter what the circumstance, they can win. And they do win.
Career: 8,887 Yds., 82 Touchdowns
2010 Season: 179 Att., 125 Cmp., Pct. 70%, Int. 2.
You know the rest of the story.
Many have been brainwashed into believing that Boise plays a cupcake schedule. This absurd contention has largely been the work of BCS conference elitists who refuse to recognize the increasing level of parity in CFB. This myth of superiority -- advanced in particular by SEC fans -- will be dispelled over the next several seasons.
Boise may very well be the best team in the nation. Oregon and TCU are tough, however, and once cannot overlook the possibility that they are the best. Boise, though, has the best QB and the #1 Impact Player in the nation -- hand's down.