Cincinnati Football 2011: The 7 Best Offensive Players on the Bearcats
The Cincinnati Bearcats return 11 starters on defense, but the offense will be the key to bouncing back from a disappointing 2010 campaign.
Senior quarterback Zach Collaros returns as the leader of the offense, and he will have a number of options around him.
The biggest concern for the coaching staff may be protecting him, with the return of only two starters from the offensive line.
Let's take a look at the seven best offensive players on the Bearcats.
7. Randy Martinez, Offensive Guard
Randy Martinez will anchor the inside of the offensive line for the Bearcats in 2011.
He and offensive tackle Alex Hoffman are the only two starters returning to the offensive line. They will need to take a clear leadership role for the inexperienced players alongside them.
Martinez will be key to paving the inside running lanes for running back Isaiah Pead.
Pead accumulated 1,029 rushing yards last year, and will likely need even better numbers to improve on a porous season in 2010.
Martinez will be a solid all-around cog in Cincinnati's offense in 2011.
6. Alex Hoffman, Offensive Tackle
Alex Hoffman is the lone returner on the outside of the offensive line.
He is a huge, 6'7'' tackle who will be key to keeping Zach Collaros safe in the pocket.
The Bearcats were 28th in the country in passing yards per game last season. And although Collaros was sacked 30 times, the offensive line played a valued role in accumulating those yards.
Hoffman will be the leader of the offensive line this season as Collaros attempts to have a record season behind him.
5. Shaquille Washington, Wide Receiver
Shaquille Washington is probably the most touted wide receiver recruit in a 2011 class of seven.
He is ranked as the 76th best wide receiver of his class by Rivals.
Washington is an in-state kid out of Maple Heights, Ohio and is likely to turn into a fan-favorite.
At just 5'8'', he is a little speedster that will likely catch passes out of the slot, and could return punts or kickoffs.
Washington is the one freshman wide receiver that can immediately contribute, and he should do that in a number of ways in 2011.
4. Jameel Poteat, Running Back
Jameel Poteat is an extreme talent that can make an immediate impact in Cincinnati.
He is the only recruit in Cincinnati's class that received a four-star ranking by Rivals.
At 5'11'', 195 lbs, he is built like a college running back. If he would add a few more pounds, he could have the theoretically perfect measurables of an all-around runner.
The Bearcats already have an experienced running back on the roster in Isaiah Pead. Still, Poteat is too talented to ride the bench the entire year.
He will spell Pead and find a role as a third down running back as he prepares to take over as the starter in two years.
3. D.J. Woods, Wide Receiver
D.J. Woods is one of the crucial three returners to the Bearcats offense, having earned All-Conference honors in 2010.
Last season, Woods accumulated 898 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 57 receptions.
He was the second wide receiver to Armon Binns last year.
With the departure of Binns, it is time for Woods to break out for a record year while simultaneously assisting in the development of the newer receivers.
2. Isaiah Pead, Running Back
Isaiah Pead has been a model of consistency in his time at Cincinnati.
He averaged 6.5 yards per carry in his freshman season, 6.7 in his sophomore season, and 6.6 last year as a junior.
Last season, despite not getting carries as consistently as he probably would have liked, he accumulated 1,029 yards and six touchdowns. This campaign earned him All-Conference honors.
This year, Pead will join his senior quarterback Zach Collaros and aforementioned senior receiver D.J. Woods in attempt to create a historic statistical season.
If he continues his consistency, Pead will have a great final season as a Bearcat.
1. Zach Collaros, Quarterback
In his first season as the full-time starting quarterback last season, Zach Collaros took the Big East by storm.
He had 2,902 passing yards with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, earning 2010 All-Conference honors.
Unfortunately, these statistics only added up to only four wins for his team.
This year, he will undoubtedly be focused on winning more games and getting to a legitimate bowl game.
Collaros will be the leader of this team in 2011, and they will only go as far as he takes them.