The 2011 NCAA Football season is right around the corner as teams finalize their rosters and prepare for their first week. Senior leadership is most important at a time like this, when talented youngsters give their best “deer-in-headlights” impressions in light of the media frenzy, lofty expectations and hundreds of thousands of fans. Their experience will be greatly missed as they look toward greener (literally) pastures in the NFL at season’s end. Who are the best veteran 4-year men in the conference?
I know it may not be saying much, but Wright is the best WR in Baylor history. He owns 5 different school records and has led the team in receiving three straight years. Like Kelechi Osemele at Iowa State (who you will read about in a few minutes) his national spotlight is dimmed by his small market. He may not have ideal size (5-10, 190) but his speed, route running and elusiveness make him very dangerous. He will team up with QB Robert Griffin III to field the best Bears teams in recent history.
Judie’s role on one of the top defensive backfields in the conference last season could not be overstated if you try. He is lightening quick and contributed 4 interceptions to a unit that allowed only 6 yards per completion. He was also awarded All-Big 12 honors at kick returner where he averaged over 30 yards an attempt while taking a back-breaker to the house last year in a wild upset over Oklahoma.
Jamell led the Big 12 with 14 pass break-ups last year and is the returning leader with 5 interceptions. He is gaining ground as one of the top cornerbacks in the country. The talent and depth at corner for the Sooners will keep offenses honest instead of just throwing it to the other side of the field.
For as big (6-6, 347) and decorated (2-time All-Big 12) as he is, the 4-year starter is surprisingly underrated. His size combine with his quick hands and feet to make him a sure-fire first rounder next April.
Grey exploded the last half of last season. He finished the year with seven consecutive 100-yard games against tough defenses like Nebraska, Oklahoma and LSU. He had 34 catches out of the backfield and returned kicks to the tune of 25 yards an attempt. He is a tremendous athlete and is the top running back in the conference.
The 6’6” 332 pound man-child is the anchor on the conference’s top offensive line. He allowed zero sacks last season on his way to all-conference honors and will maraud his way up the mock drafts this season.
After an injury-ruined 2009, Fuller finally broke out in 2010. He managed to accumulate the first 1,000-yard year for a receiver in TAMU history in the midst of a horrific quarterback situation. At 6’4” and 220 pounds, Fuller is an unstoppable redzone target and will pile up TD’s this season as he cements his place in the first round of the NFL draft.
Lewis’ 109 tackles last year were good enough to lead a talented OU defense for the third year in a row. His toughness, athleticism and competitiveness make him one of the scariest ‘backers in all the land. His distinguished leadership abilities and loud mouth remind me of a certain Baltimore Ravens linebacker that will be retiring soon (nudge, nudge).
Weeden is a Heisman “dark horse” this year and with good reason. He is incredibly accurate (67% completion), productive (4,277 yards, 34 touchdowns) and smart (only 13 interceptions). The 27-year old former pro-baseball player brings his poise and strong arm into Stillwater for one more run at a conference crown.
Broyles caught 131 balls last season and amassed 1,622 yards with 14 touchdowns. He needs 51 receptions, 1,656 yards to set NCAA career marks. His biggest stat last year? Zero… as in the number of dropped passes. Broyles' reliability, quickness and ability to get open make him the perfect slot receiver. Throw in his punt return skills and he is one of the conferences all-time greats.
Kheeston Randall, DT Texas
Jacquies Smith, DE Missouri
Michael Egnew, TE Missouri
Lonnie Edwards, OL Texas Tech
Frank Alexander, DE Oklahoma
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