Bruce Feldman, college football analyst for CBS Sports, listed his picks for the ten most intriguing early enrollee freshmen in 2012. What major conferences failed to make the cut?
The Big 12 and Big East.
I can’t help the Big East. Their geographic map includes California (San Diego State), Texas (UH and SMU), Florida (South Florida and Central Florida) and Connecticut. It makes sense to no one save the athletic directors, students and alums of those respective campuses.
What I can offer are a few true freshmen names to remember in the Big 12. These guys may or may not redshirt but with some at need positions, their head coaches might have no choice but to keep them on the field.
Ryan Broyles took his NCAA career record in receptions and vacated Norman. Trey Metoyer possesses a 5-star skill set. He won’t immediately produce at the same level but Metoyer should see tons of snaps.
Seven JUCO players enrolled at mid-term in Lubbock. That’s either using Bill Snyder Tenets of Coaching advice or Tommy Tuberville realizes he can’t afford another losing season without some heat.
Two JUCO’s (OLB Eddie Lackey and DT Joey Searcy) join early entrant WR Lynx Hawthorne. Solely based on name and not the necessity of the Bears defense to improve (56 points given up in a bowl game victory), I’m pulling for the player with a moniker that impresses J.R.R. Tolkien.
Orlando “Duke” Thomas is already earning second team reps as a defensive back. If Thomas snatches a pick-six at some point and pays tribute in the end zone to John Wayne, he’ll achieve legend status in Austin. Coupled with JUCO transfers LT Donald Hawkins and DT Brandon Moore, the Longhorns continue the youth movement.
QB Wes Lunt enters the competition to replace Brandon Weeden. It’s possible that the Cowboys could start an 18 year-old under center a season after using a 28 year-old. LB Jeremiah Tshimanga is another name to follow.
If JUCO corner Keivon Gamble is even remotely ready, he’ll earn snaps in the Horned Frogs inaugural Big 12 season. Gary Patterson lost three defensive players during the drug scandal and depth, no matter the origin, is at a premium. ATH Kolby Listenbee was a wanted commodity in the region.
Like TCU, the Mountaineers are headed for an entirely different conference offensively. That means defense, though Baylor sometimes had you believe otherwise, is significant. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel left for Arizona and a new system allows early enrollees Karl Joseph and Sean Walters (both safeties) and DT Imarjaye Albury an opportunity. QB Ford Childress is a future force if Dana Holgorsen stays in Morgantown, but not in 2012 at Geno Smith’s expense.
The following three schools made it tougher than reaching the Seventh Circle of Hell to find their early enrollee candidates. Their reward? Rampant and terribly unfunny speculation.
Paul Rhoads only desires proud players on his football team. That is so that when the Cyclones inevitably upset a ranked opponent in 2012, he may tell them he’s proud of them.
Charlie Weis needed one transfer and he got him: former Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist. The Kansas State’s, West Virginia’s and Oklahoma’s of the world might see a roster full of Turner Gill’s players but that’s not what Charlie sees. He sees the names of the NFL talent quarterbacked to Super Bowl by Tom Brady. Did you know Charlie Weis coached Tom Brady, son?
Every allowable JUCO in the western hemisphere not already committed somewhere tends to end up in the Little Apple. Bill Snyder will mold these men into a team capable of ten wins or six losses. He’ll accomplish either eating one meal a day.