Big East Rookies to Watch, Pt.I

Aug 20, 2010 | By: Random Blogger

 

As the beginning of the 2010 College Football season approaches, StateOfRutgers.com would like to bring our readers up to speed on some of the most notable Big East incoming freshmen. This upcoming football season has the potential to be a banner year for the Big East as the quality of talent in the league appears to be vastly improving. As you can see, this is evidenced by the large number of talented individuals on this list. Without further adieu, we bring you our first of three installments of SOR's Big East Notable Rookies to Watch:

 

Honorable mention: QB Mark Myers (Pitt), OL Shane Johnson (Pitt), S Lorenzo Waters(Rutgers), DL Bryan Murphy (Pitt), LB Fred Overstreet (Rutgers)

 

30. LB Marcus Spruill-Syracuse- Spruill is a physical and fast linebacker prospect who has only played two years at the linebacker position. Up until his senior year of high school, Spruill had only played offensive guard and defensive tackle. This led to him enrolling at Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) where he dominated - to gain the proper exposure. The result was full athletic scholarship offers from Syracuse, Temple and James Madison. Standing 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Spruill moves very well for a big linebacker and brings the wood. He will be able to help the Orangemen likely by his second year on campus.
29. CB Brandon Ifill-Pittsburgh- Coming out of powerhouse Penn Hills High School (Pa.),  Ifill attracted scholarship offers from schools across the country. However, in the end, he chose Pittsburgh over the likes of Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, and Rutgers. Standing 6-feet tall and 185 pounds, Ifill has nice size for a defensive back and is active in run support.  Although Ifill does not possess elite speed, he is fleet of foot enough to play safety on the collegiate level.  Ifill is Pittsburgh’s premiere incoming defensive back prospect and after spending some time in the weight room should eventually become one of Pittsburgh’s best players in the defensive backfield.
28. RB Casey Turner-Rutgers- Turner was the Florida Cass 6A player of the year playing for Edward White High School (Fla.) and comes to Rutgers with high expectations. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder is an explosive player who many feel could earn carries and spell incumbent starting running back Joe Martinek in 2010. Turner was originally committed to Florida International, but de-committed to join the Scarlet Knights’ 2010 recruiting class. Turner is involved in a tight race for the backup role at the running position with fellow freshman Jordan Thomas, who is also listed below.
27. LB Andrew Opoku-Connecticut- After a successful stint at Fork Union Military Academy (Va.), the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Opoku spurned a Rutgers offer to join the Connecticut program in the spring semester. After being in a collegiate program for eight months, Opoku reportedly has made tremendous strides in his strength and conditioning and has settled in nicely at linebacker. Friend to the site, Chris Melvin of EliteRecruits.com, recently took in a practice at Uconn and reported that Opoku is easily one of the most athletic and best-built players on their defense. Although it is unlikely that Opoku will enter the season as a starter, he has already fought himself onto Uconn’s two-deep and could very well be a starter by mid-season.
26. QB Jeremy Johnson- West Virginia-Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, is an impressive dual-threat quarterback prospect out of Silsbee High School (Tx.). He is an electrifying runner who also possesses a very strong arm. However, should he remain at quarterback, he will need to mature as a passer. Johnson faces the challenge of having to compete with fellow classmate Barry Brunetti and class of 2008 prospect Eugene Smith for playing time, both of whom were nationally regarded recruits. Nonetheless Johnson possesses a skill-set which is perfect for the Mountaineer offense. On top of that, he has enough athleticism to contribute at wide receiver or slot for the Mountaineers. It may be awhile before Johnson is able to get onto the field, but once he does, expect him to become a difference maker.  
Note: Johnson had been sitting out of practice and contemplating transferring closer to home. However, it is believed that West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart was recently able to convince the talented youngster to stay.
25. QB Munchie Leagaux-Cincinnati- The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder is a dual-threat quarterback who was regarded as a top-20 prospect in the state of Louisiana. He had a highly productive career at Edna Carr High School, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 50 touchdowns over the course of his high school career. He also ran for 1,500 yards as well. Leagaux will be competing for playing time at the quarterback position immediately and could provide a change of pace for the Bearcats by playing in the wildcat formation. He also has the athleticism to contribute as a wide receiver or running back. Leagaux had a pretty extensive offer list including tenders from Michigan Tennessee, Oregon and West Virginia.
24. QB Barry Brunetti-West Virginia- Brunetti is a quarterback with a running back’s build. The barely 6-foot, 210-pounder is very athletic and fluid with everything that he does. He is tremendously accurate and has a huge arm although his ability to be able to take off from the signal caller position is what he is best known for. The for Memphis (Tenn.) University School gunslinger is a very good fit for the West Virginia offense and could push for the opportunity to contribute early on. Penn State thought he was good enough to offer as well as many other schools.
23. WR Brandon Coleman-Rutgers-  How many successful 6-foot-6 collegiate receivers can you think of? Probably not many. However, even though Coleman shares those dimensions he is smooth enough to remain at wide receiver, where he is expected to be a deadly weapon in the red zone. Coleman, who played at Bishop McNamara High School (Md.), is an elongated receiver with solid ball skills. He is packed within a large group of individuals competing for playing time at the wide receiver position at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights beat out Maryland and Syracuse for his services.
22. LB Malcolm Cater-Syracuse- Cater was considered the best recruit on Long Island (N.Y.) and at 6-foot-2 220-pounds already has the size to contribute immediately for the Orange. Although the Riverhead Senior High School product was not recognized by most national publications, there is little doubt to those who have seen him play that he is one of the premiere incoming recruits for Syracuse, which is a program that in dire need of an influx of young talent. Although Syracuse returns all three of their starting linebackers from last year, Cater should see the field on special teams over the course of his freshman year and will likely push his way onto the two-deep for the Orange before the end of the year. Although UConn and Temple were the only other FBS schools to get in on the action, Cater is much better than his offer list.
21. RB Jordan Thomas-Rutgers- The former Union Endicott (N.Y.) star is an impressive athlete who is one of the fastest prospects to ever come out of the state of New York; as evidenced by his 10.4-second 100-meter dash result earlier this year. Thomas has earned praise from head coach Greg Schiano over the course of camp and could be under consideration for playing time as early as this year. Standing 6-foot, 190 pounds, Thomas is powerfully built and equipped to take the pounding at the running back position. Thomas also had offers from Pitt, Oregon State and North Carolina among others.
Red’s Scoop: 
Former St.  Joseph’s (Montvale/N.J.)  defensive back K’waun Williams is reportedly making a real push for playing time lately at Pittsburgh and has been practicing with the first team defense in recent days. 
Williams’ former teammate Kamal Hogan is at Louisville this year. However, he will likely have to wait for incumbent starting running back Victor Anderson to leave before getting the opportunity to play. 
Louisville has been doing an excellent job bringing in young talent. Former Miami Northwestern athlete Corvin Lamb is one freshman who has been turning heads at Louisvlle’s camp. Expect him to figure into Charlie Strong’s offensive plans in the near future.
Incoming wide receiver junior college transfer Josh Bellamy will likely fill in for an injured Michaellee Harris in the beginning of the year. Word has it that Bellamy could be just as good. 
Louisville may also be bolstered by Jordan Campbell, a transfer from USC who has two years of eligibility and will not have to sit out a year. Defensive back Demar Dorsey, a 4-star recruit who was denied admission to Michigan, is also slated to suit up for Louisville as well. Both players have the ability to become big-time player for the Cardinals. However, neither has been practicing with the team and therefore neither is eligible to make our list.  
Pittsburgh freshman quarterback Anthony Gonzales had a lot of coaches high on him coming out of high school.  Hey have a lot of options at the signal-caller position.
If both Tejay Johnson and Kenneth Kirksey had qualified to play for Rutgers this fall, both would likely be Top-15 selections. Each player is slated to arrive on the Rutgers campus next spring, along with Djwany Mera who also did not qualify innitially.
Saty tuned for our second installment coming soon.

 

 

 

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