SOR's Big East Risers, Part II

Aug 18, 2010 | By: Random Blogger

 

A couple weeks ago, StateOfRutgers.com brought you our first installment of our Big East Risers series, highlighting a few players around the conference who have yet to receive national attention, but who have the attributes to possibly become big names in 2010. In our second installment, we identify 10 additional players who if they can fulfill their potential, should emerge as some of the league's best this upcoming season.

 

So. FS Khaseem Greene-Rutgers- The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder emerged in the Rutgers secondary last season,  tying for the team lead in interceptions (two) and starting the final eight contests of the season. Greene was named the Scarlet Knights' Most Improved Defensive Player during the spring and has since added lean mass to his frame. So far during his career at Rutgers, he has shown a knack for being around the ball, and has developed a reputation as a ferocious hitter as well. To top it off, Greene continues to get better and could very well become the best safety in the conference this upcoming season.
RS So. TE D.C. Jefferson- Rutgers- After arriving at Rutgers as a highly regarded quarterback prospect in 2008, Jefferson was moved to tight end in the middle of training camp this time last year. Although the switch came suddenly, Jefferson responded well displaying tremendous blocking ability as well as flashes catching the football. He has since been named as a candidate to receive the John Mackey Award, given annually to the top collegiate tight end in the entire country. If Jefferson can become a more consistent pass-catching target after having a full training camp to furhter hone his skills at the tight end position, he could eventually emerge as a potential early round National Football League draft pick.
5th-Year Sr. RB Delone Carter-Syracuse- It may seem like Delone Carter has been around forever and that’s because he has. Carter arrived at Syracuse back in 2006 and started his career off with a bang, rushing for 718 yards and being named to the Sporting News Freshman All-America team. Since then, Carter’s career has been tumultuous, including legal problems, injuries, and suspensions. After rushing for over 1,000 yards last season, Carter was suspended from the football program after being charged for punching a fellow student in the face. Carter was recently reinstated to begin playing again. If he is able to get back into playing shape, he will be the Orange’s best offensive player and should be under consideration for All-Big East honors.
Jr. RB Isaiah Pead-Cincinnati- While running backs Dion Lewis and Noel Devine have dominated the headlines, Pead quietly has become one of the best running backs in the conference. In 2009, Pead ran for 806 yards and averaged a league leading 6.7 yards per carry. He also added 20 receptions for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Pead is expecting to take on greater responsibility this upcoming year for the Bearcats - both on and off the field - and could be poised for a breakout 1,200-plus yard season in 2010.
So. WR Tavon Austin-West Virginia- Austin arrived in Morgantown as one of the most highly regarded prospects to ever come out of the state of Maryland. Over the course of his freshman season, Austin backed up his high ranking by contributing immediately on special teams and providing a spark on offense. In 2010, Austin is expected to become a starting wide receiver. He is said to possess big-time playmaking ability, even rivaling those of teammates Jock Sanders and Noel Devine.
So. QB B.J. Daniels-South Florida- Daniels comes into the 2010 season as the most athletic quarterback in the Big East. After replacing injured longtime starter Matt Grothe early last season, Daniels went on to pass for 1,983 yards and rush for 772 rushing yards. With another year of experience under his belt, it is scary to think what Daniels may be capable of over the course of a full season. He is a strong candidate to be named first team All-Big East and has drawn comparisons to other top national dual-threat quarterbacks such as Ohio State’s Terrell Pryor and Baylor’s Robert Griffin.
Fr. LB Andrew Opoku-Connecticut- After a successful stint at Fork Union Military Academy, Opoku spurned a Rutgers offer to join the Connecticut program this past spring semester. Since joining the Huskies program eight months ago, Opoku reportedly has made tremendous strides in his strength and conditioning and has settled in nicely at linebacker. Friend of the site, Chris Melvin of EliteRecruits.com recently took in a practice at Uconn and reported that Opoku is athletically ahead of many of his roster mates. Althogh 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.
Sr. OC Sampson Genus-South Florida- The 6-foot-1, 315-pound road grater is a returning senior for the Bulls, who has flown under the radar for the past three seasons. After starting all of 2009, Genus returns as one of the Bull’s most reliable and experienced players. Genus was complimented last year by legendary Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews who called Genus the “best center that we have seen all year” and is often called the “bellcow of the offensive line” by his coaching staff. In 2009, Genus was named Second-Team All-Big East. This year, expect Genus to compete for first team honors as well as possibly attain national attention.
RS Jr. QB Zach Collaros-Cincinatti-  Collaros is an intriguing quarterback who could become an NFL-caliber prospect if he can show that he can put together a complete season. In 2009, he started the year as the backup to now Carolina Panther Tony Pike, but was thrust into action after Pike was injured. In Pike’s absence, Collaros threw for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns in the four games he started. Collaros also displayed great athleticism, rushing for 344 yards. Collaros  has the benefit of having proven talent to thow to including Armon Binns who was a 1,000 yard receiver last season, not to mention former USC wideout Vidal Hazelton. Another interesting fact about Collaros is that he has won the last 34 games that he has started dating back to his junior year in high school.
RS So. OG Joe Madsen-West Virginia- Madsen is a versatile offensive lineman who returns as a starter at the guard position. He has also played center at West Virginia and will be expected to contribute at both positions again in 2010. The 6-foot-2, 290-pounder started all 13 games in 2009, leading to Freshman All-America honors from numerous media outlets. The most impressive of Maden's stats is that he saw action on 840 of 855 possible plays last season. The talented Madsen is already poised for an All-Big East year, while encompassing three additional years of playing eligibility.

 

 

 

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