Pac-10 newcomers to watch
By Ted Miller
Which guys will you start hearing about this spring? And then continue hearing about into the fall?
Here are some guesses.
LB Derek Earls, 6-3, 220 and/or LB Paul Vassallo, 6-3, 240
The Wildcats must replace all three starting linebackers from 2009. It's almost certain at least one of these two JC transfers starts.
OT Brice Schwab, 6-7, 310
Schwab, a touted JC transfer who originally committed to USC, is expected to immediately work his way into the Sun Devils' starting lineup, giving their beleaguered offensive line a boost.
RB Trajuan Briggs, 5-11, 200
Through the years, Cal has thrived with a tandem of running backs. With the departure of Jahvid Best, Shane Vereen moves up to No. 1. But who's his wingman? Coach Jeff Tedford gushed about Briggs at signing day, and he'll be there to compete this spring.
DE Isaac Remington, 6-5, 265 and/or DE Anthony Anderson
The Ducks lost two starting defensive linemen, including end Will Tukuafu. Kenny Rowe is the undersized speed rusher on one side, but can Remington immediately push himself into the mix on the other? And will Anderson step up after making noise as a freshman on the scout team?
WR Markus Wheaton, 6-0, 167
The Beavers don't have any flashy newcomers this spring, but Wheaton, who caught eight passes last year, is a potentially dynamic player who might assert himself this spring.
WR Jamal-Rashad Patterson, 6-3, 201
Stanford doesn't have any new guys around for spring practices, but Patterson, a touted 2009 recruit who caught one pass as a true freshman, probably senses his opportunity. With Toby Gerhart gone, and quarterback Andrew Luck back, the Cardinal figures to throw the ball more in 2010, which means the receivers will need to step up.
TE Joseph Fauria, 6-7, 245
The Bruins lost two quality senior tight ends, but this Notre Dame transfer figures to step right in and compete for playing time.
WR Kyle Prater, 6-5, 200
With the departure of Damian Williams, there will be opportunities for young USC receivers. Prater's big frame would be a nice complement to Ronald Johnson's speed.
RB Deontae Cooper, 6-1, 185
With starter Chris Polk sitting out this spring after shoulder surgery, Cooper should get plenty of opportunities to make a statement that he's ready to contribute as a true freshman.
OT David Gonzales, 6-5,290 and/or G Wade Jacobson, 6-5, 300
Washington State has to get better on the offensive line. These two might begin to fight their way into the starting lineup this spring.
Newcomers to watch in the SEC in 2010
By Chris Low
Not even a week removed from signing day, and we're ready to trot out five newcomers to watch in the SEC next season.
Let's face it. There are always guys who emerge that nobody really saw coming. Look at what Vanderbilt's Warren Norman did last season, tying the SEC record with three kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Keep in mind, too, that newcomers include redshirt freshmen, junior college transfers and transfers from other FBS schools.
Granted, it's early, but here are five new faces to watch for next season in the SEC:
1. Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton: In the spirit of full disclosure, Newton isn't completely new to the SEC. He played some as a freshman at Florida in 2007 and also played a few snaps in the 2008 opener before getting in trouble off the field and leaving Florida. He comes to Auburn after passing for 22 touchdowns and rushing for 16 touchdowns last season in leading Blinn College to the junior college national championship. The 6-6, 245-pound Newton has everything Gus Malzahn is looking for to run his spread offense and is already enrolled in school, meaning he'll be able to go through spring practice. It would probably be an upset if Newton doesn't win the Tigers' starting quarterback job.
2. Florida receiver Andre Debose: Until he was derailed by hamstring surgery, Debose was being counted upon to be a big piece of the Florida offense last season. He had the speed, moves and playmaking ability and Florida coach Urban Meyer envisioned him doing a lot of the same things in the Gators' offense that Percy Harvin did during his three years in Gainesville. Debose will be a redshirt freshman this fall, and the hope is that he will be fully recovered. The door is wide open for him to come in and be Florida's go-to guy at receiver, especially with the likely shift to more of a passing offense now that John Brantley is taking over at quarterback. Whatever direction the offense takes, the Gators will surely look to get the ball in Debose's hands.
3. Alabama cornerback DeMarcus DeMilliner: There are three starting jobs up for grabs next season in the Alabama secondary, including both cornerback spots. DeMilliner was one of the top defensive back prospects in the country and could be a factor next season at both cornerback and the star position, Alabama's version of the nickel. DeMilliner graduated high school early and will participate in spring practice, which in Nick Saban's system, is virtually a must if you're going to play right away as a freshman on defense. DeMilliner isn't the only newcomer in the secondary that may play early next season for the Crimson Tide. Keep an eye on freshman cornerback John Fulton and junior college newcomer DeQuan Menzie as well. Fulton will also be able to go through spring practice.
4. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore: It's difficult to imagine a more important signee for Steve Spurrier since coming to South Carolina in 2005 than Lattimore. Simply, he's the marquee running back the Gamecocks haven't been able to land under the Head Ball Coach. Lattimore won't have to wait long to prove that he's as good as the hype suggests he is. South Carolina needs a serious infusion of pop into its running game, and the 5-11, 215-pound Lattimore has all the tools to be big-time runner in this league. He has speed, power, great acceleration and also has the versatility to be a factor in the passing game. He's not going to do it alone, though. As talented as Lattimore is, he's going to need South Carolina's offensive line to play better than it has each of the last two seasons.
5. Ole Miss defensive end Wayne Dorsey: It's been a circuitous route for Dorsey to get to Ole Miss, but he may go straight to the top of the depth chart next fall. The Rebels are losing three senior defensive ends, and with the 6-8, 250-pound Dorsey already enrolled in school, he'll get a chance to show this spring what he can do. Originally from Baltimore, Dorsey went to a prep school in New York right out of high school and then spent two years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before signing with the Rebels this past December. He's an exceptional athlete and was also recruited as a basketball player coming out of high school. As a football prospect, he was one of the top-rated junior college players in the country a year ago. Defensive ends have been plenty productive in Tyrone Nix's defense. Dorsey may well be that next dominant pass-rusher for the Rebels.
Five to watch in Big 12 spring practices
By Tim Griffin
Spring is a pivotal time for all players across the Big 12.
But several have the opportunity to really make a push for playing time in the fall during spring practices.
Here's a look at five players who could be ready to challenge for playing time this spring.
Kansas quarterback Quinn Mecham: New Kansas offensive coordinator Chuck Long personally recruited him to the Kansas program, meaning he'll get a legitimate shot to win the starting job this spring in a battle with Kale Pick. Mecham threw for 3,091 yards and 40 touchdowns last season at Snow College. He had the kind of moxie that Long thinks will make him a productive player and an immediate contributor for the Jayhawks.
Oklahoma linebacker Tom Wort: A fast early start had him in contention for a starting job with the Sooners before he sustained a season-ending knee injury last August. His recovery has been complete and he should be in the mix for the vacant starting job at middle linebacker this spring for the Sooners.
Kansas State quarterback/running back Chris Harper: The Oregon transfer and Wichita native moved to be closer to home and for a shot at quarterback. The field is crowded with the Wildcats, but Harper's athleticism might give him the opportunity to play particularly with Bill Snyder's interest in Wildcat formations.
Nebraska offensive lineman Jermarcus Hardrick: The 6-foot-7, 315-pound former LSU commitment and transfer from Fort Scott Community College could contend for immediate playing time with a strong spring effort. Nebraska coaches love his size and his tenacity as he already shown well in early conditioning drills.
Baylor offensive lineman Robert Griffin: All eyes will be on the recovery of quarterback Robert Griffin, as he recovers from knee surgery. But Baylor coaches are also eager to have "Big" Robert Griffin playing for them as well. His experience at Navarro Junior College and his size (6-foot-6, 345-pounds) should enable him to immediately contend for the starting job at right tackle.
Five newcomers to watch in ACC
By Heather Dinich
It would be easy -- and accurate -- to name five ESPNU 150 players Florida State just signed as the newcomers to watch in the ACC this year, but let's spread the wealth a little bit. There will be plenty of opportunities and position battles throughout the conference worth watching this spring and summer, but here are five players who should have a chance to make an immediate contribution:
FSU freshman linebacker Jeff Luc: The Seminoles need an upgrade on defense, and they didn't bring an influx of talent in to sit and watch. Luc is a five-star player and the No. 1 overall rated inside linebacker by ESPN.com's Scouts Inc. He's the No. 11 overall player in the ESPNU 150 class. Anyone who is that good should be tough to keep off the field.
Wake Forest redshirt freshman quarterback Brendan Cross: The competition is open to replace Riley Skinner, and Cross should be considered a front-runner heading into spring ball. Cross finished his career at Chattahoochee High School in Georgia with 3,540 passing yards and 36 touchdown passes.
NC State freshman offensive tackle Robert Crisp: The Wolfpack are looking for some help up front, and Crisp will be given a chance to give some. He is a four-star, 300-pound tackle whose size will help him work his way in early. NC State lost three starters up front.
Miami redshirt freshman running back Lamar Miller: He didn't play last year because of the talent in front of him, but with Javarris James graduated and Graig Cooper recovering from a knee injury, the chances are good that Miller will work his way into the rotation. He was a member of the ESPNU 150 and was ranked the No. 12 running back in his class by ESPN.com.
Boston College freshman quarterback Chase Rettig: The fact that he's already on campus and will go through spring drills means that Dave Shinskie will have some competition. The California native is a four-star player and the No. 10 quarterback in his class, according to ESPN.com's Scouts Inc.
Newcomers to watch among the non-AQs
By Graham Watson
There are quite a few newcomers heading to non-AQ schools in 2010, but below are a few I'm interested in seeing next season. All five of the players listed should have an opportunity to start and make a national name for themselves early.
John Cullen, LT, Utah: Cullen might have been the biggest get for Utah this year because he fills one of the only immediate need the Utes had. He'll replace Zane Beadles and be in charge of covering quarterback Jordan Wynn's blind side.
Jake Heaps, QB, BYU: Heaps was the most highly-touted recruit to commit to a non-AQ school this year and will have a chance to make an immediate impact with an open quarterback competition. Max Hall is gone, leaving four guys to battle for the starting quarterback spot. Heaps enrolled in school early and will start his career in the spring.
Jeffrey Godfrey, QB, Central Florida: The quarterback position has been somewhat inconsistent over the past couple of seasons, but coach George O'Leary has raved about Godfrey and his accuracy, and he could be the next signal-caller in the backfield. Rob Calabrese was the backup to senior Brett Hodges last year, but he'll have a fight on his hands.
James Aiono, DE, Utah: Aiono was supposed to join Utah last year, but academic problems forced him to stay in junior college another season. He was the top-rated junior college defensive end last year and we'll see if he can live up to that hype in the Mountain West. The Utes lost some top players on the defensive side of the ball, so Aiono should be able to come in and play right away.
James Green, WR, Toledo: Green was the hook of this year's recruiting class and should be the perfect player to replace receiver Stephen Williams. Toledo is really building its team around young players, and with Green enrolling early, he should be able to slip in there and earn some playing time.
Five Big Ten newcomers to watch in 2010
By Adam Rittenberg
We've already looked at the big shoes to fill throughout the Big Ten in 2010.
So who steps in this fall? Here are five newcomers to watch.
Penn State QB Kevin Newsome: All the candidates for Penn State's starting quarterback job -- Matt McGloin, Robert Bolden, Paul Jones -- could be listed here, but Newsome saw the most action in 2009, appearing in 10 games. Penn State hoped to get Newsome more field time, but he showed good mobility with two rushing touchdowns and completed 8 of 11 pass attempts. His development during the winter and spring will be critical as Penn State looks to replace Daryll Clark.
Purdue QB Robert Marve: The Miami transfer finally gets his chance to compete for the starting job as Purdue must replace the productive Joey Elliott. Marve sat out the 2009 season, though he would have missed most of it with an ACL injury. He hasn't been on the practice field much at Purdue, but he'll be viewed as the front-runner for the top job along with Caleb TerBush.
Ohio State RB Jaamal Berry: Ohio State fans clamoring to see Berry since early last season will finally get their wish. A hamstring injury kept Berry from playing as a true freshman in 2009, but he'll be ready to push Brandon Saine and Dan Herron for the starting job this year. Though both Saine and Herron performed well down the stretch and in the Rose Bowl, Berry comes in with impressive credentials and could have what it takes to become a featured back for the Buckeyes.
Michigan CB/S Demar Dorsey: His signing generated plenty of controversy at Michigan, but there's little doubt Dorsey will be an impact player this fall. Michigan desperately needs to upgrade its secondary, and the heralded Dorsey will compete for immediate time, first at cornerback and possibly at safety down the road. Dorsey brings tremendous athleticism and a willingness to bring big hits on ball carriers.
Michigan State LB/DE William Gholston: The Spartans' defense regressed in 2009, and Gholston will have an immediate opportunity to contribute. Gholston is a unique specimen at 6-foot-7 and 237 pounds, and the heralded recruit should be able to help Michigan State's pass rush from an outside linebacker or rush-end position. It'll be interesting to see how the Spartans coaches use Gholston in 2010, but he'll undoubtedly have a major role for the defense.
Five more to watch: Michigan QB Devin Gardner, Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase, Indiana CB Andre Kates, Penn State LB Khairi Fortt
Newcomers to watch in the Big East this spring
By Brian Bennett
If the 2009 Big East season taught us anything, it was that newcomers can have a big impact.
From offensive player of the year Dion Lewis to Tom Savage and Mohamed Sanu to Jason Pierre-Paul to Greg Paulus, new faces were having an impact all over the league. So which newcomers to the Big East should we be keeping an eye on this spring? Here are a few candidates:
Vidal Hazelton, WR, Cincinnati: The USC transfer becomes eligible this season and could become an immediate star. He's got size, at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, and wowed onlookers at practice last year. Hazelton could help make sure the Bearcats don't miss a beat on offense this season without Mardy Gilyard.
Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia: The Mountaineers need some depth up front defensively, and Clarke should be able to help out after a redshirt year. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Pittsburgh native can use this spring to push for playing time at defensive end before highly regarded junior college transfer Bruce Irvin arrives this summer.
Darrell Givens, CB, Rutgers: Givens was an ESPNU 150 recruit who came to Rutgers after not being admitted to Penn State last year. He spent the 2009 season redshirting as the Scarlet Knights had Devin McCourty. Now may be Givens' time to shine with both McCourty and Billy Anderson gone. Also keep an eye on Logan Ryan, a fellow redshirt freshman corner who was neck and neck with Givens in practice sessions last year.
Claude Davis, DE, South Florida: The next Pierre-Paul? OK, that's expecting too much of anyone. But like the Bulls' one-year wonder, Davis was a junior college standout with excellent measurables (6-foot-4, 250 pounds). Unlike his predecessor, Davis enrolled in January and will get a full spring under his belt before entering major college football. And with Pierre-Paul and George Selvie both off to the NFL, there is ample playing time available.
Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh: Street wasn't one of Pitt's more heralded recruits from the class of 2009, but he won rave reviews last season as a member of the scout team. This spring provides an opportunity for the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder to show he's ready to become an option behind Jonathan Baldwin and Mike Shanahan in the Pitt passing game.