Articles By Braden Gall

Path: /college-basketball/5-amazing-college-basketball-stats-week-dec-17-23
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With 347 Division I teams, following college basketball can be overwhelming. Let Athlon Sports start your college hoops week each Monday with a look at some of the most intriguing, most important and most interesting stats from around the sport:

15-for-15: Khalif Wyatt from the free throw line against Syracuse
The biggest win of the weekend came from  Temple over undefeated No. 3 Syracuse in the World's Most Famous Arena. The crowd at Madison Square Garden watched the Owls outlast the Orange down the stretch with clutch free throw shooting. Wyatt was the game's top scorer with 33 points, with 15 of those coming from the free-throw line. He didn't miss a freebie all game, including 6-for-6 in the final 56 seconds. The win marked the fifth consecutive season in which Temple has defeated a top-10 team.

25: Career-high points by Derrick Nix in the win over Texas
Michigan State's senior center was the star of the show in Saturday's win over feisty Texas. He scored career-high 25 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He also added 11 rebounds and providing four steals. How much was this game a departure from Nix's career production? This was his 13th game of the season, and he had scored in double figures just twice with a high of 11 against mighty Tuskegee. In 116 career games for Michigan State, he had scored in double figures 16 times before going off against the 'Horns. He averaged 7.5 points per game for the year before the offensive explosion. As a side note, the biggest news of the hoops weekend came when the NCAA announced a 23-game suspension for Texas guard Myck Kabongo. The suspension was reduced from a season-long ban only after the Longhorns appealed. He will return Feb. 13 against Iowa State, giving him eight regular season games of conference play and plenty of time to earn key wins for the Longhorns. In addition to the Cyclones, Texas will play NCAA Tournament contenders Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor after Kabongo's return.

5: Unbeaten teams remaining
Entering Saturday, eight undefeated teams remained in college basketball. Five are left standing. New Mexico lost at home to Nate Wolters-led South Dakota State. Syracuse lost to Temple at the Garden. And Illinois lost to rival Missouri before a raucous crowd in St. Louis. Some of the remaining undefeated teams are not total surprises: Athlon tabbed Duke and Arizona as favorites in their respective conferences, for example. But if you had Cincinnati (Big East), Wyoming (Mountain West) and Michigan (Big Ten) as the last unbeaten teams in their respective leagues at Christmas, then you would have won some serious money. (Note: Arizona tipped at 11:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday against Miami in the Diamond Head Classic.)

1-for-17: Phil Pressey in the first 39:26 against Illinois
Part of the reason the Fighting Illini are no longer unbeaten is because of Missouri guard Phil Pressey, but not his scoring. Pressey did his best John Starks impersonation, starting 1-for-17 from the field against Illinois before making two layups in the final 34 seconds. Yet, in front of a raucous split crowd in St. Louis, the Mizzou floor leader stuffed the stat sheet with 11 assists (against four turnovers), seven rebounds and was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. And he scored a key layup with 34 seconds left in a five-point game. Laurence Bowers (23 points, 11 rebounds) and Alex Oriakhi (13 points, 14 rebounds) give this team plenty of size — and national championship experience — so if Pressey develops into the nation's best point guard (which he might already be), this Tigers team will make a run at a Final Four. 

40: Points per game for UCLA freshmen Jordan Adams and Shabazz Muhammad
In the six power conferences, Muhammad leads freshmen in scoring at 18.8 points per game in nine games with the Bruins. Adams is No. 2 among all power conference freshmen with 18.2 per game. Ben Howland's team has no excuse for what happened against Cal Poly and is still working on developing team chemistry. But losses to Georgetown and San Diego State will be nothing to be ashamed of come Selection Sunday. That said, a huge home game with Missouri kicks off the tough part of the season on Dec. 28. Has the remarkable scoring by the freshmen been a preview of more to come or will conference play and the grind of big-time college hoops slow the dynamic duo down? Additionally, Jahii Carson (17.9 ppg) of Arizona State is third among all power conference freshmen, giving the Pac-12 the three highest-scoring major-conference freshmen in the nation. So they have that going for them.

Teaser:
<p> 5 Amazing College Basketball Stats of the Week: Dec. 17-23</p>
Post date: Monday, December 24, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /nfl/amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-16
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NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 16 of NFL play:

81: Two words: Calvin. Johnson.
Megatron was unstoppable this season. The lone bright spot for the 4-11 Lions has shone brighter than any wide receiver in history. Johnson set the single-season receiving record after catching 10 passes for 204 yards in the loss to the Falcons on Saturday night. He broke Jerry Rice's single-season receiving record (1,848). And at 1,892 yards for the season, Johnson can be the first receiver to reach the 2K mark in the final game. The performance against Atlanta also set an NFL record with eight consecutive games with at least 100 yards and broke the record for most 100-yard games in a season with 11.

4,183: Andrew Luck's NFL rookie passing yards record
Cam Newton set the single-season NFL rookie passing record with 4,051 yards last season with the first 4,000-yard rookie season. The record stood for just one season as Andrew Luck passed for 205 yards and one game-winning touchdown over the Chiefs this Sunday. He has 4,182 yards passing and has accounted for 27 total touchdowns. Most important, Newton lost 10 games during his record-setting first season while Luck's Colts won their 10th game of the year and clinched a playoff spot. Indianapolis is only the second team in NFL history to win 10 or more games one year after losing 14 (Miami, 2008).

14: Seconds left in a tie game when Big Ben was intercepted from his own 29
The Steelers snapped the ball in a game tied at 10 from their own 29-yard line. Facing elimination, Pittsburgh inexplicably called a pass play, and then even more inexplicably, Ben Roethlisberger rolled right, threw across his body and into the waiting arms of Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton then completed one pass to A.J. Green for 19 yards to put the Bengals into a position to clinch a playoff spot. One Josh Brown 43-yard field goal later and the Steelers had been eliminated from the playoffs. It was some of the worst decision making of the year. Not making the postseason continues a bizarre 13-year trend for Pittsburgh of missing the playoffs every three seasons.

6: First- or second-year QBs in playoff spots today
Rookie Russell Wilson and second-year man Colin Kaepernick faced off Sunday night in the game of the week in Seattle. Wilson got the better of Kaepernick behind four passing touchdowns, a 71.4-percent completion rate, one of the best home crowds in football and a tenacious defense. Both young quarterbacks have led their teams into the postseason — with honorable mention going to former Niners starter Alex Smith. If the season ended today, second-year quarterback Christian Ponder and rookie Robert Griffin III also would be playing in postseason games. In the AFC, rookie Andrew Luck and 2011 draft pick Andy Dalton have already secured their spot in the tournament as well. Half of the best 12 teams in the league are being led by guys who haven't finished their second full season yet. Never have three rookie quarterbacks made the playoffs but the Class of 2012 will do it if RG3 wins next weekend against Dallas. The names of the veteran quarterbacks in the playoffs? Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub — or otherwise, Matt Schaub and a bunch of scrubs. Seattle has won its last three games by a combined score of 150-30, and Wilson is two touchdowns away from Peyton Manning's rookie TD record of 26.

9-for-9: Blair Walsh's NFL single-season record for made field goals of 50 yards or more
The rookie for the Vikings has a been a big part of why the Minnesota is 9-6 and poised for a playoff appearance. He connected from 56 yards early in a close game against the Texans to set the NFL single-season record for most made field goals of 50 yards or more. He hasn't missed one yet, either. He made two other field goals (41 yards, 39 yards) to outscore the Texans by himself. He is 7-for-9 from 40 to 49 yards, 7-for-8 from 30 to 39 yards and 9-9 from less than 30 yards. That is 32-for-35 if you are counting at home in his first NFL season. He is 32-for-32 on extra points this year as well.

103: Jason Witten's NFL season record for catches for a tight end
The former Tennessee tight end caught six passes for 60 yards in the crushing overtime loss to the Saints at home. But those six receptions gave Witten 103 this year, breaking Tony Gonzalez's all-time single-season NFL tight end record of 102. As a leader, blocker and pass catcher, few players have ever been as good as the Cowboys' all-time leading receiver (799 catches).

1,456: Yards rushing for Jamaal Charles (has anyone noticed?)
Adrian Peterson is chasing history this season — he is 102 yards from 2,000 after 86 against Houston — but he isn't the only star running back doing amazing things following a torn ACL. Jamaal Charles also ripped apart his knee last season and has returned to electric form, rushing for 226 yards and one long touchdown in Week 16. He has a chance at finishing second in the NFL in rushing after jumping Alfred Morris, Doug Martin and Arian Foster in the standings this Sunday. He is third in the NFL, trailing only Marshawn Lynch's 1,490 yards for second. The Chiefs lost again — for the 13th time in 15 games — making Charles' performance all the more impressive (and quiet).

Teaser:
<p> Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 16</p>
Post date: Monday, December 24, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/how-2012-all-big-east-team-ranked-high-school-recruits
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The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. Athlon continues its look at how each all-conference team ranked as high school recruits with the first-team All-Big East team.

Related: College Football's 2012 All-American Team as Recruits

2012 Offensive All-Big East Team as Recruits

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (2011) AC100
The lone Athlon Consensus 100 prospect on the All-Big East team was the star quarterback from Louisville. He was the No. 96-rated overall prospect in the nation hailing from famed Miami (Fla.) Northwestern. He was the No. 6-rated quarterback in the nation and the No. 18-rated player in the state of Florida. He picked the Cards over Florida, LSU, Miami, Rutgers, Tennessee and USF and was given four stars by Rivals.com. Bridgewater goes to show what landing just one elite player can do for a program.

Ray Graham, RB, Pitt (2009) National Recruit
The state of New Jersey has had a great run of producing talented running backs and Graham is the latest. Hailing from Elizabeth (N.J.) High, he signed with the Panthers over offers from Michigan State, Rutgers, NC State, Maryland, UConn and South Carolina. He was a four-star recruit who was ranked by Rivals as the No. 11 running back, the No. 5 player in the state and the No. 243 player in the nation.

Montel Harris, RB, Temple (2008)
The Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian got only three scholarship offers coming out of the prep ranks. Despite playing at a famous high school, Harris was targeted by only Boston College, Duke and Ball State. He was a two-star recruit who nearly became the ACC’s all-time leading rusher at BC before transferring to Temple.

Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse (2009)
The Cuse got a steal in the Gambrils (Md.) Arundel prospect. He had one FBS offer on his sheet and that was from the Orange and his only other option was Delaware. He was a two-star recruit by Rivals and was unrated in the state or positional rankings.

DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville (2011)
The play-making wide receiver knew all about the Louisville Cardinals as he played in the city at Ballard High School. Indiana, Kentucky and UCF were his other three offers besides the Cards. Rivals gave him three stars and rated him as the No. 77 wide receiver in the nation and the No. 6 player in the state.

Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati (2008)
The Cleveland Heights (Ohio) High “athlete” was a two-star recruit by Rivals.com. He was unranked in any way but received three BCS offers from Cincinnati, UConn and Pitt. He also had a few MAC offers as well — Akron, Eastern Michigan and Miami (Ohio).

Eric Lefeld, OT, Cincinnati (2010)
Lefeld signed with the Bearcats out of Coldwater (Ohio) High back in 2010. He held one offer to play college football. Rivals rated him as a two-star prospect and he didn’t land in the Ohio state rankings or the national position rankings. He had interest from Ball State, Miami (Ohio) and Toledo but never officially got scholarship offers from any of them.

Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse (2009)
The All-Big East blocker and potential NFL Draft pick slipped under the recruiting radar when he signed in 2009. The Holland (Pa.) Council Rock South prospect held only one offer (Syracuse) and wasn’t ranked in the Keystone State rankings or national positional rankings (Top 100 offensive tackles). Rivals gave him just two stars.

Antwan Lowery, OG, Rutgers (2009) National Recruit
Hailing from Miami (Fla.) Columbus High School, Lowery was only a three-star recruit by Rivals. Yet, he was highly touted by multiple other recruiting services and it nearly landed him in the AC100. He was the No. 170 prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports and was the No. 16 defensive tackle prospect. While Rivals clearly missed on the offensive guard, his offer sheet — and eventual All-Big East honors — matched his Athlon ranking. He picked Rutgers over Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Miami, Oklahoma, USC, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina and many others.

Austen Bujnoch, OG, Cincinnati (2009)
From famed Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder High School, Bujnoch held quality offers from Louisville, NC State, Indiana, UConn and Cincinnati in the BCS leagues and East Carolina, Miami (Ohio) and Akron on the mid-major level. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals and was rated as the No. 55 offensive tackle and No. 39 player in Ohio.

Mario Benavides, OC, Louisville (2008)
The elder statesman of the Cardinals' offensive line inked with Louisville out of Los Fresnos (Texas) High back in 2008. He was a three-star recruit who was the No. 40-rated offensive guard in the nation by Rivals. His offer sheet was solid, however, as Texas Tech, Arizona, Baylor, Iowa State and Houston were all after the blocker.

Matt Brown, AP, Temple (2009)
The explosive all-purpose runner for Temple was a two-star prospect by Rivals. He was an unranked all-purpose back from New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy who had no other offer to play college football. He clearly made the best of his situation.

Related: The Athlon Consensus 100

Star ranking breakdown of the first-team All-SEC (by Rivals.com):

Star Ranking No. of Players
0
5
7
12
Walk-On 0


2012 Defensive All-Big East Team as Recruits

Dan Giordano, DL, Cincinnati (2008)
The Bearcats' talented lineman hails from Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln Way East. He was a two-star recruit as rated by Rivals.com and had only four chances to play college ball on scholarship. Giordano got two MAC offers from Miami (Ohio) and Eastern Michigan and one BCS offer from the Bearcats. Eastern Illinois also pursued the strongside defensive end prospect. He was unranked by Rivals in anyway.

Trevardo Williams, DL, UConn (2008)
The strongside defensive prospect was ranked as the No. 7 player in the state of Connecticut back in 2008. He had no other offers than UConn to play college ball so the two-star recruit from Bridgeport (Conn.) Central jumped at the chance to play in the Big East. Needless to say, he made the best of his lone opportunity.

Aaron Donald, DL, Pitt (2010)
The Pittsburgh (Pa.) Penn Hills prospect was the No. 14 player in the state by Rivals. He was the No. 37 defensive tackle prospect in the nation and was given three stars by the recruiting website. Rutgers and Pitt were his two best offers with Akron and Toledo also giving the undersized defensive lineman a scholarship.

Scott Vallone, DL, Rutgers (2008) National Recruit
Few players on the All-Big East team were as highly touted as this big defensive lineman from Central Islip (N.Y.) St. Anthony’s. He had an excellent offer sheet that included Rutgers, Maryland, NC State, Syracuse, Virginia, Minnesota, Duke, Boston College and UConn. He was the No. 3 player in the state and the No. 20 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals — which gave him a four-star rating.

Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers (2008)
The all-everything tackler has vastly outperformed his recruiting stock. The Avon (Conn.) Old Farms product was a two-star recruit by Rivals with a rather uninspiring offer sheet. Akron, UMass and UConn were his only other FBS offers as well as the Scarlet Knights. He also had offers from Hofstra and Rhode Island as well.

Greg Blair, LB, Cincinnati (2011) JUCO
The Panthers' linebacker originally graduated from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. He ended up at Scranton (Pa.) Lackawanna Community College before signing his only scholarship offer with the Bearcats.

Sio Moore, LB, UConn (2008)
Moore was just a two-star recruit by Rivals.com coming out of high school and had to go up North to play football. From Apex (N.C.) High, his only offer was from the UConn Huskies.

Yawin Smallwood, LB, UConn (2010)
UMass and UConn were the only two programs to offer Smallwood a scholarship to play college football. Yet, he was a three-star recruit according to Rivals. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound outside linebacker from Worcester, Mass., was the No. 4 player in the state.

Adrian Bushell, CB, Louisville (2008) National Recruit
The DeSoto (Texas) High product was an elite prospect back in 2008 when he signed with Florida. He had offers from major powers like Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma and numerous others. He was a four-star recruit by Rivals which ranked him as the No. 157 overall player in the nation. He was the No. 15 “athlete” and the No. 19 player in the state of Texas. He transferred to Louisville after getting playing time in his first two seasons in Gainesville — including a pair of tackles in 2009 SEC Championship game.

Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers (2009) National Recruit
From Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern High School, Ryan signed with Rutgers over some big-time offers. Michigan State, Iowa, West Virginia, Maryland, Purdue, Virginia and others pursued Ryan heavily. The four-star recruit was the No. 9 player in the Garden State and the No. 32 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.

Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers (2009)
The Rivals three-star safety signed with Rutgers out of Wyoming (Del.) Caesar Rodney. He had quality offers from Pitt, Stanford, Maryland, Virginia, Iowa and UConn as well as Rutgers. He was the No. 5 player in the state and the No. 69 overall “athlete” in the nation in the Class of 2009.

Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse (2009)
Thomas landed in up-state New York from Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes High School. He held BCS offers from just Louisville and Syracuse as well as small offers from Richmond and Old Dominion. He was a two-star recruit by Rivals. 

Related Content:

Athlon Consensus 100: The Top 100 Recruits in the Nation
The 2012 All-America Team as Recruits

The 2012 All-Big 12 Team as Recruits

The 2012 All-Pac-12 Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-ACC Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-Big Ten Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-SEC Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-Big East Team as Recruits

Teaser:
<p> How the 2012 All-Big East Team Ranked as High School Recruits</p>
Post date: Friday, December 21, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /college-football/how-2012-all-sec-team-ranked-high-school-recruits
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The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. Athlon continues its look at how each all-conference team ranked as high school recruits with the first-team All-SEC team.

Related: College Football's 2012 All-American Team as Recruits

2012 Offensive All-SEC Team as Recruits

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (2011)
The Aggies' superstar wasn’t considered a can’t-miss quarterback prospect back in 2011 when he signed with Texas A&M. Other than TAMU, only Oregon, Stanford, Baylor and Iowa State offered him BCS scholarships. The Kerrville (Texas) Tivy product was a three-star quarterback who was ranked as the No. 14-best dual-threat signal caller in the nation and was the No. 45-rated player in the state of Texas. After a year of learning the college game as a redshirt, Manziel proved most everyone in the recruiting business wrong by winning the Heisman Trophy.

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (2012) AC100
The star freshman tailback wasn’t even the highest-rated running back recruit from North Carolina to sign with Georgia. That honor belonged to Keith Marshall. Gurley, who was no slouch in the recruiting rankings himself, had the better first season in Athens. The Tarboro (N.C.) High four-star prospect was the No. 5-rated player in the state and the No. 11-rated running back in the nation by Athlon Sports. He was the No. 83-rated overall prospect in the Athlon Consensus 100. He sported offers from every major Southern power.

Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida (2009) National Recruit
The Deland (Fla.) High runner was a four-star prospect by Rivals.com. He ranked as the No. 33-best running back in the nation and the No. 257-best overall player in the nation by Athlon Sports. He was No. 236 overall by Rivals and was the No. 42-rated player in the Sunshine State. He held offers from Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Ole Miss, Mississippi State as well as Florida.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (2010)
The big-play wideout from Madison (Ala.) Academy held offers from just two BCS programs: Kansas and Vanderbilt. Arkansas State and Tulane were his only other FBS offers. Matthews was listed as a three-star receiver by Rivals and didn’t register on the Alabama state rankings or any national rankings.

Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas (2009)
This talented wide receiver played his high school ball in Texas, but as close to Arkansas as possible at Texas High School in Texarkana. He was a three-star prospect whose offer sheet far exceeded his middle-of-the-pack ranking. Auburn, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Nebraska, TCU and Kansas State were all after the star wideout. He was the No. 63-rated wide receiver in the nation and the No. 64-rated player in the state of Texas.

Jordan Reed, TE, Florida (2009) National Recruit
How many four-star dual-threat quarterback prospects come out of Connecticut? The answer is one. Reed was the No. 25-rated quarterback prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports and was No. 276 overall regardless of position. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound passer picked the Gators over Oregon, Tennessee, Maryland, Iowa, Duke, UConn and Boston College. Rivals ranked him the No. 2 player in the state behind North Carolina wideout Josh Adams.

Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (2010) National Recruit
The offensive tackle from Arlington (Texas) High barely missed landing in the AC100. He was the No. 106-rated overall prospect in the nation regardless of position. He was No. 13-rated offensive lineman in the nation and the No. 13-rated prospect in The Lone Star State. His offer sheet was incredible with names like Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Nebraska, UCLA, Arkansas and Texas A&M atop his wish list. As a draft eligible potential first-round pick, he now becomes one of Kevin Sumlin’s top recruits once again.

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (2010) AC100
Matthews is the fourth member of the Aggies' 2010 offensive line class to land on an all-conference team (Andrew Norwell, James Hurst, Luke Joeckel). He was the No. 3-rated player in the nation at his position and was the No. 33-rated overall player in the country — ahead of all three of the aforementioned blockers. The O-line legacy from Missouri City (Texas) Elkins was the No. 5-rated player in the state of Texas by Athlon. Rivals gave him four stars.

Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (2009)
This big blocker from Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake picked Alabama over Auburn, South Carolina and Rutgers. Warmack was ranked as the No. 29 player in the state of Georgia and the No. 20 offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com. He was a three-star recruit.

Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State (2009)
The three-star recruit from Liberty (Miss.) Amite County held just two offers coming out of high school. Southern Miss was the only other FBS program to offer him a college football scholarship. Rivals ranked Jackson as the No. 91-rated offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 28-rated player in The Magnolia State.

Barrett Jones, C, Alabama (2008) National Recruit
This Memphis (Tenn.) Evangelical Christian stud was the No. 1 prospect in the state of Tennessee (which included Dont’a Hightower), the No. 17 offensive lineman in the nation and the No. 146-rated player nationally regardless of position. He possessed offers from nearly everyone in the southeast but visited only Alabama, Florida and North Carolina. Jones helped Nick Saban sign the nation’s No. 1 class in 2008.

Cordarrelle Patterson, AP, Tennessee (2012) JUCO
The electric athlete was the No. 4-rated junior college prospect in the nation in the Class of 2012. Originally from Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern, Patterson spent a year at North Carolina Tech without playing football. But he made a big name for himself as a two-time NJCAA All-American at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas the next two seasons. His exploits earned him offers from LSU, Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Miami and many others, but he ended up in Knoxville.

Related: The Athlon Consensus 100

Star ranking breakdown of the first-team All-SEC (by Rivals.com):

Star Ranking No. of Players
5
11
7
0
Walk-On 0


2012 Defensive All-SEC Team as Recruits

Sharrif Floyd, DL, Florida (2010) AC100
Few players on the SEC’s first team were ranked as highly as the Philadelphia (Pa.) George Washington product. Floyd was ranked the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the nation and was the No. 10 overall player in the nation by Athlon Sports. The AC100 recruit was the top player in the Keystone State. He signed with Florida over major powers like Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Miami, South Carolina and dozens of others. Rivals gave him the elusive fifth star.

Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri (2009) AC100
Until Dorial Green-Beckham announced his decision last February, Richardson might have been the most highly touted prospect to ever sign with Mizzou. Athlon Sports ranked the St. Louis (Mo.) Gateway prospect as the No. 8 defensive tackle in the nation and the No. 1 player in the Show Me State. He was the No. 66-rated player in the nation overall in the AC100. Rivals ranked him the highest of any recruiting service giving him five stars as the No. 4-rated player in the nation. Florida, Oklahoma, Miami and many others lost to the Tigers in his recruitment.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (2011) AC100
The Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe defensive end was the unanimous No. 1-rated prospect in the nation in the Class of 2011. Obviously, this made him the top player in his state and the top player nationally at his position. He literally could have picked any of the 120 (at the time) programs in the FBS ranks to play his college ball. In two short seasons, he has established that he was ranked exactly where he should have been and appears poised for a Heisman Trophy run in 2013. He also has a good shot at being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Damontre Moore, DL, Texas A&M (2010)
Moore is the only defensive lineman on the 2012 All-SEC team who wasn’t an AC100 or five-star recruit. He was a three-star prospect coming out of Rowlett (Texas) High three years ago. He was the No. 32-rated weakside defensive end and the No. 72-rated player in The Lone Star State by Rivals. He held five offers from his five finalists: Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Kansas.

Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia (2009) AC100
The Columbus (Ga.) Carver product was the No. 6-rated linebacker in the nation and the No. 28 overall player in the nation by Athlon Sports. He was the No. 1 player in the Peach State and signed with USC out of Carver High School. He played the first half of his freshman year before hurting his neck. Complication with the injury eventually led to him transferring back home to Georgia.

C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (2010) National Recruit
Much like Joeckel, Mosley just missed landing in the AC100 as a linebacker from Theodore (Ala.) High. He was the No. 113 overall prospect in the nation. Mosley finished as the No. 9 linebacker in the nation and the No. 3 player in the state of Alabama. Every program in the Southeast as well as a few from the Big 12 (Oklahoma) and the West Coast (Stanford) wanted to ink the star tackler.

Kevin Minter, LB, LSU (2009) National Recruit
The Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge prospect just missed landing in the AC100 as he was ranked the No. 148 overall player in the nation regardless of position. He was the No. 17-rated linebacker in the country and was the No. 10-rated player in the state by Athlon Sports. Oklahoma State, USC, South Carolina, West Virginia, NC State, Kentucky and Virginia were his finalists. Rivals gave him four stars.

Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State (2009)
Banks committed so early to the Bulldogs — April of his junior year — that no other team was ever really in the mix. The Maben (Miss.) East Webster product knew exactly where he wanted to play and it paid off with an All-American career. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals who ranked him as the No. 63 “athlete” in the nation and the No. 23 player in the Magnolia State.

Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama (2010) AC100
Only two players were ranked ahead of Mosley in the state of Alabama in 2010 and Milliner was one of them. The Millbrook (Ala.) Stanhope Elmore cornerback was the No. 1-rated player in the state and the No. 3-rated defensive back in the nation. He finished as the No. 15-rated overall prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports. His offers sheet included every major program from the Southeast. He was a five-star recruit by Rivals.

Eric Reid, S, LSU (2010) AC100
The star safety was the No. 2-rated player in the state coming out of storied prep program Geismar (La.) Dutchtown. He was the No. 80-rated player in the nation as a member of the 2010 AC100 and was ranked as the ninth-best defensive back in the country by Athlon Sports. He got a four-star ranking from Rivals and picked LSU over Stanford, Tennessee, NC State and Tulane.

Matt Elam, S, Florida (2010) AC100
The hardest hitter in the nation hails from West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer and was a star at an early age. Elam was the top-rated defensive back prospect in the nation and the No. 1 player in the uber-talented Sunshine State. He was ranked as the No. 8 overall player in the entire class. Like most elite talents, he had his pick of any school in the nation. Rivals gave him the rare five-star rating.

Related Content:

Athlon Consensus 100: The Top 100 Recruits in the Nation
The 2012 All-America Team as Recruits

The 2012 All-Big 12 Team as Recruits

The 2012 All-Pac-12 Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-ACC Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-Big Ten Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-SEC Team as Recruits

Teaser:
<p> How the 2012 All-SEC Team Ranked as High School Recruits</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 05:10
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-greatest-offenses
Body:

The BCS is wrapping up its 15th season of action and Athlon Sports is continuing its series of BCS rankings. We ranked the best performances of each BCS bowl game and we ranked the best teams of each BCS conference. Now, we break down the top offensive units of the BCS era (1998-present).

Statistics, awards, championships and NFL talent were all considered and evaluated in order to label the Top 10 offenses of the BCS era. Only teams from BCS conferences were considered and teams from 2012 were not eligible.

Related: College Football: The BCS' Best Defenses

1. USC Trojans, 2005 (12-1)
Head Coach: Pete Carroll
Rushing Offense: 260.0 ypg (6th)
Passing Offense: 319.8 ypg (5th)
Total Offense: 579.8 ypg (1st)
Scoring Offense: 49.1 ppg (2nd)
NFL Draft Picks: Matt Leinart (1st, 2006), Reggie Bush (1st, 2006), LenDale White (2nd, 2006), Winston Justice (2nd, 2006), Deuce Lutui (2nd, 2006), Dominique Bryd (4th, 2006), David Kirtman (5th, 2006), Fred Matua (7th, 2006), Dwayne Jarrett (2nd, 2007), Steve Smith (2nd, 2007), Ryan Kalil (2nd, 2007), Sam Baker (1st, 2008), Fred Davis (2nd, 2008), Chilo Rachal (2nd, 2008), John David Booty (5th, 2008), Chauncey Washington (7th, 2008), Mark Sanchez (1st, 2009), Patrick Turner (3rd, 2009), Charles Brown (2nd, 2010)

The defending BCS National Champs returned largely intact for 2005 and began the season ranked No. 1 in the nation. Do-everything tailback Reggie Bush led the nation in all-purpose yards at 222.3 yards per game and claimed the Heisman Trophy — the second straight for USC (Leinart, 2004). A 513-yard performance and this touchdown run in a shootout win over a ranked Fresno State team likely clinched the stiff-arm trophy for the dynamic running back. After crushing rival UCLA, the Trojans finished the 2005 season having never left the No. 1 line in the polls. They carried a 34-game winning streak into the BCS National Championship game against Texas in what became the first time two Heisman winners ever played in the same backfield. Leinart threw for a title game record 365 yards, but the Trojans defense could not stop Vince Young in what is the greatest game ever played according to this college football writer. This team had 19 players drafted — three QBs, seven OL, four RBs, three WRs and two TEs — off of the offense and was so deep that Mark Sanchez was the third-string quarterback. This team was 19 seconds away from likely becoming the best college football team ever assembled — no matter "how" they were assembled.

2. Texas Longhorns, 2005 (13-0)
Head Coach: Mack Brown
Rushing Offense: 274.9 ypg (2nd)
Passing Offense: 237.2 ypg (40th)
Total Offense: 512.1 ypg (3rd)
Scoring Offense: 50.2 ppg (1st)
NFL Draft Picks: Vince Young (1st, 2006), David Thomas (3rd, 2006), Jonathan Scott (5th, 2006), Justin Blalock (2nd, 2007), Kasey Studdard (6th, 2007), Limas Sweed (2nd, 2008), Jamaal Charles (3rd, 2008), Tony Hills (4th, 2008), Henry Melton (4th, 2009), Chris Ogbonnaya (7th, 2009)

This team may not be as talented as the 2005 USC team it beat in the Rose Bowl to claim the National Championship but it might have had the single most unstoppable force to ever step onto a football field. Vince Young is the most dynamic player I've ever seen on a college gridiron and the numbers prove it. To get to Pasadena, Texas steamrolled the competition, averaging more than 50 points a game and scoring 60 or more four times. In the second week of the season, Texas became the first non-conference opponent in 15 years to defeat Ohio State in Columbus, and followed that win up about a month later by dominating Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. The Longhorns destroyed Colorado 70-3 in the Big 12 Championship to set up the showdown with No. 1 USC. The Rose Bowl title tilt lived up to every bit of its billing as Vince Young put on the most impressive performance in BCS National Championship history, accounting for 84 percent of Texas’ total offense (467 out of 556 yards), and scored the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left to capture the Longhorns’ fourth national championship in thrilling fashion. The Horns scored a school-record 50.2 points per game, set a school record for yards in a season (6,657), total yards per game and total touchdowns (55). This team had four players rush for at least 10 touchdowns and featured a backfield of Jamaal Charles, Romance Taylor, Henry Melton, Selvin Young and Chris Ogbonnaya.

3. Miami Hurricanes, 2001 (12-0)
Head Coach: Larry Coker
Rushing Offense: 204.6 ypg (21st)
Passing Offense: 250.2 ypg (35th)
Total Offense: 454.8 ypg (8th)
Scoring Offense: 43.2 ppg (3rd)
NFL Draft Picks: Bryant McKinnie (1st, 2002), Jeremy Shockey (1st, 2002), Clinton Portis (2nd, 2002), Najeh Davenport (4th, 2002), Martin Bibla (4th, 2002), Joaquin Gonzalez (7th, 2002), Daryl Jones (7th, 2002), Andre Johnson (1st, 2003), Willis McGahee (1st, 2003), Ken Dorsey (7th, 2003), Kellen Winslow (1st, 2004), Vernon Carey (1st, 2004), Carlos Joseph (7th, 2004)

Simply put, this team was loaded and is viewed by many as one of the best ever in college football history. The offensive numbers may not be as staggering as 2008 Oklahoma or 2010 Oregon, for example, but from a talent perspective, it is hard to argue this isn't the most gifted offense ever assembled. Quarterback Ken Dorsey claimed co-Big East Player of the Year honors playing behind five drafted NFL linemen, a backfield featuring Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee and Najeh Davenport and a receiving corps with Andre Johnson and Jeremy Shockey leading the way. They started things off by going to Happy Valley and dominating Penn State 33-7, which tied the record for the Nittany Lions’ worst home loss under Joe Paterno. Later on, the Canes defeated No. 14 Syracuse and No. 12 Washington in consecutive weeks at the Orange Bowl with a combined score of 124-7, which set the NCAA record for largest margin of victory over consecutive ranked opponents. They capped things off by dismantling the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers 37-14 in the Rose Bowl, in a game in which they held a 34-0 lead in the first half. Miami's average margin of victory in 2001 was 33.2 points per game.

4. Oklahoma Sooners, 2008 (12-2) 
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
Rushing Offense: 198.5 ypg (20th)
Passing Offense: 349.4 ypg (3rd)
Total Offense: 547.9 ypg (3rd)
Scoring Offense: 51.1 ppg (1st)
NFL Draft Picks: Phil Loadholt (1st, 2009), Juaquin Iglesias (3rd, 2009), Duke Robinson (5th, 2009), Manuel Johnson (7th, 2009), Sam Bradford (1st, 2010), Jermaine Gresham (1st, 2010),  Trent Williams (1st, 2010), Brody Eldridge (5th, 2010), DeMarco Murray (3rd, 2011)

The highest-scoring team in NCAA history (716 total points), this Oklahoma team scored no fewer than 35 points prior to the BCS National Championship game against Florida. Quarterback Sam Bradford rewrote the Oklahoma record books on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. Bradford finished No. 1 in the nation in pass efficiency (180.84) and No. 4 in total offense (340.5 ypg). He set single-season school records for yards (4,270) and touchdown passes (50). This offense led the nation with only 11 turnovers all season and featured a pair of 1,000-yard backs in DeMarco Murray (1,397 yards from scrimmage, 18 total TDs) and Chris Brown (1,329 yards from scrimmage and 21 total TDs). Murray was eighth nationally in all-purpose yards (167.0 ypg), and tight end Jermaine Gresham was the best the country had to offer at tight end (66 rec., 950 yards, 14 TDs). Despite being arguably the most prolific offense of the modern era, the relatively pedestrian 14-point, 364-yard BCS title game performance knocks this Crimson and Cream frieght train off the top spot.

5. USC Trojans, 2004 (13-0)
Head Coach: Pete Carroll
Rushing Offense: 177.4 ypg (33rd)
Passing Offense: 271.7 ypg (13th)
Total Offense: 449.1 ypg (12th)
Scoring Offense: 38.2 ppg (6th)
NFL Draft Picks: Matt Cassel (7th, 2005), Matt Leinart (1st, 2006), Reggie Bush (1st, 2006), LenDale White (2nd, 2006), Winston Justice (2nd, 2006), Deuce Lutui (2nd, 2006), Dominique Bryd (4th, 2006), David Kirtman (5th, 2006), Fred Matua (7th, 2006), Dwayne Jarrett (2nd, 2007), Steve Smith (2nd, 2007), Ryan Kalil (2nd, 2007), Sam Baker (1st, 2008), Fred Davis (2nd, 2008), Chilo Rachal (2nd, 2008), John David Booty (5th, 2008), Chauncey Washington (7th, 2008)

While Pete Carroll's outright BCS Natianal Championship team was his most complete team, it was not his most dominant offense. Yet, this group returned largley intact and would be the foundation for what turned out to be his best offense one year later. Since the players were basically the same, this team marched through its schedule with ease, claimed the Heisman Trophy and eventually sent 10 players into the first or second round of the NFL Draft from the offense alone, it had to make the list. Quarterback Matt Leinart, in his second year under center and armed with an embarrasment of skill players, led the Pac-10 in passing efficiency (156.54) and finished with 3,322 yards and 36 total touchdowns (against only six interceptions). He capped his Heisman campaign with 332 yards and a BCS bowl record five touchdown passes in the destruction of unbeaten No. 2 Oklahoma. The two-headed rushing attack of LenDale White (1,108 yards, 15 TDs) and Reggie Bush (1,416 yards from scrimmage, 15 TDs) made it virtually impossible for anyone to stop the 2004 Trojans. Until 2005.

6. Florida Gators, 2008 (13-1)
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Rushing Offense: 231.1 ypg (10th)
Passing Offense: 213.9 ypg (61st)
Total Offense: 445.1 ypg (15th)
Scoring Offense: 43.6 ppg (4th)
NFL Draft Picks: Percy Harvin (1st, 2009), Louis Murphy (4th, 2009), Cornelius Ingram (5th, 2009), Tim Tebow (1st, 2010), Aaron Hernandez (3rd, 2010), Riley Cooper (5th, 2010), Maurkice Pouncey (1st, 2010), Mike Pouncey (1st, 2011), Marcus Gilbert (2nd, 2011), Maurice Hurt (7th, 2011)

Tim Tebow had his Heisman Trophy (2007) and a national championship ring (2006), but the most talented, most successful Gator offense was his 2008 squad. The Gainesville idol gave one of the most famous speeches in college football history: “You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season.” The Gators then went on to crush quality opponents Arkansas, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State and Alabama by an average of 31.8 points per game. Florida led the SEC in rushing, total offense and scoring while play-maker extradanaire Percy Harvin led the SEC in scoring (8.5 ppg). Tebow led the league in passing efficiency at 172.37. The Chosen One delivered on his promise (and halftime speech) by throwing for 231 yards and two scores while rushing for 109 yards on 22 carries to outlast Oklahoma 24-14 in the BCS Championship game. The 2008 Gators tied the 1996 national champs as the highest-scoring team in school history (611 points). This offense featured five active NFL pass catchers (including undrafted David Nelson), a pair of blocking twins and speed demons Brandon James, Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. This team redefined the term "SEC Speed."

7. Auburn Tigers, 2010 (14-0)
Head Coach: Gene Chizik
Rushing Offense: 284.8 ypg (5th)
Passing Offense: 214.4 ypg (66th)
Total Offense: 499.2 ypg (7th)
Scoring Offense: 41.2 ppg (7th)
NFL Draft Picks: Cam Newton (1st, 2011), Lee Ziemba (7th, 2011), Brandon Mosley (4th, 2012)

Cam Newton was a one-man wrecking crew for Auburn in 2010. His 4,327 yards of total offense (2,854 pass, 1,473 rush) set an SEC single-season record. Newton led this team to a new school record for scoring and finished second in the nation in passing efficiency (180.52). His 20 rushing touchdowns were second all-time only to Tim Tebow in SEC history and his 51 total touchdowns were No. 2 to Tebow as well. The backfield included 1,000-yard rusher Michael Dyer and 800-yard rusher Onterio McCalebb, and the SEC's top blocker, Lee Ziemba, anchored a stellar, veteran offensive line. A set of veteran receivers —Darvin Adams, Terrell Zachery — mixed with young talent — Emory Blake, Phlip Lutzenkirchen — gave Newton plenty of talented targets. When the Tigers needed a big play with the game on the line, few players on this list were ever more unstoppable than Cam Newton (maybe only the one near the top, actually). No Auburn team has ever won as many games (14) or scored as many points (577).

8. Oregon Ducks, 2010 (12-1)
Head Coach: Chip Kelly
Rushing Offense: 286.2 ypg (4th)
Passing Offense: 244.5 ypg (39th)
Total Offense: 530.9 ypg (1st)
Scoring Offense: 47.0 ppg (1st)
NFL Draft Picks: LaMichael James (2nd, 2012), Mark Asper (5th, 2012), David Paulson (7th, 2012)

One of the most powerful, explosive and fast-paced offenses in league history led the nation in scoring and total offense. It was the highest-scoring team (611 pts) in school history, and it played in its first-ever BCS National Championship game. The offense was led by first-year quarterback Darron Thomas (2,881 yards, 30 TDs, 486 rush yards, 5 TDs) and the nation's leading rusher and scorer in LaMichael James (144.3 ypg, 12.0 ppg). James earned the Doak Walker as the nation's top running back. The talented offensive duo was joined by leading receiver Jeff Maehl (77 rec., 1,076 yards, 12 TDs) and star back-up Kenjon Barner (1,040 all-purpose yards, 9 total TDs). The only blemish on the '10 Ducks resume was obviously the 75 yards rushing and 19 points scored in the BCS title game loss to Auburn. The 2012 version of the Ducks was likely a better overall unit but didn't finish the regular season unbeaten as Pac-12 champs (and isn't eligible for this exercise).

9. Florida State Seminoles, 1999 (12-0)
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
Rushing Offense: 122.8 ypg (83rd)
Passing Offense: 302.9 ypg (12th)
Total Offense: 425.7 ypg (12th)
Scoring Offense: 37.5 ppg (4th)
NFL Draft Picks: Peter Warrick (1st, 2000), Sebastian Janikowski (1st, 2000), Ron Dugans (3rd, 2000), Laveranues Coles (3rd, 2000), Marvin Minnis (3rd, 2001), Travis Minor (3rd, 2001), Chris Weinke (4th, 2001), Char-ron Dorsey (7th, 2001), Anquan Boldin (2nd, 2003), Brett Williams (4th, 2003), Montae Holland (4th, 2003)

The best team of the BCS era in the ACC gets a slight nod over the 2000 Seminoles for a couple of reasons. While the stats were better in Chris Weinke's Heisman Trophy season, the offense scored zero points in the national title game loss to Oklahoma, and two first-round picks, Peter Warrick and Sebastian Janikowski, had already moved on (not to mention a few other receivers). The undefeated national championship team that topped the dynamic Michael Vick gets the nod after 220 all-purpose yards, three touchdowns and the MVP trophy for Warrick in the 2000 Sugar Bowl. Few teams will ever match the depth and talent of a receiving corps that included Warrick, Ron Dugans, Marvin Minnis, Laveranues Coles and Anquan Boldin. For good measure, toss in Travis Minor, the best kicker in the country and three linemen eventually drafted into the NFL, and you have the No. 9 offense of the BCS era.

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys, 2011 (12-1)
Head Coach: Mike Gundy
Rushing Offense: 158.6 ypg (58th)
Passing Offense: 387.2 ypg (2nd)
Total Offense: 545.8 ypg (3rd)
Scoring Offense: 48.7 ppg (2nd)
NFL Draft Picks: Brandon Weeden (1st, 2012), Justin Blackmon (1st, 2012)

This offense had it all. It beat five ranked opponents and won both the Big 12 championship and memorable Fiesta Bowl against Stanford. It had two first round picks leading the BCS' top passing attack. And it featured one of the best three-headed offensive attacks in history: Brandon Weeden, Joseph Randle and Justin Blackmon. Blackmon won his second consecutive Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver. He finished with a school record 121 catches (breaking his own record of 111). His 1,522 yards were third all-time in school history and his 18 touchdowns were second in school history to his own mark of 20 set the year before. Brandon Weeben broke his own school records for passing yards (4,727), touchdowns (37), completions (408), attempts (564) and total offense (4,625). Randle's 24 rushing touchdowns and 150 points were second only to Barry Sanders. To this day, fans in Stillwater still believe their team belonged in the BCS National Championship Game.

Related: The Greatest Non-BCS Offenses of the BCS Era

Others receiving votes: 1998 Ohio State, 1998 Wisconsin, 1999 Georgia Tech, 2000 Florida State, 2001 Florida, 2002 Iowa, 2003 Texas Tech, 2004 Oklahoma, 2006 West Virginia, 2006 Ohio State, 2007 Florida, 2007 Texas Tech, 2008 Texas Tech, 2008 Missouri, 2010 Oklahoma State, 2011 Baylor

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Post date: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 05:40
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The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. Athlon continues its look at how each all-conference team ranked as high school recruits with the first-team All-ACC team.

Related: College Football's 2012 All-American Team as Recruits

2012 Offensive All-ACC Team as Recruits

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (2009) AC100
The ACC Offensive Player of the Year was a known commodity coming out of Hampton (Va.) Phoebus in 2009. Athlon ranked him as the No. 7-rated quarterback, the No. 5-rated player in the state and was the No. 77-rated overall prospect nationally in the Athlon Consensus 100. Boyd had offers from any school he wanted to and had been committed to Tennessee before Lane Kiffin left for USC. Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Kansas State, to name a few, also offered Boyd scholarships.

Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson (2008) National Recruit
The all-purpose back from Moncks Corner (S.C.) Berkeley was rated behind fellow Clemson running back signee Jamie Harper in 2008. Ellington, who was also a highly touted four-star prospect, finished with the better career. Rivals rated him as the No. 5 all-purpose back in the nation, the No. 4-rated player in the state and the No. 172-rated player nationally. South Carolina, Maryland and Kentucky were his other finalists.

Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina (2010) AC100
The star tailback from famed Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas barely made it into the 2010 AC100. He was the No. 100-rated prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports. Bernard was the No. 15-rated player in The Sunshine State and was the No. 12-rated running back in the nation. He had offers from all over the nation, including Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Tennessee. Amazingly, he played in the same backfield as Wisconsin’s James White.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (2010) National Recruit
Much like Ellington, Hopkins wasn’t the highest-rated wideout in this Clemson class. Martavis Bryant was the AC100 prospect, but Hopkins turned in an All-American season this fall. He signed with the Tigers from Central (S.C.) D.W. Daniel over Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Rivals rated the four-star recruit as the No. 12 wide receiver in the nation, the No. 8-rated player in the state and the No. 148-rated overall player in the nation.

Conner Vernon, WR, Duke (2009)
Hailing from Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep, Vernon was an undersized recruit who wasn’t rated nationally or within the state of Florida. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals who had offers from Ole Miss, Troy, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest to go with the Duke Blue Devils. It’s a good thing he changed the prep hairstyle

Alex Amidon, WR, Boston College (2010)
The Lakeville (Conn.) Hotchkiss School prospect was just a two-star recruit by Rivals. He held only three FBS offers — Boston College, Syracuse and Tulane — to go with some smaller scholarships from New Hampshire and Villanova. Because the state generally produces very little top-flight talent, the two-star was the No. 8-rated player in Connecticut.

Brandon Ford, TE, Clemson (2008) National Recruit
The Hanahan (S.C.) High School product was a four-star wide receiver listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. He is now a 6-foot-3, 240-pound All-ACC tight end. He had one offer coming out of high school, mostly because there was little doubt as to where he was going to sign. He was the No. 46-rated wideout in the nation and the No. 11-rated player in the Palmetto State.

Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina (2008)
The Tar Heels blocker was a three-star recruit from Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard. Rivals gave him a three-star ranking and named him the No. 21 offensive guard in the nation and the No. 8-rated player in the state. He picked North Carolina over offers from Duke, East Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and Wake Forest. He was a three-star prospect.

Dalton Freeman, OL, Clemson (2008) National Recruit
The big blocker was listed as a four-star offensive guard coming out of Pelion (S.C.) High School. He had an elite offer sheet with Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee joining Clemson in pursuit of the talented prospect. He was the No. 13-rated guard in the nation and the No. 9-rated player in the state.

Omoregie Uzzi, OL, Georgia Tech (2008) National Recruit
One of the highest-rated lineman to ever sign with the Yellow Jackets, most every Southern power wanted Uzzi. From Chamblee (Ga.) High, he held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia. Rivals rated him a four-star recruit and as the No. 19 guard in the nation as well as the No. 19 player in the state.

James Hurst, OL, North Carolina (2010) AC100
The massive Indianapolis (Ind.) Plainfield blocker could have played anywhere he wanted to with offers from Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee as well as North Carolina (just to name a few). He was an AC100 prospect and finished as the No. 2-rated player in the state and the No. 5-rated offensive lineman in the nation by Athlon Sports. He was the No. 36-rated player in the nation and was a four-star prospect by Rivals.

Oday Aboushi, OL, Virginia (2009) National Recruit
The offensive line tradition at Virginia continued with this big-time prospect from Brooklyn (N.Y.) Xaverian. He was a four-star recruit who was rated as the No. 3-best player in the state and the No. 23-best offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals. He picked the Wahoos over offers from Northeastern powers Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Boston College as well as Iowa.

Duke Johnson, AP, Miami (2012) AC100
Randy “Duke” Johnson was a big-time playmaker at Miami (Fla.) Norland. The ACC’s Freshman of the Year was an AC100 member who was rated as the No. 36-overall prospect in the nation. He was the No. 6-rated running back and the No. 6-rated player in the state of Florida. Miami landed the star tailback over Florida, Texas, Louisville and West Virginia. Rivals rated the five-star prospect as the No. 1 all-purpose back.

Related: The Athlon Consensus 100

Star ranking breakdown of the first-team All-ACC (by Rivals.com):

Star Ranking No. of Players
1
10
12
1
Walk-On 1


2012 Defensive All-ACC Team as Recruits

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State (2010)
There are plenty of other star recruits on the Florida State defense, but the Salisbury (Conn.) High prospect was the best this year. The three-star recruit was the No. 65-rated defensive tackle and the No. 5-rated player in the state by Rivals. His offer sheet wasn’t long but had some intriguing names: Oregon, Rutgers, Missouri, Cal, UConn and Boston College to name a few. The Noles were lucky to get this underrated prospect.

Tank Carradine, DL, Florida State (2009)
Cornelius “Tank” Carradine was an undersized weakside defensive end prospect who was listed at 6-foot-5 and just 205 pounds. Hailing from the storied Cincinnati (Ohio) Taft program, Carradine, who is listed at 250 pounds now, was a three-star prospect by Rivals. He was the No. 18-rated weakside end and was the No. 18-rated player in the state. Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pitt, Illinois and Cincinnati also offered the smallish end.

Sylvester Williams, DL, North Carolina (2011)
Williams took an interesting path to Chapel Hill. He played one year of football before going to work for Modine Manufacturing Company before enrolling at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College shortly after high school. He is from Jefferson City, Mo., originally and took one more shot at making it on the football field. After excelling at Coffeyville, Williams became a three-star JUCO prospect who got offers from Georgia, USC, West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech among others. Rivals rated him the No. 23 JUCO prospect in the nation.

Kareem Martin, DL, North Carolina (2010)
The in-state defensive lineman from Roanoke Rapids (N.C.) High was a three-star recruit by Rivals. He was the No. 14-rated player in the state and the No. 28-rated weakside defensive end in the nation. He picked the Tar Heels over offers from nearly every other ACC school in the league.

Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina (2008)
Yet another three-star Tar Heel defensive prospect, Reddick hails from New Bern (N.C.) High. He was the No. 9-rated player in the state and the No. 33-rated outside linebacker in the nation. He had offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and more before picking North Carolina.

Nick Clancy, LB, Boston College (2008)
Boston College has produced some elite linebackers in the last decade and Clancy is the latest. He was a three-star prospect from Joliet (Ill.) Catholic back in 2008 by Rivals and ranked as the No. 40 outside linebacker and the No. 8 player in the state. Clancy picked the Eagles over BCS offers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa State, Northwestern, Purdue and Vanderbilt.

Jack Tyler, LB, Virginia Tech (2009)
Rivals totally whiffed on the talented Hokies linebacker. He is not listed as a member of the signing class and had no star ranking of any kind. The website shows he had no offers despite winning State Defensive Player of the Year honors at Oakton (Va.) High. The walk-on tackler redshirted and became an All-ACC performer as a junior.

Demetrius Martsfield, LB, Maryland (2008)
From Raleigh (N.C.) Southeast, Hartsfield was a three-star inside linebacker prospect by Rivals. He was the No. 30-rated middle backer and the No. 18-rated player in the state. He got two BCS offers from Duke and Maryland to go with smaller offers from East Carolina and Buffalo.

Xavier Rhodes, DB, Florida State (2009)
Rhodes played his prep ball at Miami (Fla.) Norland — the same high school as Duke Johnson. He was actually evaluated as a wide receiver, ranking as the No. 75 player at his position nationally by Rivals. He was the No. 91-rated player in the state and earned three-stars from the website. He held four offers out of high school: Florida State, Auburn, West Virginia and FIU. 

Ross Cockrell, DB, Duke (2009)
Duke and Virginia were the only FBS programs to offer the cornerback prospect from Charlotte (N.C.) Latin. He was the No. 76-rated coverman in the nation by Rivals and was a three-star recruit.

David Amerson, DB, NC State (2010) National Recruit
The first-team All-ACC offense features 10 four- and five-star recruits. Amerson is the only defensive player on the ACC’s first-team to land at least four stars. The four-star from Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley was ranked as a safety — the No. 16-rated safety in the nation. He was the No. 206-rated player in the entire nation and the No. 6-rated player in the state. He had an elite offer sheet with LSU, Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, South Carolina to go with his NC State scholarship.

Antone Exum, DB, Virginia Tech (2009)
Exum was ranked as a three-star “athlete” by Rivals back in 2009. He was the No. 38-rated player nationally at his position and the No. 14-rated player in the state of Virginia. Hailing from Glen Allen (Va.) Deep Run, Exum also got offers from big-time programs like Louisville, Penn State, Oregon, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.

Related Content:

The 2012 All-America Team as Recruits
Athlon Consensus 100: The Top 100 Recruits in the Nation
The 2012 All-Big 12 Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-Pac-12 Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-ACC Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-Big Ten Team as Recruits

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2012 All-ACC Team As Recruits</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 05:20
Path: /college-football/college-football-2012-all-big-ten-team-recruits
Body:

The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. Athlon continues its look at how each all-conference team ranked as high school recruits with the first-team All-Big Ten team.

Related: College Football's 2012 All-American Team as Recruits

2012 Offensive All-Big Ten Team as Recruits

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (2011) AC100
Miller was a star in high school and it earned him a spot in the Athlon Consensus 100. He trailed only Florida’s Jeff Driskel as the No. 2-rated quarterback prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports. The Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne star was the No. 30-rated player in the nation and was the No. 1-rated player in the state of Ohio. His offer sheet was a who’s who of college powerhouses as Alabama, USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and many others tried to land the dual-threat. Miller, however, was all Buckeye committing to Ohio State well before his senior season. He was a four-star recruit by Rivals.com

Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (2009) National Recruit
Ball came to Wisconsin as the 5A Missouri State Player of the Year after rushing for 8,222 yards and 107 touchdowns at Wentzville (Mo.) Timberland. He was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 33 running back in the nation and was a four-star recruit. Ball was the No. 4 player in the state of Missouri by Athlon Sports and the No. 3 player in the Badgers’ 2009 class, and he picked Wisconsin over offers from Missouri, Stanford, Kansas, Northwestern, Iowa State and Indiana.

Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State (2010)
Rivals missed the boat on the Reynoldsburg (Ohio) Groveport Madison running back. He was a two-star recruit who wasn’t ranked in the Ohio Top 60 or in the national running back rankings either. That said, most coaching staffs missed on the workhorse back as well. He had four offers to play college football and Michigan State was his only BCS scholarship. Marshall, Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green were Bell’s other options.

Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin (2009)
Abbrederis was an all-conference performer on the high school level as both a quarterback and cornerback for Wautoma (Wis.) High School. He does not even have a recruiting profile on any of the three major recruiting services (Scout, Rivals, 247). The former walk-on had no star ranking and didn’t have any other FBS offers.

Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State (2011)
The sophomore wideout hails from Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s High. He was the No. 24-rated player in the state of Michigan that year and was given three stars by Rivals. His only other offers besides Penn State were Buffalo, Minnesota and Toledo. Should he continue to develop, Robinson should vastly out-perform his recruiting stock.

Kyle Carter, TE, Penn State (2011)
The No. 3-rated player in the state of Delaware in 2011 was this Nittany Lion tight end. From New Castle (Del.) William Penn, Carter was a two-star prospect by Rivals. Bucknell and Delaware were the only other offers on his sheet.

Spencer Long, OL, Nebraska (2009)
A walk-on, Long redshirted during his first year in Lincoln. From Elkhorn (Neb.) High School, coaching staffs and recruiting services alike completely missed on the burly blocker. Long has developed into one of the more consistent performers in the league.

Travis Frederick, OL, Wisconsin (2009)
The massive blocker signed with the Badgers from the appropriately named Big Foot High School in Walworth, Wisc. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals and was ranked as the No. 5 player in the state and the No. 83 offensive tackle in the nation. He held only four offers total with Wisconsin as his only BCS scholarship. Frederick picked UW over Air Force, Navy and North Dakota State.

Ricky Wagner, OL, Wisconsin (2008)
The all-conference blocker was yet another walk-on as a recruit back in 2008. The big blocker came to Madison from West Allis (Wisc.) Nathan Hale and was passed over by coaches and scouts alike. Big Red fans are certainly thankful he showed up on campus five years ago.

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (2009) National Recruit
Hailing all the way from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral, Lewan came to Michigan as a highly touted prospect with offers from all over the nation. He wasn’t a top 100 recruit, but was a four-star player who had his pick of schools. He was rated as the No. 194 overall player, the No. 16 offensive tackle and the No. 5 player in the state by Rivals.

Andrew Norwell, OL, Ohio State (2010) AC100
The Buckeyes' top blocker trailed only Texas signee Jordan Hicks in the Athlon Sports Ohio state recruiting rankings. The Cincinnati (Ohio) Anderson product was the No. 4-rated offensive lineman in the nation and the No. 34-rated overall player in the nation. He was a four-star prospect by Rivals and was considered by many as a can’t-miss recruit. Notre Dame, Stanford, Cincinnati, Illinois and others tried to land the blocker to no avail. Norwell committed to Ohio State in February of his junior year. 

Related: The Athlon Consensus 100

Star ranking breakdown of the first-team All-Big Ten (by Rivals.com):

Star Ranking No. of Players
0
9
5
5
Walk-On 3


2012 Defensive All-Big Ten Team as Recruits

Eric Martin, DL, Nebraska (2009)
The Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde prospect was a three-star recruit by Rivals. He got plenty of West Coast love with offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Washington, Washington State and Nevada as well as Nebraska. Martin was listed as a 6-foot-2, 215-pound inside linebacker — the 26th best middle linebacker and the No. 38-rated player in the state.

John Simon, DL, Ohio State (2009) AC100
Much like Norwell, Simon was the No. 2-rated prospect in the state of Ohio for his class. The Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney product trailed only fellow OSU signees Marcus Hall in The Buckeye State rankings. Simon was actually the No. 7-rated defensive tackle prospect and was the No. 48-rated overall player in the AC100.

Jordan Hill, DL, Penn State (2009)
Penn State landed a gem in this Steelton (Pa.) Highspire defensive lineman. He was listed as a two-star strongside defensive end prospect by Rivals. His offer sheet wasn’t long but he had scholarship offers from Rutgers, Pitt and Temple as well as Penn State. He was the No. 39-rated player in The Keystone State.

Kawann Short, DL, Purdue (2008)
The star interior defensive lineman signed with Purdue from East Chicago (Ind.) Central High School. He had no other BCS offers and was a three-star recruit according to Rivals. He was the No. 6-rated player in the state and the No. 57-rated defensive tackle in the nation.

Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State (2011) National Recruit
The hard-hitting backer just missed making the AC100 as the No. 111-rated player in the nation in 2011. The Plantation (Fla.) High prospect was the No. 12-rated linebacker recruit in the nation and was given four stars by Rivals. He received offers from every major program in the nation and had his pick of scholarships.

Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State (2008) National Recruit
Not many Pelican State prospects end up signing with Penn State but that is exactly what the Mandeville (La.) High talent did in 2008. Mauti was the No. 8-rated player in the state of Louisiana and the No. 16-rated inside linebacker in the nation. The four-star recruit by Rivals had offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana Tech as well as Penn State. He just missed landing in the AC100.

Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin (2008)
The tackling machine for the Badgers was a 6-foot-2, 195-pound outside linebacker recruit back in 2008. The Ashwaubenon (Wisc.) High product was the No. 6-rated player in the state and was given two stars by Rivals. He picked UW over Air Force, Army, Iowa and Wyoming.

Micah Hyde, DB, Iowa (2009)
Hyde was originally a two-star dual-threat quarterback recruit as ranked by Rivals.com. He had offers from one BCS program (Iowa) and a host of solid MAC schools: Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami-OH, Ohio, Toledo and Eastern Michigan. Hyde signed with Iowa from Fostoria (Ohio) High School.

Daimion Stafford, DB, Nebraska (2011) JUCO
According to Huskers.com, Stafford had scholarship offers from USC and Florida coming out of Norco High School in California. He instead landed at Chaffey (Calif.) College. After two seasons at Chaffey, he became a four-star JUCO prospect with offers from Florida, USC, Iowa State, New Mexico and Nebraska. He was the No. 14-rated junior college recruit in the nation in 2011.

Travis Howard, DB, Ohio State (2008) National Recruit
From notable South Florida Dr. Krop High School in Miami, Howard earned four stars from Rivals in the 2008 class. He was the No. 19-rated cornerback in the nation and the No. 43-rated player in the Sunshine State. He picked the Buckeyes over offers from Florida, Miami, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Wisconsin.

Bradley Roby, DB, Ohio State (2010)
Signing with the Buckeyes out of Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge from deep in the South, Roby was a three-star wide receiver by Rivals. He was not ranked in the state or at his position in anyway, making his deep offer sheet that much more impressive. He picked Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, South Carolina, West Virginia and many others.  

Related Content:

Athlon Consensus 100: The Top 100 Recruits in the Nation
The 2012 All-America Team as Recruits

The 2012 All-Big 12 Team as Recruits

The 2012 All-Pac-12 Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-ACC Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-Big Ten Team as Recruits

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2012 All-Big Ten Team As Recruits</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 05:20
Path: /college-football/college-football-2012-all-pac-12-team-recruits
Body:

The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. Athlon continues its look at how each All-Conference team ranked as high school recruits with the first-team All-Pac-12 team.

Related: College Football's 2012 All-American Team as Recruits

2012 Offensive All-Pac-12 Team as Recruits

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (2011)
The cool Hawaiian played at St. Louis High School in Honolulu before signing with Oregon. His only other scholarship offer was from Memphis. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals who was the No. 12-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation and the No. 2-rated player in his state. He had interest in other big programs (Notre Dame, Arizona, Stanford, UCLA) but only got the two scholarship offers. Mariota defines the overused phrase "diamond in the rough."

Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona (2011) National Recruit
The Oro Valley (Ariz.) Canyon Del Oro sophomore was ranked by Athlon Sports as the No. 30 running back in the nation, the No. 5 player in the state of Arizona and the No. 212 overall recruit in the country. He held three Pac-12 offers to play college football from Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado. The coveted tailback was a four-star prospect by Rivals.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon (2008)
Hailing from Riverside (Calif.) Notre Dame, Barner was a middle of the pack recruit back in 2008. Rivals rated him as the No. 38 running back in the nation and the No. 86 player in the state. He was a three-star prospect whose only other offers came from Arizona State and UTEP.

Marqise Lee, WR, USC (2011) AC100
The superstar wide receiver hails from California prep powerhouse Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra. He was the No. 64-rated prospect in the nation, the No. 6-rated player in the state and the No. 10-rated wide receiver in the country. His offer sheet was a who’s who of college superpowers. Lee played on the same team as Athlon Consensus 100 wide receivers George Farmer (2011), Robert Woods (2010) and four-star Paul Richardson (2010). How did anyone stop that passing attack?

Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State (2009)
The Chandler (Ariz.) High prospect was just a three-star recruit back in 2009, but he was far from unknown. The smallish wideout had a huge offer sheet that included both Arizona schools, Cal, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Utah. The Beavers won a big battle for the underrated prospect. Rivals rated him the No. 41 “athlete” in the nation and the No. 7-rated player in the state.

Zack Ertz, TE, Stanford (2009)
The heady tight end was a three-star talent from Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista back in 2009. He was the No. 10-rated tight end in the nation and the No. 46-rated prospect in the state by Rivals. He held only three, albeit quality, offers from Stanford, Cal and UCLA.

Hroniss Grasu, OL, Oregon (2010)
The big blocker from Encino (Calif.) Crespi got three BCS offers out of high school. Oregon, Washington and Washington State gave him a shot as well as smaller schools Wyoming, Nevada and UNLV. He was a three-star recruit ranked as the No. 12 center and No. 58 player in the state of California.

Brian Schwenke, OL, Cal (2009)
From Oceanside (Calif.) High, Schwenke’s offer sheet had three major Pac-12 powers on it in Oregon, Cal and Colorado. Otherwise, New Mexico was his only other FBS offer. Rivals rated the blocker as the No. 44 offensive guard and the No. 60-rated player in the state. He was a three-star recruit.

Xavier Su’a-Filo, OL, UCLA (2009) AC100
Only John Martinez (USC) was rated as a better prospect in the state of Utah in 2009. Su’a-Filo was an AC100 member by Athlon Sports and offers from every major West Coast power as well as Notre Dame and Auburn. He was the No. 87-rated player in the nation and the No. 12-rated offensive lineman in the nation by Athlon Sports. He made a huge impact in his first year back from his two-year Mormon Mission.

Khaled Holmes, OL, USC (2008) National Recruit
From the same high school as Matt Barkley, Holmes signed with USC out of the famed Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei program. He was a four-star top 250 prospect by Rivals who ranked as the No. 3 guard in the nation, the No. 14 player in the state and the No. 103 overall player in the nation. Holmes picked USC over Stanford, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Cal.

David Yankey, OL, Stanford (2010)
Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw have done a remarkable job recruiting nationally for the Cardinal. Yankey played his prep ball at Roswell (Ga.) Centennial, and Stanford defeated the Clemsons, Floridas, Georgias and Tennessees in his home region to convince the eventual All-Pac-12 blocker to come to the West Coast. He was a three-star prospect who rated as the No. 47 offensive tackle and No. 53 player in The Peach State by Rivals.

Reggie Dunn, RS, Utah (2010) JUCO
The Los Angeles (Calif.) Verburn Dei athlete was an elite prospect back in 2007 when he signed with Oregon State. He was a four-star prospect by Rivals who had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon and Washington as well. He ended up at Compton Community College for three seasons before signing with Utah in 2010.

Star ranking breakdown of the first-team All-Pac-12 (by Rivals.com):

Star Ranking No. of Players
0
8
14
1

 

2012 Defensive All-Pac-12 Team as Recruits

Scott Crichton, DL, Oregon State (2010)
The star defensive lineman was a middling prospect from Tacoma (Wash.) Henry Foss. His only two offers to play football came from Oregon State and Washington State. Crichton was a three-star recruit by Rivals who ranked as the No. 12 player in The Evergreen State and the No. 44-rated strongside defensive end in the nation.

Dion Jordan, DL, Oregon (2008) National Recruit
Oregon’s freakish outside linebacker/defensive end was a big-time recruit back in 2008. The Chandler (Ariz.) High prospect was a four-star recruit who held seven Pac-12 offers as well as a Nebraska scholarship. Rivals ranked him as the No. 15 tight end in the nation and he was the No. 7-rated player in the state.

Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State (2009)
From Corona (Calif.) Centennial, Sutton came to Arizona State sporting only four BCS offers. They included Arizona, Nebraska and Boise State in addition to the Sun Devils. He was the No. 42-rated defensive tackle and the No. 40-rated player in the state of California in the ’09 class. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals.

Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah (2007)
The big fella from Bingham (Utah) High originally signed with BYU out of high school. He was the No. 57-rated defensive end and the No. 3-rated player in the state of Utah. He held offers from Utah, UNLV and Weber State as well as the Cougars. He eventually landed at Snow College for two years before heading to Salt Lake City. Miraculously, Lotulelei didn’t even play football in 2009 before signing with Utah in January 2010.

Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA (2010) AC100
Barr was one of the freakiest athletes to ever play high school football in California. The Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola product was pegged as a linebacker, wide receiver, tight end, running back or defensive end. He was the No. 29-rated player in the nation in the AC100 and was the No. 7-rated player in the state by Athlon Sports. Barr had no true position (even once he got to UCLA) and was rated as the No. 3 “athlete” in the nation behind only college superstars Keenan Allen (No. 2) and Tony Jefferson (No. 1). He held major offers from power programs across the nation, including Oregon, USC, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tennessee, Michigan and Florida State.

Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford (2009)
The star pass rusher came to Palo Alto from Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep. He was a three-star recruit according to Rivals, was rated as the No. 41 strongside defensive end in the nation and the No. 19 player in the state. Despite his middling ranking, Murphy had a solid offer sheet with Pac-12 programs Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah also offering him a scholarship.

Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford (2008)
The Cardinal have made a living recently recruiting in the state of Georgia. Thomas picked Stanford over Auburn, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia Tech out of Marietta (Ga.) Walton. He was a three-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 27 outside linebacker in the nation and the No. 26-rated player in the state. Thomas makes two Peach State prospects on the All-Pac-12 team (Yankey).

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DB, Oregon (2011) National Recruit
The Ducks' defensive back signed with Oregon from Chino Hills (Calif.) High just two seasons ago. The big-time recruit had offers from Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, Utah and Washington State, along with the Ducks. Ekpre-Olomu was a four-star prospect by Rivals who was the No. 173-rated overall player in the nation. He was the No. 17-rated cornerback in the country and the No. 18-rated player in the state.

Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State (2009)
The Beavers' defensive back and return man was one of the biggest steals of the ’09 class. The Astoria (Ore.) High prospect was a wildly underrated two-star recruit with two FBS offers. Portland State, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Oregon State were the only programs who showed any serious interest in the two-star prospect. Rivals rated him as the No. 8 player in the state of Oregon.

Ed Reynolds, DB, Stanford (2010)
Once again, an all-conference player for Stanford comes from the opposite end of the country. Reynolds played his prep ball at Woodberry Forest (Va.) High. He was a three-star recruit who wasn’t ranked in the state or at his position by Rivals despite a quality offer sheet featuring North Carolina, NC State and Duke to go with Stanford. The credit for growing the Stanford brand image on the East Coast goes directly to former head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Desmond Trufant, DB, Washington (2009)
The younger brother of former Washington State star Marcus Trufant, Desmond picked Washington over Wazzu, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona State. He was a three-star prospect from Tacoma (Wash.) Wilson and was the No. 6-rated player in the state. He was the No. 56-rated cornerback in the nation by Rivals.

Related Content:

Athlon Consensus 100: The Top 100 Recruits in the Nation
The 2012 All-America Team as Recruits

The 2012 All-Big 12 Team as Recruits

The 2012 All-Pac-12 Team as Recruits

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2012 All-Pac-12 Team As Recruits</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-greatest-defenses
Body:

The BCS is wrapping up its 15th season of action and Athlon Sports is continuing its series of BCS rankings. We ranked the best performances of each BCS bowl game and we ranked the best teams of each BCS conference. Now, we break down the top defensive units of the BCS era (1998-present).

Statistics, awards, championships and NFL talent were all considered and evaluated in order to label the Top 12 defenses of the BCS era. Teams from 2012 were not eligible, otherwise both Notre Dame or Alabama could land on this list. But until the 2012 National Championship is decided, neither belongs on this list (yet).

Related: College Football: The BCS' Best Offenses

1. Miami Hurricanes, 2001 (12-0)
Head Coach: Larry Coker
Rushing Defense: 132.7 ypg (40th)
Passing Defense: 138.2 ypg (2nd)
Total Defense: 270.9 ypg (6th)
Scoring Defense: 9.4 ppg (1st)
Turnovers Forced: 45 (1st)
Sacks: N/A
NFL Draft Picks: Phillip Buchanon (1st, 2002), Ed Reed (1st, 2002), Mike Rumph (1st, 2002), James Lewis (6th, 2002), Jerome McDougle (1st, 2003), William Joseph (1st, 2003), Andrew Williams (3rd, 2003), Jamaal Green (4th, 2003), Matt Walters (5th, 2003), Sean Taylor (1st, 2004), Jonathan Vilma (1st, 2004), Vince Wilfork (1st, 2004), D.J. Williams (1st, 2004), Darrell McClover (7th, 2004), Alfonso Marshall (7th, 2004), Antrel Rolle (1st, 2005)

Imagine trying to design a passing attack to beat a secondary that featured Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Phillip Buchanon, Mike Rumph, James Lewis, Alfonoso Marshall and Antrel Rolle. How about a rushing attack to penetrate a D-Line with Jerome McDougle, William Joseph, Vince Wilfork, Matt Walters, Jamaal Green and Andrew Williams? And to top it all off, the linebackering corps running around between the two boasted names like Vilma, Williams and McClover. Simply put, this team is one of the greatest groups ever assembled. They started things off by going to Happy Valley and dominating Penn State 33-7, which tied the record for the Nittany Lions’ worst home loss under Joe Paterno. Later on, the Canes defeated No. 14 Syracuse and No. 12 Washington in consecutive weeks at the Orange Bowl with a combined score of 124-7, which set the NCAA record for largest margin of victory over consecutive ranked opponents. They capped things off by dismantling the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers 37-14 in the Rose Bowl, in a game where they held a 34-0 lead in the first half. Miami pitched three shutouts and held eight opponents to seven points or fewer. Later, the Canes claimed 10 first-round draft picks on defense.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide, 2011 (12-1)
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Rushing Defense: 72.2 ypg (1st)
Passing Defense: 111.5 ypg (1st)
Total Defense: 183.6 ypg (1st)
Scoring Defense: 8.2 ppg (1st)
Turnovers Forced: 20 (77th)
Sacks: 2.3 spg (29th)
NFL Draft Picks: Mark Barron (1st, 2012), Dre Kirkpatrick (1st, 2012), Dont'a Hightower (1st, 2012), Courtney Upshaw (2nd, 2012), Josh Chapman (5th, 2012), DeQuan Menzie (5th, 2012)

The 2011 Crimson Tide allowed fewer points (8.8) than any other team in the history of the BCS. It led the nation in every major statistical defensive category and completely shutdown the unbeaten LSU Tigers in the BCS title game. LSU totaled five first downs, two turnovers, zero points and an (un) remarkable 92 total yards of offense. This team featured eight NFL draft picks, six of which were starters on the defense. This unit could also feature another half-dozen defensive draft picks in 2013 (Dee Milliner, CJ Mosley, Jesse Williams, Robert Lester, etc). Eight times this team allowed less than 10 points — including its only loss of the year — and it allowed more than 14 points only once (21, Georgia Southern). One could argue this is the best college defense ever.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide, 2009 (13-0)
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Rushing Defense: 78.1 ypg (2nd)
Passing Defense: 166.0 ypg (10th)
Total Defense: 244.1 ypg (2nd)
Scoring Defense: 11.7 ppg (2nd)
Turnovers Forced: 31 (10th)
Sacks: 2.3 spg (40th)
NFL Draft Picks: Rolando McClain (1st, 2010), Kareem Jackson (1st, 2010), Javier Arenas (2nd, 2010), Terrence Cody (2nd, 2010), Marquis Johnson (7th, 2010), Brandon Deaderick (7th, 2010), Marcell Dareus (1st, 2011)

The undefeated national champions won big in 2009 because of a stacked NFL defense.  This outfit was led by Butkus Award winner Rolando McClain and a stellar defensive line headlined by Mount Cody and Marcell Dareus. Do-everything corner Javier Arenas not only covered the opponent's top receiver and snagged five interceptions, but he also was a dyanamic pass-rusher (five sacks) and game-changing return specialist. Despite knocking Colt McCoy out of the National Championship game and claiming the Crystal Ball, the signature performance by this unit came against an unbeaten Tim Tebow-led Florida Gators team in the SEC title game. The Tide held the Gators to only 88 yards rushing, 13 first downs and only 13 points in a title-clinching win. This defense has already seen seven players drafted, and that number will continue to rise this spring as Dre Kirkpatrick, Mark Barron (who led the SEC in INTs in 2009), Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw could all grade out as early round picks.

4. LSU Tigers, 2003 (13-1)
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Rushing Defense: 67.0 ypg (3rd)
Passing Defense: 185.0 ypg (18th)
Total Defense: 252.0 ypg (1st)
Scoring Defense: 11.0 ppg (1st)
Turnovers Forced: 33 (9th)
Sacks: N/A
NFL Draft Picks: Marquise Hill (2nd, 2004), Chad Lavalais (5th, 2004), Marcus Spears (1st, 2005), Corey Webster (2nd, 2005), Travis Daniels (4th, 2005), Kyle Williams (5th, 2006), Melvin Oliver (6th, 2006), LaRon Landry (1st, 2007)

One of the nastiest defensive lines ever assembled featured NFL draft picks Marquise Hill, Chad Lavalais, Marcus Spears, Kyle Williams and Melvin Oliver. At 11.0 points per game, LSU led the nation in scoring defense, allowing only one team (Arkansas, 24) to score more than 19 points in any game. Only Florida (19) scored more than 14 points against this defensive unit. In the biggest game for the Bayou Bengals in 40 years, this defense squared off against Heisman winner Jason White of Oklahoma and flat-out dominated. White averaged 292 yards per game in '03, but mustered only 102 yards on 13-of-37 passing with no touchdowns and a pair of interceptions — one of which Spears returned for a touchdown that eventually proved to be the game-winner.

5. Oklahoma Sooners, 2000 (13-0)
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
Rushing Defense: 108.2 ypg (23rd)
Passing Defense: 170.8 ypg (9th)
Total Defense: 278.9 ypg (8th)
Scoring Defense: 16.0 ppg (7th)
Turnovers Forced: 33 (5th)
Sacks: N/A
NFL Draft Picks: Torrance Marshall (3rd, 2001), Roy Williams (1st, 2002), Rocky Calmus (3rd, 2002), Andre Woolfolk (1st, 2003), Jimmy Wilkerson (6th, 2003), Teddy Lehman (2nd, 2004), Derrick Strait (3rd, 2004)

This team was not the most impressive statistically, but featured two Butkus Award winners (Rocky Calmus, Teddy Lehman), two Thorpe Award winners (Roy Williams, Derrick Strait), a Nagurski winner (Williams), and what was probably the best defensive championship performance of all time. The Sooners held the nation's No. 1 overall offense and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke to zero points and only 301 yards of offense (nearly 250 yards below their season average). Linebacker Torrance Marshall led the way with No. 4-rated BCS NCG game performance with six tackles and an interception en route to the Orange Bowl MVP trophy. Safety J.T. Thatcher and linebacker Calmus were All-Americans, while Lehman was a freshman All-American. Williams was one of the most impactful and hardest-hitting college players this writer has ever seen.

6. USC Trojans, 2008 (12-1)
Head Coach: Pete Carroll
Rushing Defense: 87.4 ypg (5th)
Passing Defense: 134.4 ypg (1st)
Total Defense: 221.8 ypg (2nd)
Scoring Defense: 9.0 ppg (1st)
Turnovers Forced: 29 (20th)
Sacks: 2.2 spg (40th)
NFL Draft Picks: Clay Matthews (1st, 2009), Brian Cushing (1st, 2009), Rey Maualuga (2nd, 2009), Fili Moala (2nd, 2009), Kaluka Maiava (4th, 2009), Kyle Moore (4th, 2009), Cary Harris (6th, 2009), Kevin Ellison (6th, 2009), Taylor Mays (2nd, 2010), Kevin Thomas (3rd, 2010), Everson Griffin (4th, 2010), Jurrell Casey (3rd, 2011), Shareece Wright (3rd, 2011), Malcolm Smith (7th, 2011)

There were eight NFL draft picks who departed from this defense following the near national championship campaign of 2008. Fourteen total players have found their way to the NFL, and that number is only going to increase next spring. An early road upset at the hands of Oregon State kept the best linebacking corps of the BCS era from claiming a spot in the BCS NCG. This group pitched three shutouts and held the opposition to 10 points or less eight times; only three times did a team score more than 10 points. The 9.0 points per game are a current BCS era scoring record (Alabama could break that this season). Team leader Rey Maualuga claimed the Chuck Bednarik Award.

7. Tennessee Volunteers, 1998 (13-0)
Head Coach: Phil Fulmer
Rushing Defense: 93.9 ypg
Passing Defense: 209.1 ypg
Total Defense: 303.0 ypg
Scoring Defense: 15.3 ppg
Turnovers Forced: 16 INT
Sacks: N/A
NFL Draft Picks: Al Wilson (1st, 1999), Steve Johnson (6th, 1999), Corey Terry (7th, 1999), Shaun Ellis (1st, 2000), Raynoch Thompson (2nd, 2000), Dwayne Goodrich (2nd, 2000), Deon Grant (2nd, 2000), Darwin Walker (3rd, 2000), Eric Westmoreland (3rd, 2001), Will Overstreet (3rd, 2002)

Possibly the most talented Tennessee team in program history finished a dream season by winning the Fiesta Bowl 23-16 over Florida State in the first-ever BCS Championship Game. A front seven that featured eventual draft picks Shaun Ellis, Darwin Walker, Corey Terry, Billy Ratliff and Will Overstreet along the line and Al Wilson, Raynoch Thompson and Eric Westmoreland in the linebacking corps held 10 opponents to 18 points or less — including No. 2 Florida, No. 7 Georgia, No. 23 Mississippi State and No. 2 Florida State.

8. LSU Tigers, 2011 (13-1)
Head Coach: Les Miles
Rushing Defense: 90.1 ypg (5th)
Passing Defense: 171.4 ypg (8th)
Total Defense: 261.5 ypg (2nd)
Scoring Defense:  11.3 ppg (2nd)
Turnovers Forced: 30 (16th)
Sacks: 2.8 spg (14th)
Key Player: Morris Claiborne (1st, 2012), Michael Brockers (1st, 2012), Brandon Taylor (3rd, 2012), Ron Brooks (4th, 2012)

This defense was outstanding, finishing a distant second behind only Alabama in total defense and scoring defense. It ran the regular season table unbeaten but couldn't finish in the national championship game. It claimed the Thorpe Award winner (Morris Claiborne), a Heisman finalist (Tyrann Matheiu), four NFL draft picks and an SEC championship. With a host of future NFL stars — Sam Montgomery, Eric Reid, Barkevious Mingo, Kevin Minter, Anthony Johnson — the talent on this unit was one of the best in history. But 384 yards allowed to AJ McCarron and Trent Richardson in the biggest game of the season keeps it from being the in the mix with '01 Miami and '11 Bama.

9. Florida Gators, 2006 (13-1)
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Rushing Defense: 72.5 ypg (5th)
Passing Defense: 116.3 ypg (33rd)
Total Defense: 466.9 ypg (6th)
Scoring Defense: 13.5 ppg (6th)
Turnovers Forced: 29 (17th)
Sacks: 2.4 spg (35th)
NFL Draft Picks: Reggie Nelson (1st, 2007), Jarvis Moss (1st, 2007), Ray McDonald (3rd, 2007), Marcus Thomas (4th, 2007), Joe Cohen (4th, 2007), Ryan Smith (6th, 2007), Brandon Siler (7th, 2007), Derrick Harvey (1st, 2008), Jermaine Cunningham (2nd, 2010), Brandon Spikes (2nd, 2010)

The 2006 Gators defense put together one of the greatest BCS Championship game performance against the favored Buckeyes and Heisman winner Troy Smith. Smith threw for 35 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and was sacked five times. An NFL-laden defense held the OSU rushing attack to 47 yards on 23 carries. Ohio State totaled 82 yards of offense in the 41-14 beatdown as the Gators claimed the Crystal Ball. Derrick Harvey led the way with the No. 12-rated BCS Championship Game performance with a BCS NCG record three sacks to go with his four solo stops and a forced fumble. This team featured seven defensive draft picks the following spring in 2007.

10. Ohio State Buckeyes, 2007 (11-2)
Head Coach: Jim Tressel
Rushing Defense: 82.9 ypg (3rd)
Passing Defense: 150.1 ypg (1st)
Total Defense: 233.0 ypg (1st)
Scoring Defense: 12.8 ppg (1st)
Turnovers Forced: 19 (93rd)
Sacks: 3.3 spg (6th)
NFL Draft Picks: Vernon Gholston (1st, 2008), Larry Grant (7th, 2008), Malcolm Jenkins (1st, 2009), James Laurinaitis (2nd, 2009), Donald Washington (4th, 2009), Marcus Freeman (5th, 2009), Thaddeus Gibson (4th, 2010), Doug Worthington (7th, 2010), Kurt Coleman (7th, 2010), Austin Spitler (7th, 2010), Cam Heyward (1st, 2011), Chimdi Chekwa (4th, 2011), Jermale Hines (5th, 2011), Brian Rolle (6th, 2011), Ross Homan (6th, 2011)

The nation's best defense was one great performance away from being immortalized in Ohio State lore. With a roster loaded with NFL talent, the Buckeyes held LSU to only 326 yards in the BCS National Championship game, but fell short 38-24. Nagurski Trophy (2006) and Butkus Award winner James Laurinaitis set a BCS bowl record with 18 tackles in the loss. Defensive coordinator Jim Heacock won the Broyles Award and corner Malcolm Jenkins went on to win the Thorpe Award the following year. This defense featured 15 draft picks, including three first-rounders.

The Next in Line

11. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 2009 (10-4)
Head Coach: Bo Pelini
Rushing Defense: 93. 1 ypg (9th)
Passing Defense: 178.9 ypg (18th)
Total Defense: 272.0 ypg (7th)
Scoring Defense: 10.4 ppg (1st)
Turnovers Forced: 28 (21st)
Sacks: 3.1 spg (2nd)
NFL Draft Picks: Ndamukong Suh (1st, 2010), Phillip Dillard (4th, 2010), Larry Asante (5th, 2010), Prince Amukamara (1st, 2011), Dejon Gomes (5th, 2011), Eric Hagg (7th, 2011)

You could make the case that the 1999 version of the Black Shirts could be on this list as well. But from a talent perspective, it is tough to argue with the way the 2009 group played, as they finished one second away from defeating National runner-up Texas in the Big 12 title game. The D-line included Heisman finalist Ndamukong Suh, Jared Crick, Barry Turner and Pierre Allen. The linebacking corps featured Phillip Dillard and Larry Asante, and the secondary featured Eric Hagg, Prince Amukamara and Alfonzo Dennard. This team allowed more than 20 points only one time and ten times did Nebraska hold the opposition to 13 or fewer points. Six players have already been drafted off of the 2009 defense. This team led the nation in scoring defense and finished second in sacks.

12. TCU Horned Frogs, 2010 (13-0)
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
Rushing Defense: 99.7 ypg (5th)
Passing Defense: 128.8 ypg (1st)
Total Defense: 228.5 ypg (1st)
Scoring Defense: 12.0 ppg (1st)
Turnovers Forced: 22 (59th)
Sacks: 2.1 spg (54th)
NFL Draft Picks: Colin Jones (6th, 2011), Malcolm Williams (7th, 2011)

You have to throw the "little guy" a bone after one of the best defensive seasons by any team ever. TCU held eight opponents to 10 points or less including four who failed to score a touchdown. Led by Rose Bowl MVP and All-America linebacker Tank Carder, the Frogs topped Big Ten champ Wisconsin in the 21-19 Granddaddy of Them All. By holding Johnny Unitas Award winner Scott Tolzien to 159 yards and no scores, TCU finished the best season in school history unbeaten and ranked first in the nation in scoring and total defense.

Related: The Greatest Non-BCS Offenses of the BCS Era

Others receiving votes: 1998 Ohio State, 1999 Nebraska, 2000 TCU, 2001 Texas, 2002 Kansas State, 2002 USC, 2004 USC, 2005 Virginia Tech, 2006 LSU, 2007 Virginia Tech, 2008 Florida, 2009 Texas

Teaser:
<p> College Football: The BCS' Greatest Defenses</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 05:04
Path: /nfl/8-amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-15
Body:

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 15 of NFL play:

7-1: Aaron Rodgers career record against Jay Cutler
The Packers won their seventh consecutive game against the Bears as Rodgers' continued domination of Cutler gave Green Bay their second consecutive NFC North championship. Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in the road win and is second to only Drew Brees with 32 touchdown passes this year. The Packers are 10-4 and are eyeing the NFC's two-seed without the help of a kicker — Mason Crosby has missed at least one field goal in eight straight games and is nine for his last 18 — or a host of elite playmakers on both sides of the ball. Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Desmond Bishop, Cedric Benson, D.J. Smith and Bryan Bulaga are either out for the year or have missed significant time this year. Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning are deserving MVP candidates, but has anyone done more with less than No. 12 in Green and Gold?

9: Consecutive wins for Peyton Manning over the Ravens
The future Hall of Fame quarterback led his Broncos to a key victory on the road over Baltimore in a game with AFC seeding implications. The 34-17 win over the Ravens gives Manning nine straight wins over the extremely successful AFC North franchise. The Ravens have been a playoff team in each of the last four years (soon to be five) and, after this year, will have made the postseason in six of the last seven seasons. In fact, two of those nine wins have come in the postseason, both in years that the Colts made it to the Super Bowl (2006, 2009). The last time No. 18 lost to Baltimore was December 2001. 

108: Points scored by Seattle in its last two games
The Seahawks set all kinds of franchise records in their 58-0 drubbing of the Cardinals last week. The offense, led by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, didn't miss a beat again this week in a 50-17 win over Buffalo in Toronto. It marked just the third time in NFL history a team scored 50 points in back-to-back games. Seattle forced 11 turnovers in the two wins while turning the ball over just once. Wilson, who set a franchise record with three rushing touchdowns (by a QB), is putting together one of the best rookie campaigns in history. All while Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck are doing the same. The Seahawks' signal caller has thrown 21 scoring strikes, which ties him with Cam Newton for the third highest total by a rookie (Peyton Manning 26 in 1998, Charlie Conerly 22 in 1948). After a four-touchdown performance in the win over the Bills, Wilson trails Luck (20 pass, 5 rush) by one total TD for the rookie lead. He finished 14-of-23 for 205 yards passing to go with 92 yards rushing on nine carries and has his team at 9-5 in his first year.

8,743: New San Francisco franchise rushing record by Frank Gore
In 156 games as a 49er, Joe Perry rushed for a franchise-record 8,689 yards. In 42 fewer games, Gore has supplanted Perry atop the Niners' all-time rushing standings. He rushed for 83 yards and scored a touchdown in the huge statement win over the Patriots on Sunday night in New England. The Niners endured a 28-point comeback and more than 300 yards passing from Tom Brady in the second half, but Colin Kaepernick answered with four touchdown passes of his own in the gut-check win over the defending AFC Champs. Gore, at 29 years old in his eighth NFL season, will become the first Niners player to rush for 10,000 yards with just one more solid season in the Bay Area. He is already the franchise's leader in rushing attempts (1,885) and his 50 rushing touchdowns trail only Perry's record 68.

294: Yards Adrian Peterson needs to set the NFL single-season rushing record
Eric Dickerson set the single-season NFL rushing record (2,105 yards) in 1984 as a 24-year old Los Angeles Ram. With 212 yards, including an 82-yard scoring run, Peterson has 1,812 yards rushing on the year. His quest for 2,000 almost seems secondary, as he needs 188 yards per game in his last two to reach Dickerson's benchmark. The Vikings tailback is less than a year removed from major knee surgery and has carried a 3-13 team to eight wins with two games left to play. Minnesota and its MVP running back will face the Texans and the Packers — who entered the weekend ranked second and 15th respectively against the run. It will be an extremely difficult task, but 146.5 yards per game is well within reach for the most gifted runner on the planet. Setting that record on that team after that injury, it's hard not to think this would be considered the best season by any running back in NFL history.

181: Yards Calvin Johnson needs to set the NFL single-season receiving record
Before 1995, only two receivers in history had ever topped 1,600 yards receiving in a season. Charley Hennigan's extraordinary 1,761 yards in only 14 games in 1961 and Lance Alworth's 1,602 in 1965 were the only such occurrences. Then the craziness of 1995 took place when four of the top 12 receiving seasons of all-time happened in the same year. Jerry Rice set the single-season mark with 1,848 yards, but the No. 2 (Isaac Bruce, 1,781), No. 6 (Herman Moore, 1,686) and No. 12 (Michael Irvin, 1,603) top receiving seasons also took place. At the time, they ranked No. 1, 2, 4 and 5 all-time. In total, only 15 times has a player topped 1,600 yards receiving in a single NFL campaign. With 121 yards on Sunday, Calvin Johnson (1,667) joined Marvin Harrison as the only two players to have accomplished the feat twice. He needs only 90.5 yards per game over the next two weeks against Atlanta and Chicago to knock Rice from one of the most prestigious pedestals in NFL history.

27: Number of 10,000-yard rushers in NFL history
Steven Jackson rushed for 73 yards in the loss to Minnesota this Sunday, but he became just the 27th player in NFL history to reach the 10,000-yard mark. Jackson is constantly underrated by most fans, particularly because the fantasy community doesn't appreciate his relatively low yearly touchdown totals. But with 91 more rushing yards over the final two weeks, Jackson will top the 1,000-yard mark for the eighth consecutive season. He also caught eight passes in the loss, giving him 399 catches for his career. He is one away from 400 and two away from passing Tom Fears for fifth all-time in Rams' history. Jackson is one of the most consistent producers in the NFL over the last nine seasons and has been doing it for bad football teams with little support from the quarterback position.

17: Number of times Drew Brees has passed at least 300 yards with 4 TDs in a game 
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns in the Saints’ 41-0 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. Brees has recorded at least 300 passing yards and four touchdowns in a game 17 times and passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (16) for the most such games in NFL history.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: While we all sit with our friends and families watching football this holiday season, there will be 26 gaping voids in 26 different living rooms in Newtown, Conn., following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. I went to an elementary school not 15 miles down the road and I can assure the small Northeastern town that an entire nation is mourning your loss. There is no explanation and there are no words. But celebrating the lives and heroics of the teachers and principle who lost their lives protecting children — and appreciating every moment you get with your loved ones — feels like a good place to start rebuilding.

Teaser:
<p> Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 15</p>
Post date: Monday, December 17, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-2012-all-big-12-team-recruits
Body:

The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. Athlon continues its look at how each All-Conference team ranked as high school recruits with the first-team All-Big 12 team.

Related: College Football's 2012 All-American Team as Recruits

2012 Offensive All-Big 12 Team as Recruits

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (2008)
Hailing from Loveland (Colo.) High School, Klein was incorrectly tabbed as a pro-style passer and only a three-star prospect. He was the No. 21 pro passer in the nation and the No. 8-rated player in the state by Rivals. He had one FBS offer and that was from the Wildcats.

Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State (2010) National Recruit
The Wichita (Kan.) Southeast product came out of the same city as Bryce Brown one year later. It turns out the four-star tailback had the much better college career. He was the No. 20-rated running back in the nation and the No. 195-rated prospect overall by the Athlon Consensus 100. Everyone on his list offered him a scholarship except for Oklahoma. In two games as the starter against OU, Randle rushed for 264 yards, caught six passes and scored six touchdowns. People don’t forget.

John Hubert, RB, Kansas State (2009)
The smallish running back played at Midway High School in Waco, Texas, before signing with KSU. He was unranked in the state, nationally or at his position and got three FBS offers. He picked the Wildcats over North Texas and Louisiana Tech and has played with a chip on his shoulder ever since.

Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma (2010) National Recruit
The do-everything player for the Sooners could probably qualify as a tight end, H-back, running back, fullback and special teams tackler for Oklahoma. Coming out of Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge, however, he was ranked as a four-star tight end prospect. Rivals listed him as the No. 15 player at his position and the No. 5-rated player in the state. He picked OU over offers from Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Carolina, Stanford and Tennessee.

Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia (2009) National Recruit
The record-setting receiver played with quarterback Geno Smith at Miramar (Fla.) High School. He was a four-star prospect who was ranked as the No. 61 player in the state of Florida and the No. 48-rated wide receiver in the nation. South Carolina, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Iowa and Ole Miss are the biggest names on his offer sheet outside of the Mountaineers. Once Smith picked WVU, however, the battle for Bailey was likely over.

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor (2008)
The electric playmaker hails from Dallas (Texas) W.T. White and held only one other offer to play college football aside from Baylor. Colorado State is the only other program to give Williams a chance out of high school. He was a two-star athlete prospect who was unranked by anyone in anyway. He has clearly proven the scouts wrong as one of the top wideout prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Tavon Austin, AP, West Virginia (2009) National Recruit
The dynamic athlete signed with West Virginia out of Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar and was ranked behind only Jelani Jenkins (Florida) and Darrell Givens (Penn State) in his state. He was the No. 19-rated running back prospect in the nation and the No. 164-overall player in the class. He held offers from Pitt and Rutgers from the Big East, Michigan and Illinois from the Big Ten as well as Maryland, North Carolina and Boston College in the ACC. He ended his career, ironically, in the Big 12.

Travis Tannahill, TE, Kansas State (2008)
The in-state tight end was a two-star recruit from Olathe (Kan.) East High School. He was the No. 11-rated prospect in the state by Rivals and had no other schools of interest on his list. He was headed to the Little Apple all along.

Cyril Richardson, OL, Baylor (2009)
The big blocker from Crowley (Texas) North was interested in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas Tech as well as Baylor. The Bears, however, were the only school smart enough to offer the three-star prospect. He was the No. 90-rated offensive tackle recruit in the nation by Rivals and every coaching staff in the region whiffed on this potential NFL Draft pick.

Cornelius Lucas, OL, Kansas State (2009)
Lucas got one BCS offer coming out of New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr and that was from KSU. His other FBS scholarships came from Louisiana Tech, UL Monroe and Tulane. The two-star prospect by Rivals was considered the No. 52 player in the state in 2009.

Gabe Ikard, OL, Oklahoma (2009)
The Oklahoma City (Okla.) Bishop McGuinness recruit was a three-star tight end prospect who was listed at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds by Rivals. He was the No. 15-rated tight end in the nation and the No. 14-rated player in the state. Despite his middling ranking, Ikard had an impressive offer sheet that included Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Lane Taylor, OL, Oklahoma State (2008)
Taylor continues the trend of underrated Big 12 blocking recruits. He was a two-star guard prospect from Arlington (Texas) Martin and he held just one other BCS offer other than Oklahoma State (Kansas). He also got looks from SMU, Utah, UNLV, North Texas, New Mexico and Colorado State. He wasn’t ranked in the state rankings or any position lists either.

LaAdrian Waddle, OL, Texas Tech (2009)
Only two BCS programs offered the blocker from Columbus (Texas) High with Ole Miss the only other big program to give Waddle a chance. Houston, Rice, SMU, Tulane and TCU each offered as well. He was a three-star prospect and was considered the No. 74-rated offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.

Related: The Athlon Consensus 100

2012 Defensive All-Big 12 Team as Recruits

Jake McDonough, DL, Iowa State (2008)
The Iowa State blocker held two offers coming out of West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley High back in 2008. Iowa State and Kansas were the only schools interested in 6-foot-6, 238-pound prospect. Rivals ranked him as a three-star defensive end recruit — the 47th end in the nation and the No. 4-rated player in the state of Iowa.

Meshak Williams, DL, Kansas State (2011) JUCO
Originally from Sylvester (Ga.) Worth County, Williams landed at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. A few years later, he was a three-star prospect who picked Kansas State over UAB. He was the No. 37-rated junior college recruit in the nation.

Calvin Barnett, DL, Oklahoma State (2012) JUCO
Barnett was originally a four-star national recruit from Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington in 2010. He was the No. 20-rated defensive lineman and the No. 221-rated overall player by Athlon Sports. He signed with Arkansas over major powers like LSU, Oklahoma, UCLA and Oklahoma State. But he played two seasons at Navarro J.C. in Corsicana, Texas, before ending up in Stillwater, Okla. Barnett was then ranked as the No. 35-rated JUCO prospect in the nation (a three-star) and picked Okie State over Arkansas, Baylor, USF, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Devonte Fields, DL, TCU (2012) National Recruit
Fields is one of the highest-rated prospects to ever sign with TCU. He just missed landing in the AC100 as the No. 122-rated player in the nation. From Arlington (Texas) Martin, he was the No. 27-rated defensive lineman in the nation and had offers from major powers like Oklahoma, Michigan, Missouri and Texas A&M as well as Baylor, Kansas State and Arizona.

Stansly Maponga, DL, TCU (2009)
Widely overlooked by the BCS conferences, Maponga's best offers were from Boise State, Iowa State and TCU. The Lewisville (Texas) Hebron prospect was a three-star recruit who ranked as the 29th best strongside defensive end by Rivals. Needless to say, the scouts missed on the productive Horned Frogs defensive end,

Alex Okafor, DL, Texas (2009) AC100
Okafor is arguably the most touted prospect on the 2012 All-Big 12 team. He was the No. 40-rated player in the nation in 2009 and was considered the No. 3-rated defensive end in the nation. The Pflugerville (Texas) High prospect was No. 8-rated player in the state of Texas by Athlon Sports. Rivals gave him the coveted fifth star.

Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State (2009)
The tackling machine was interested in five schools as a recruit: Iowa State, Missouri, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. But the Cyclones were the only school of the five to offer him a scholarship. Wyoming, Northern Illinois and Army were the only other FBS programs to offer the two-star linebacker a scholarship. Rivals ranked him as the No. 9 player in the state of Iowa out of Waukee High School.

Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State (2008) AC100
The star linebacker from Wichita (Kan.) East was the best prospect at his position in the nation back in 2008. He was obviously the top player in the state and was No. 7 in the AC100. Brown could have played anywhere he wanted, but signed with Miami out of high school. After transferring home to Kansas State, Brown blossomed into one of the nation’s top linebackers.

AJ Klein, LB, Iowa State (2009)
The Kimberly (Wisc.) High prospect was a three-star recruit by Rivals. He was ranked as the No. 86 linebacker in the nation and the No. 6-best player in the state of Wisconsin. He picked the Cyclones over Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Wyoming.

Ty Zimmerman, DB, Kansas State (2009)
The star safety was unranked by Rivals at his position or within his state by all other recruiting services. He was a two-star prospect from Junction City (Kan.) High who held offers only from Northern Iowa and Northern Illinois as well as Kansas State.

Kenny Vaccaro, DB, Texas (2009)
The talented safety hails from Brownwood (Texas) Early and was a big-time prospect that nearly every school wanted. He was the No. 33-rated defensive back in the nation and the No. 215-rated overall prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports. He was a four-star recruit who had his pick of school: Florida, Oklahoma, Stanford, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.

Tony Jefferson, DB, Oklahoma (2010) AC100
The Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake prospect was the No. 1-rated “athlete” in the nation by Athlon Sports. He was the No. 25-rated player in the entire nation and had his pick of scholarship offers. Every major power program in the nation wanted the No. 5-rated player in the state of California.

Jason Verrett, DB, TCU (2011) JUCO
Originally from Fairfield (Calif.) Rodriguez, the TCU safety played at Santa Rosa junior college before signing with TCU. He was a three-star prospect who ranked as the No. 6 junior college defensive back and was the No. 35-rated overall JUCO prospect by Rivals. Verrett was offered by Boise State, UTEP and San Jose State as well as TCU in 2011.

Aaron Colvin, DB, Oklahoma (2010)
The Owasso (Okla.) High cornerback was a three-star prospect by Rivals. He was rated as the No. 12 player in the state and the No. 31 defensive back in the nation. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri were by far his best offers to play college football as North Texas, Tulsa and UNLV offered Colvin scholarships as well.

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2012 All-Big 12 Team As Recruits</p>
Post date: Monday, December 17, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-basketball/5-amazing-college-basketball-stats-week-dec-11-dec-16
Body:

With 347 Division I teams, following college basketball can be overwhelming. Let Athlon Sports start your college hoops week each Monday with a look at some of the most intriguing, most important and most interesting stats from around the sport:

0: Second-half baskets by Cody Zeller against Butler
The big superstar center for the unbeaten No. 1 team in the nation was virtually invincible in the second half against Butler on Saturday. He went 0-of-2 from the floor in the second half and Indiana needed a 7-2 run the in final 32 seconds to simply force the game into overtime. Zeller knocked down two buckets and two free throws in overtime but it was too little too late for the candy stripers. Brad Stevens did a miraculous job juggling a frontcourt lineup that watched Roosevelt Jones (16 pts, 12 rebs), Andrew Smith (12 pts, 9 rebs) and Erik Fromm (10 pts, 5 rebs) foul out.

21: Combined NCAA appearances by 7 schools departing the Big East since 2005
Marquette (seven NCAA appearances since 2005-06), Georgetown (six), Villanova (six), Seton Hall (one), St. John's (one), Providence and DePaul voted to unanimously leave the Big East this weekend. Since the Big East expanded in 2005-06, these seven programs have been to the NCAA tournament 21 times and made two Final Four runs. The group will "create a new identity" on their own and could look to add other  basketball-focsued schools to their seven-team spin-off.

32.5: Average margin of victory for Kansas in its last two games
The Jayhawks played two tournament bound teams in a seven-day period of time last week. Colorado and Belmont aren't college hoops superpowers by any means, but both are quality teams this year with a good shot of landing in the Big Dance come March. The Buffaloes were 7-1 when Kansas pummeled them by 36 points (90-54). Belmont was 7-2 when they headed to Allen Fieldhouse this Saturday only to leave with a 29-point loss to Rock Chalk. Bill Self's team made a bold statement last week and will be a team to watch this week. Kansas will face Richmond (9-2) on Tuesday and then a top-10 Ohio State (8-1) team Saturday in what could be the best game of next weekend. Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey, the Jayhawks' top two scorers, have combined to shoot 52.5-percent from the floor thus far in 2012-2013. The duo was 11-of-17 in the win over the Bruins.

61: Points allowed in the second half by North Carolina to East Carolina
The Tar Heels led the Pirates 42-26 at halftime of their weekend contest. East Carolina then scored 61 second-half points turning what should have been an easy win into a six-point nail-bitter. The Heels won the game and moved to 8-2 overall, but that is a staggering lack of defense to a much less talented opponent. North Carolina allowed 83 points and lost by 24 to Indiana and allowed 82 points in an 11-point loss to Butler. Yahoo! RPI has North Carolina ranked No. 42 and Roy Williams team has yet to defeat an RPI top-50 program (0-2) and has one win over an RPI top-100 program.

2-of-20: Kenny Boyton's 3-point shooting in the last three games
After losing to the unbeaten Wildcats Saturday night, the Gators wrapped-up a nasty three-game set against Marquette, Florida State and Arizona with a 7-1 record. No thanks to Boynton's three-point prowess, however. He was 1-of-7 from behind the arc and 2-of-10 from the floor in the one-point road loss to the Wildcats. The senior shooting guard finished with five points, five rebounds, two assists and three turnovers. This performance comes on the heels of a 1-of-8 showing from three against the Seminoles and an 0-of-5 night from deep against the Golden Eagles. He is 8-of-33 (24.2 percent) overall in the last three games after shooting 44 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from 3-point range last season.

Teaser:
<p> 5 Amazing College Basketball Stats of the Week: Dec. 11-16</p>
Post date: Monday, December 17, 2012 - 04:50
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/10-young-nba-players-who-will-be-hall-famers
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From 1980 to 1989, the average NBA rookie class produced two Hall of Famers per year. In fact, 14 future Hall of Famers entered the NBA over a four-year period (1984-87) in the mid-80s.

To suggest that any player in any sport after just a few seasons is a lock to make the Hall of Fame is ridiculous. But it is always fun to look at athletes who have had instant success and try to extrapolate long-term potential. Limiting the scope to the last three rookie classes, here are the most likely future NBA Hall of Famers:

Class of 2012:

Anthony Davis, F/C, New Orleans
The 6-foot-10, 220-pounder entered the NBA as the consensus can’t-miss No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. After posting the No. 3-rated freshman season in the history of college basketball, Davis and his trademarked unibrow debuted for the Hornets in style. He posted 21 points and seven rebounds in his rookie debut against Sacramento. Through eight career games, Davis is shooting 48.9-percent from the floor, 85.0-percent from the free throw line, averaging 15.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He has missed seven games already and his wiry frame and potential for injury might be the only thing that prevent him from putting together a Hall of Fame career.

Damian Lillard, PG, Portland
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound floor leader from Oakland, Calif., was a proven commodity the second he stepped on a college court. He led Weber State to a conference title as a freshman before earning Big Sky Player of the Year honors twice in his career. It led to the Trail Blazers selecting him with the sixth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He promptly posted a double-double (23 pts, 11 asts) in his rookie debut and he has been excellent ever since. He is averaging 19.4 points, 6.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Once he learns to limit his turnovers, he should become one of the league’s premiere point guards.

Other name to consider:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Charlotte
He isn’t a great shooter and he isn’t a point guard or a center. But MKG can flat out hoop. He is a tough leader who stuffs the stat sheet across the board. He has been a winner at every stop and has elite athletic talents.

Class of 2011:

Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland
Coming out of St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder was one of the nation’s top five prospects. He was electric in the first eight games of his Duke career, leading the team in scoring, before hurting his right foot. Irving returned for the NCAA Tournament, scoring 28 points in his final game against Arizona. He left Duke after 11 career games to be the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft on a LeBron-less Cavaliers team. After averaging 18.5 points on 46.8 percent shooting to go with 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 51 games, Irving claimed 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Irving appears to only be getting better, scoring over 20 points in seven of his first nine games this season while maintaining his efficient percentages and distributing the ball. His explosiveness, athletic ability and scoring touch have the Melbourne, Australia native poised for NBA greatness.

Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota
The 2011 season was the Barcelona, Spain native’s first season in the NBA, but it was far from his first professional tour. He played five years for DKV Joventut Badalona (Spain) before getting drafted fifth overall by the Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft when he was only 18 years old. He then played two more seasons for FC Barcelona Basquet (Spain). His 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame and flashy passing skills have made Rubio the most heralded European prospect in the history of the game. So it should come as no surprise that he averaged 10.6 points, 8.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game in 41 games as a rookie last season. His year was cut short with an ACL tear in March but Minnesota is targeting a late December return for their star point guard.

Others names to Consider:

Kenneth Faried, PF, Denver
Few players are more difficult to box out on rebounds than the Morehead State product. He is averaging 12.4 points on 55 percent shooting and 10.0 rebounds per game in only his second year.

Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte
This kid is a winner. He is a championship point guard on the college level who is using his quickness, basketball IQ and a killer jump shot to try and improve the Bobcats.

Class of 2010:

Blake Griffin, PF, LA Clippers
It took the Oklahoma Sooner an extra year to get to the NBA court after sitting out his first season with a knee injury, but he has quickly become one of the most dominant forces in the league. His athletic ability is second to none as massive dunks and demoralizing blocks are a part of his regular routine. He averaged a double-double in his first two seasons — 22.5 ppg, 12.1 rpg and 20.7 ppg, 10.9 rbg — and helped lead the Clippers to their first postseason berth since 2005 and only the franchise's second playoff run since 1996. As long as he stays healthy, there is little doubt Griffin will make a run at the Hall of Fame.

Greg Monroe, F/C, Detroit
The No. 1 recruit in the nation from New Orleans, La., signed with Georgetown and eventually was drafted with the seventh pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Pistons. Detroit has a rich history and tradition of producing elite players and the 6-foot-11, 250-pound center appears to be the next star. Though early in his third season, Monroe has increased his scoring, assists, steals and blocks per game averages every year of his professional career. He has averaged 8.6 rebounds per game and is a 51.8 percent shooter for his two-and-a-half season career.

Other name to consider:

DeMarcus Cousins, F/C, Sacramento
Elite upside and talents appear to be rounding into form. But will he stay focused and dedicated long enough to earn elite respect and credentials? Remains to be seen.

Just Missed the Cut:

John Wall, PG, Washington (2010)
Harrison Barnes, SF, Golden State (2012)
Chandler Parsons, SF, Houston (2011)
Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State (2011)
Dion Waiters, SG, Cleveland (2012)

Teaser:
<p> 10 Young NBA Players Who Will Be Hall of Famers</p>
Post date: Friday, December 14, 2012 - 04:50
Path: /college-football/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-defensive-ends
Body:

Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft, held April 25-27, won’t be any different.

Today, we rank college football's best defensive end prospects:

1. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (6-4, 250, Jr.)
Versatility is the name of the game for Moore. He can play outside linebacker like a Jarvis Jones in a 3-4 scheme, can play either weakside or strongside end in a traditional 4-3 and could even slide inside on passing downs to get more pressure on the quarterback. He was moved from outside backer to true end for the 2012 season and his burst off of the edge helped him become a disruptive force. He finished with 80 total tackles, 12.5 sacks, 20.0 tackles for a loss, two blocked kicks and a forced fumble. And he did it against the SEC instead of the Big 12 this fall. Few players in this class are better pure pass rushers.

2. Sam Montgomery, LSU (6-5, 260, Jr.)
He hasn't been as flashy as some of the other names on this list but his upside is huge. He has a perfect frame and pedigree to be an elite NFL player. He has great size for a pure end and plays much tougher at the point of attack than some of his smaller counterparts at this position. He led the Tigers in sacks (7.0) in 2012 and finished with 12.0 tackles for a loss for one of the SEC's best defenses. A struggle against potential first-rounder Luke Joeckel might hurt his stock though.

3. Bjoern Werner, Florida State (6-4, 255, Jr.)
A small recruit from a small school in Connecticut, Werner developed into one of the best defensive players on a great defense. He posted 40 tackles, 18.0 tackles for a loss and led the ACC in sacks with 13.0 — three of which came against the Florida Gators. Once counterpart Brandon Jenkins was injured (Week 1), offenses began to focus on him more often, causing his production to slow a bit throughout the season (he had four sacks against Murray State in the season opener). However, his size, strength and work ethic gives him little downside when it comes to the next level.

4. Barkevious Mingo, LSU (6-5, 240, Jr.)
Comparing him to teammate Montgomery is extremely difficult. Mingo is rangier, lankier and a bit more explosive. But he isn't as fundamentally sound or as strong at the point of attack. He may be a better fit as a rush outside backer in a 3-4 whereas Montgomery could play in either scheme. His 2012 season was quieter than expected for LSU, as he finished with 33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss and just 4.0 sacks. He did pressure the QB 12 times this season and his upside alone will make him an intriguing name to follow leading up to the draft in April.

5. Corey Lemonier, Auburn (6-4, 240, Jr.)
The talented edge rusher might be the only bright spot on an otherwise worthless 2012 Auburn squad. This is partly why he failed to build on a huge sophomore season in 2011 (47 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks). He finished with just 34 tackles, 5.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks last fall. Yet, he has 25 quarterback hurries over the last two seasons and his raw potential is still elite. He has great size and athletic ability and scouts will love what they see from him in terms of upside. He should still grade out as a first-round pick.

6. William Gholston, Michigan State (6-6, 275, Jr.)
This is the definition of risk versus reward. Gholston has elite raw talent, potential and upside. He is big, long, powerful and productive against both the run and the pass. But he also has been suspended multiple times and has a demonstrated a lack of focus on occasion. This past season, he posted 50 tackles, 12.0 for a loss and just 3.5 sacks without the help of his 2011 running mate, current Green Bay Packer Jerel Worthy. He could play anywhere along the line and in any scheme — if scouts can figure out a way to keep him focused, out of trouble and how to maximize his potential.

7. Dion Jordan, Oregon (6-6, 245, Sr.)
Jordan is a very similar prospect to that of Gholston with a few small differences. Jordan offers more versatility, at times standing up in more of an outside linebacker position. But like Gholston, he never really utilized his talents to the fullest potential. That said, 2012 was his best season as he posted 44 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks for what many believe is Oregon's best defense since Haloti Ngata was a Duck. He forced three fumbles this fall and graded out very well at the Combine thanks to his freakish natural athletic ability and raw size.

8. Ezekiel Ansah, BYU (6-5, 270, Sr.)
The Cougars' big defensive lineman boasts a unique combination of size and speed that already have scouts and other draft analysts excited. He is a raw prospect with much to learn about the end, tackle or outside backer position. He could play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme at a variety of positions. Kyle Van Noy got most of the offensive line attention for the Cougars, but Ansah showed loads of growth in 2012. He posted 57 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. In a deep end class, Ansah could very well end up as a first-round selection.

9. Tank Carradine, Florida State (6-4, 255, Sr.)
Prior to a major knee injury late in the year, Cornellius "Tank" Carradine had first round written all over him. But his injury will hurt his stock and some team could get a steal should he fall too far past the first day. He posted 80 tackles, 13.0 tackles for a loss and 11.0 sacks in 11 games this past season before the injury. 

10. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas (6-5, 245, Jr.)
His father, Jim, has had this prospect well-coached and well-prepared his entire young career. He is as fundamentally sound as someone of his age and experience can be. He knows the position and has very little downside on the NFL level. But a torn pectoral muscle ended his junior season after just five games. He had 21 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and 4.0 sacks to start the season and his loss was a big part of Texas' struggles on defense in Big 12 play. If he can prove he's healthy, his stock should sky rocket.

11. Alex Okafor, Texas (6-5, 260, Sr.)
A slightly bigger version of Jeffcoat, Okafor is a prototypical end prospect. He posted 46 tackles, 11.5 for a loss, 8.0 sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior.

12. John Simon, Ohio State (6-2, 260, Sr.)
One of the strongest, hardest workers in this class will have to overcome his obvious lack of size and speed. He registered 44 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss and led the Big Ten in sacks with 9.0 last season.

13. Morgan Breslin, USC (6-2, 250, Jr.)
In one short season at USC, Breslin made a huge impact. He finished second in the league in sacks (12.0) and had 53 total tackles to go with 18.0 tackles for a loss.

14. Will Sutton, Arizona State (6-2, 270, Jr.)
The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year is undersized and constantly banged up, but he is a disruptive force to be reckoned with. He finished with 58 tackles, a league-leading 20.0 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. Could play end or tackle.

15. Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky (6-5, 250, Sr.)
He missed two games but still led the nation in sacks per game (1.25). He had 38 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks as well as a 75-yard INT returned for a TD. The level of competition he faced as a Hilltopper will be his big question mark moving forward.

Best of the Rest:

16. Malliciah Goodman, Clemson (6-4, 280, Sr.)
17. Michael Buchanan, Illinois (6-5, 240, Sr.)
18. Scott Crichton, Oregon State (6-3, 265, rSo.)
19. Datone Jones, UCLA (6-4, 275, Sr.)
20. Devin Taylor, South Carolina (6-7, 270, Sr.)
21. Dominique Easley, Florida (6-2, 280, Jr.)
22. Kareem Martin, North Carolina (6-6, 260, Jr.)
23. Kapron Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame (6-3, 300, Sr.)
24. Stansly Maponga, TCU (6-2, 265, Jr.)
25. Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (6-3, 260, Sr.)
26. James Gayle, Virginia Tech (6-4, 270, Jr.)
27. Margus Hunt, SMU (6-7, 280, Sr.)
28. Lavar Edwards, LSU (6-4, 260, Sr.)
29. Wes Horton, USC (6-5, 260, Sr.)
30. Cameron Meredith, Nebraska (6-4, 265, Sr.)

Related NFL Draft Rankings By Position:

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Running Backs
2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Tight Ends
2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Safeties

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Defensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Wide Receivers

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Offensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Inside Linebackers

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Cornerbacks

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Guards and Centers

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Outside Linebackers
2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Quarterbacks
2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Defensive Ends

Teaser:
<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Defensive Ends</p>
Post date: Friday, December 14, 2012 - 04:50
Path: /college-football/college-football-2012-all-america-team-recruits
Body:

The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. But one quick look at the 2012 Associated Press All-America team, and it is hard to argue. Six of the 23 members (kickers and punters not included) were ranked in the Athlon Consensus 100 (Athlon's top 100) while seven others were four-star — or "national" recruits. So 13 of the 23 were considered elite prospects that were coveted by every school in the nation.

Additionally, 16 of the 23 were ranked as one the top 10 recruits in their respective state while 13 of those names were ranked as one of the top five players in the state. Eight of the 23 names below were ranked as one of the 10 best players at their position nationally as well. Only three players were two-star recruits.

Clearly, recruiting rankings matter.

2012 Offensive All-Americans as Recruits:

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (2011)
The Aggies superstar wasn’t considered a can’t-miss quarterback prospect back in 2011 when he signed with Texas A&M. Other than TAMU, only Oregon, Stanford, Baylor and Iowa State offered him scholarships to major conference programs. The Kerrville (Texas) Tivy product was a three-star quarterback who was ranked as the No. 14-best dual-threat signal caller in the nation and was the No. 45-rated player in the state of Texas. After a year of learning the college game as a redshirt, Manziel proved most everyone in the recruiting business wrong by winning the Heisman Trophy.

Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (2009) National Recruit
Ball came to Wisconsin as the Class 5A Missouri State Player of the Year after rushing for 8,222 yards and 107 touchdowns at Wentzville (Mo.) Timberland. He was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 33 running back in the nation and was a four-star recruit. Ball was the No. 4 player in the state of Missouri by Athlon Sports and the No. 3 player in the Badgers’ 2009 class, and he picked Wisconsin over offers from Missouri, Stanford, Kansas, Northwestern, Iowa State and Indiana.

Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona (2011) National Recruit
The Oro Valley (Ariz.) Canyon Del Oro sophomore was ranked by Athlon Sports as the No. 30 running back in the nation, the No. 5 player in the state of Arizona and the No. 212 overall recruit in the country. He held three Pac-12 offers to play college football from Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado. The coveted tailback was a four-star prospect by Rivals.

Marqise Lee, WR, USC (2011) AC100
The superstar wide receiver hails from California prep powerhouse Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra. He was the No. 64-rated prospect in the nation, the No. 6-rated player in the state and the No. 10-rated wide receiver in the country. His offer sheet was a who’s who of college superpowers. Lee played on the same team as AC100 wide receivers George Farmer (2011), Robert Woods (2010) and four-star Paul Richardson (2010). How did anyone stop that passing attack?

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor (2008)
The electric playmaker hails from Dallas (Texas) W.T. White and held only one other offer to play college football aside from Baylor. Colorado State was the only other program to offer Williams an opportunity out of high school. He was a two-star athlete prospect who was unranked by any scouting service in any way, shape or form. He has clearly proven the scouts wrong as one of the top wideout prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford (2009)
The heady tight end was a three-star talent from Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista back in 2009. He was the No. 10-rated tight end in the nation and the No. 46-rated prospect in the state by Rivals. He held only three, albeit quality, offers from Stanford, Cal and UCLA.

Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (2010) National Recruit
The offensive tackle from Arlington (Texas) High barely missed landing in the AC100. He was the No. 106-rated overall prospect in the nation regardless of position. He was the No. 13-rated offensive lineman in the nation and the No. 13-rated prospect in the Lone Star State. His offer sheet was incredible with names like Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Nebraska, UCLA, Arkansas and Texas A&M atop his wish list. As a draft eligible, potential first-round pick, he now becomes one of Kevin Sumlin’s top recruits once again.

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (2009) National Recruit
Hailing all the way from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral, Lewan came to Michigan as a highly touted prospect with offers from all over the nation. He wasn’t a top 100 recruit, but was a four-star player who had his pick of schools. He was rated as the No. 194 overall player, the No. 16 offensive tackle and the No. 5 player in Arizona by Rivals.

Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (2009)
This big blocker from Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake picked Alabama over Auburn, South Carolina and Rutgers. Warmack was ranked as the No. 29 player in the state of Georgia and the No. 20 offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com. He was a three-star prospect.

Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina (2008)
The Tar Heels blocker was a three-star recruit from Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard. Rivals gave him a three-star ranking and named him the No. 21 offensive guard in the nation and the No. 8-rated player in the state. He picked North Carolina over offers from Duke, East Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and Wake Forest.

Barrett Jones, C, Alabama (2008) National Recruit
This Memphis (Tenn.) Evangelical Christian stud was the No. 1 prospect in the state of Tennessee (which included Dont’a Hightower), the No. 17 offensive lineman in the nation and the No. 146-rated player nationally regardless of position. He possessed offers from nearly everyone in the southeast but visited only Alabama, Florida and North Carolina. Jones helped Nick Saban sign the nation’s No. 1 class in 2008.

Tavon Austin, AP, West Virginia (2009) National Recruit
The dynamic athlete signed with West Virginia out of Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar and was ranked behind only Jelani Jenkins (Florida) and Darrell Givens (Penn State) in his state. He was the No. 19-rated running back prospect in the nation and the No. 164-overall player in the class. He held offers from Pitt and Rutgers from the Big East, Michigan and Illinois from the Big Ten as well as Maryland, North Carolina and Boston College in the ACC. He ended his career, ironically, in the Big 12.

Related: AC100: The Top 100 Prospects in the Class of 2013

 

2012 Defensive All-Americans as Recruits:

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (2011) AC100
The Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe defensive end was the unanimous No. 1-rated prospect in the nation in the Class of 2011. Obviously, this made him the top player in his state and the top player nationally at his position. He literally could have picked any of the 120 (at the time) programs in the FBS ranks to play his college ball. In two short seasons, he has established that he was ranked exactly where he should have been and appears poised for a Heisman Trophy run in 2013. He also has a good shot at being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State (2010)
There are plenty of other star recruits on the Florida State defense, but the Salisbury (Conn.) High prospect was the best this year. The three-star recruit was the No. 65-rated defensive tackle and the No. 5-rated player in the state by Rivals. His offer sheet wasn’t long but had some intriguing names: Oregon, Rutgers, Missouri, Cal, UConn and Boston College to name a few. The Noles were lucky to get this underrated prospect.

Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State (2009)
From Corona (Calif.) Centennial, Sutton came to Arizona State sporting only four BCS offers. They included Arizona, Nebraska and Boise State in addition to the Sun Devils. He was the No. 42-rated defensive tackle and the No. 40-rated player in the state of California in the ’09 class. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals.

Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah (2007)
The big fella from Bingham (Utah) High originally signed with BYU out of high school. He was the No. 57-rated defensive end and the No. 3-rated player in the state of Utah. He held offers from Utah, UNLV and Weber State as well as the Cougars. He eventually landed at Snow College for two years before heading to Salt Lake City. Miraculously, Lotulelei didn’t even play football in 2009 before signing with Utah in January 2010.

Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame (2009) AC100
The Irish middle linebacker from Laie (Hawaii) Punahou is no stranger to the spotlight. He was the No. 1-rated linebacker in the nation and No. 3 overall player in the country, trailing only Matt Barkley (USC) and Russell Shepard (LSU) in Athlon Sports' 2009 recruiting rankings. Obviously, the No. 1 player in the state, Te’o held offers from every college program in the nation and was able to write his own ticket.

Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia (2009) AC100
The Columbus (Ga.) Carver product was the No. 6-rated linebacker in the nation and the No. 28 overall player in the nation by Athlon Sports. He was the No. 1 player in the Peach State and signed with USC out of Carver High School. He played the first half of his freshman year before hurting his neck. Complication with the injury eventually led to him transferring back home to Georgia.

C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (2010) National Recruit
Much like Joeckel, Mosley just missed landing in the AC100 as a linebacker from Theodore (Ala.) High. He was the No. 113-rated overall prospect in the nation. Mosley finished as the No. 9-rated linebacker in the nation and the No. 3-rated player in the state of Alabama. Every program in the Southeast as well as a few from the Big 12 (Oklahoma) and the West Coast (Stanford) wanted to ink the star tackler.

Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State (2009)
The Beavers defensive back and return man was one of the biggest steals of the ’09 class. The Astoria (Ore.) High prospect was a wildly underrated two-star recruit with two FBS offers. Portland State, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Oregon State were the only four programs interested in the two-star prospect. Rivals rated him as the No. 8-best player in the state of Oregon.

Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama (2010) AC100
Only two players were ranked ahead of Mosley in the state of Alabama in 2010 and Milliner was one of them. The Millbrook (Ala.) Stanhope Elmore cornerback was the No. 1-rated player in the state and the No. 3-rated defensive back in the nation. He finished as the No. 15-rated overall prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports. His offers sheet included every major program from the Southeast.

Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State (2007)
The star safety was a 6-foot-1, 180-pound two-star prospect from Bakersfield (Calif.) High School who signed with Fresno State. He has redshirted and missed an entire year with injury but has persevered to finish his career an All-American. He was unranked by any and all scouting services and held only one FBS offer (Fresno State) to play football.

Matt Elam, S, Florida (2010) AC100
The hardest hitter in the nation hails from West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer was a star at an early age. Elam was the No. 1-rated defensive back prospect in the nation and the No. 1 player in the uber-talented Sunshine State. He was ranked as the No. 8 overall player in the entire class. Like most elite talents, he had his pick of any school in the nation.

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2012 All-America Team As Recruits</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /news/manziel-mariota-highlight-best-redshirt-freshmen-qb-class-ever
Body:

Technically, Johnny Manziel is a sophomore. So are Notre Dame’s Everett Golson and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

Manziel, like Mariota and Golson, has been a student-athlete for two football seasons. He graduated high school in 2011. And he undoubtedly won the Heisman Trophy in part because he had one year of preparation in College Station. Would Manziel have won the trophy in 2011 as a true freshman with Ryan Tannehill still on the roster? With Mike Sherman as his head coach? Without the SEC spotlight?

The answer is no chance. A new coach, a new system, a new league, a vacancy at quarterback and one full season to adjust to college life helped Manziel get to New York.

The decision to redshirt turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to Johnny Heisman. Most elite athletes' biggest hurdle when moving from the high school to collegiate ranks isn’t the opposition on Saturdays. It’s adjusting to the college lifestyle and all of the stresses and trappings that go along with it. Learning how to go to class, study, adjust to practice routines and increased training regiments all while trying to play football against the nation’s best is an extremely difficult process. As we have just seen, being allowed to adjust off of the field while not having to produce on it can be the difference between a Heisman Trophy and riding the bench.

Like Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Oregon are just two of many programs that used successful redshirt freshman quarterbacks to have great seasons in 2012. Except, the Irish don’t recognize Golson as a freshman. Neither does Stanford with its starting quarterback Kevin Hogan. That is because they are sophomores in the eyes of the school.

But just like Manziel, that extra year has made all the difference for Notre Dame. Or Oregon. Or Stanford. In fact, Manziel headlines what might be considered the best redshirt freshman quarterback class in history.

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
This story is already well-documented. With eye-popping joystick moves, elite speed and gutsy throws, Manziel led the Aggies to a 10-2 record and its first Heisman Trophy since John David Crow won the award in 1957. Few players had as big an impact on the game in one year as Johnny Heisman.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon
The Ducks came up just short of playing for the national championship with an overtime loss at home to Stanford costing them a trip to Miami Gardens and a Pac-12 championship. However, the laidback Hawaiian passer made fans forget about Darron Thomas in short order. He led what many believe is the nation’s top offense to an 11-1 record while leading the Pac-12 in passing efficiency and leading the nation in road passer rating. He scored 34 total touchdowns against only six interceptions and is poised for huge things in Eugene.

Brett Hundley, UCLA
The dynamic Bruins quarterback debuted in Pasadena in Week 2 with a 300-yard passing game and four touchdowns in a win over favored Nebraska. The Chandler, Ariz., native set single-season UCLA passing records and total offense numbers while leading UCLA to an improbable Pac-12 South Division title under new coach Jim Mora. Hundley was a god-send (3,776 total yards, 35 total TD) for a program that has been craving quality quarterback play for more than a decade.

Everett Golson, Notre Dame
It took him some time and he dealt with adversity, but Golson has blossomed into a national championship quarterback. Yes, his defense carried the team early, but this dual-threat ability could be the key to an Irish upset over Alabama. After missing the BYU game with a head injury, Golson flourished under center in the toughest of positions. He scored 10 of his 16 touchdowns in the final month of the season, beginning with a clutch performance against Oklahoma. He posted the best passing game of his career against Wake Forest (career high 346 yards, 3 TD) and will have to make some key second-half plays against the Crimson Tide if Notre Dame wants to win the BCS title.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Gary Patterson had to turn over the reins to his Horned Frogs offense much earlier than anticipated when Casey Pachall left the team early in the season. Boykin took over against Iowa State in Week 6 and never looked back. He threw three interceptions in his first start, but he bounced back with five total touchdowns and more than 300 yards of offense in a road win over Baylor the next week. He averaged 222 yards passing and accounted for 17 touchdowns in eight Big 12 starts, including wins over Texas and West Virginia. The Mesquite, Texas, product wasn’t supposed to start until 2014, so Frogs fans should be excited about Boykins' potential growth.

Kevin Hogan, Stanford
It obviously took David Shaw too long to make the switch from Josh Nunes to Kevin Hogan. Nunes threw for 208.3 yards per game, 10 touchdowns and seven picks in the first eight games. Then, after five attempts against Colorado, Shaw pulled Nunes permanently for Hogan. The redshirt accounted for 1,157 total yards (193 rushing) and 10 touchdowns in five starts and led his team to consecutive wins over Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA twice to win the Pac-12 championship.

Joel Stave, Wisconsin
The Badgers' offense was totally one-dimensional under supposed savior Danny O’Brien. The lanky walk-on was inserted into the starting lineup and Wisconsin discovered the passing game once again. He was leading the Big Ten in passing efficiency with a 4-1 record as a starter until breaking his collarbone against Michigan State. In fact, Stave left both the Nebraska and Michigan State games with leads only to watch his team lose with him on the sideline. He has the frame (6-5, 225) and arm to be a four-year starter in Madison.

Each one of these names appears ready for a long and successful career on the college gridiron. All but Boykin played on a team that either won 10 games or its conference championship, or in Golson’s case, is playing for the ultimate prize. Boykin and Manziel had to endure conference changes while Hundley and Manziel dealt with coaching changes.

The Heisman Foundation finally jettisoned its bizarre age bias by giving the trophy to the first redshirt freshman in history. It also appears head coaches at major power programs have decided that these youngsters are ready to handle the pressures of big-time college football.

With potentially three more seasons left in the tank, it appears the fans will be the biggest winners in Eugene, College Station and Los Angeles. 

Teaser:
<p> Manziel, Mariota Highlight Best Redshirt Freshman QB Class Ever</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/15-young-nfl-players-who-will-be-hall-famers
Body:

Projecting the Hall of Fame is virtually impossible, especially for the youngest athletes in football. Yet, rookies are expected to contribute quicker than ever on the NFL gridiron and a few have made a big splash in short order.

The top story of the 2012 NFL season is the play of the rookie quarterbacks. These young players are already establishing themselves as irreplaceable pieces to the NFL puzzle. But Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III aren’t the only once-in-a-lifetime players to make their debut in the NFL recently.

Limiting the scope to the last three rookie classes, here are the most likely future Pro Football Hall of Famers:

Class of 2010: 

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, NY Giants
In his first two seasons, he played in all 32 games and helped the Giants win a Super Bowl last fall. He posted 4.5 sacks as a rookie with 22 total tackles. He blossomed as a second-year player into one of the league’s top defensive ends with 93 tackles and 16.5 sacks. He recorded his first career interception in 2012 and has the Giants poised to win the NFC East with another great season. He may be the most physically gifted defensive end in the NFL.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England
The only thing that will keep The Gronk from Canton will be his injury history. He has missed a lot of time early in his career, but when he is on the field, he might be the best red zone target in the league. He has caught 37 touchdowns in 42 career games and has Tom Brady throwing him passes for at least a few more seasons. At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds with more than a little crazy in his game, Gronkowski’s only speed bump to NFL immortality is staying healthy — which is tough considering his complete disregard for personal safety.

Mike Iupati, OL, San Francisco
The Niners have seen a remarkable turnaround under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Much of that can be attributed to what might be the best offensive line in the league. Iupati, drafted in the first round, has started every single game of his NFL career and has watched the 49ers' rushing attack flourish. After averaging 103.6 yards per game in 2010, SanFran rushed for 127.8 yards per game in 2011 and is currently No. 2 in the NFL at 161.5 yards per game this fall. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound mauler should be a mainstay in the Bay Area for years to come.

NaVorro Bowman, LB, San Francisco
The 2010 draft was a great one for the Niners as not only was the offensive line rebuilt with Iupati and Anthony Davis, but so was the defense with this third-round steal. Bowman was an All-American at Penn State and proved in his first season as an NFL starter that he was going to be around for a while. He posted 150 tackles in 16 starts in 2011 and, after getting a long-term contract extension, is having another great season this fall. Along with Patrick Willis, Bowman is half of the best LB duo in the NFL.

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans
Sometimes it can be all about timing and Graham couldn’t have landed in a better spot. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound basketball player from Miami fell into a perfect position to succeed for the Saints. He finished third in the NFL with 99 catches, seventh with 1,310 yards and was one of only five players with double-digit touchdowns (11) last season. His encore performance this fall hasn't been as quite as eye-popping, but the athletic Graham is on pace for nearly 80 catches, 900 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Others names from this class to consider:

Ndamakong Suh, DT, Detroit
Elite-level player with all the tools to be an all-time great, but needs to mature.

Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati
A fourth-round steal on draft day is already an All-Pro performer.

Maurkice Pouncey, C, Pittsburgh
Elite high school prospect, elite college prospect and now an All-Pro in the NFL.

Class of 2011:

AJ Green, WR, Cincinnati
Few players have ever started their career like Green. The superstar talent from Georgia was one of the most coveted pass-catchers in the nation as both a recruit and draft pick. All he has done is catch 144 passes for 2,208 yards and 17 touchdowns — including a league-leading 10 scores thus far in 2012 — and helped the Bengals reach the postseason last fall. He is an elite red zone target, can stretch the field and has tremendous open field ability as well. He is the complete package at wide receiver.

Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, San Francisco
The youngster out of Missouri was looked at as a project on the NFL level but his elite talents were obvious. Well, the project turned into a star quicker than expected as Smith posted 14.0 sacks as a rookie without technically starting a game. He has only gotten better in Year 2. Smith is downright unblockable and has already set the 49ers' single-season sack record (19.5). With three games left, he is eyeing Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season record (22.5).

JJ Watt, DE, Houston
From pizza boy tight end to Big Ten Rose Bowl star to NFL rookie of the year candidate. The former Wisconsin Badgers end has started every game of his short career and made history by returning an interception for a touchdown in his first postseason game (and Houston’s first postseason win). He trails only Smith in sacks (16.5) this season and is constantly wrecking havoc on the D-Line.

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta
The weapons Matt Ryan has in Atlanta are unreal. Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez certainly make life easier for Jones in the passing game, but make no mistake; the former Alabama star is the real deal. He was the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the nation coming out of high school and has only gotten better with age. He is an athletic freak at 6-4 and 220 pounds. He has already passed his rookie reception and yardage totals and is poised for a long career in the NFL.

Von Miller, OLB/DE, Denver
The dynamic pass-rusher from Texas A&M earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in his first season after posting 65 tackles, 11.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2011. He is poised to shatter all of those numbers this season with 57 tackles, 16.0 sacks and six forced fumbles with three games left to play in 2012. Denver cruised to the AFC West title this year and it wasn’t just because of Peyton Manning. Miller is the future of the Broncos franchise and could be an all-time great. 

Other names from this class to consider:

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina
If he always played like he did against Atlanta, he will be special. Needs to learn how to win.

Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Washington
Playmaker who posted a huge rookie year and has proven it was no fluke this season.

Class of 2012:

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis
The Colts were 2-14 in 2011 and it landed them Mr. Luck. All the rookie QB has done is lead his team to a 9-4 record and has been smashing rookie passing records along the way. He is poised to post the best passing season for a rookie in the history of the sport and he is already one of the league’s most clutch performers. He was an elite Top 100 prospect in high school and has proven to be worthy of the top overall pick.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington
The biggest issue with RG3 won’t be his accuracy, ability to protect the football, win games or produce big numbers. It will be his ability to stay healthy long enough to earn Hall of Fame status. He, like Luck, is a great leader who sets an example for all of those around him. Yet, his style of play has already proven to be a concern as he takes entirely too many hits. He has already missed time due to a concussion as well as a twisted knee. He has the Skins above .500 and has already broken Newton's rookie QB rushing record.

Matt Kalil, OL, Minnesota
The top tackle taken in the draft has played from Game 1 for the much-improved Vikings. According to Football Outsiders, Kalil has played 721 snaps and has allowed two sacks thus far in his first season. He is also paving the way for Adrian Peterson’s record-setting run at 2,000 yards. He was a coveted prospect in high school, had a great college career and appears to be a lockdown bookend tackle for Minnesota. Having an All-Pro older brother (Ryan) has helped as well.

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay
He wasn’t the first running back taken in the draft, but he has been the most productive. The do-everything tailback was used all over the field as arguably the most successful Boise State runner in program history. His talents have translated instantly. He has tied the NFL record for TDs in a half (4), has a 250-yard rushing performance and is poised for 2,000 yards from scrimmage in his first season, as his ability to catch passes makes him one of the most dynamic players in this class.

Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina
The Boston College linebacker led the nation in tackles each season in college and was the top player taken at his position in the draft. All he is doing right now is leading the NFL in total tackles with 130 stops in his first 13 career games. The tackling machine is rarely out of position, doesn’t miss tackles and is the center building block on defense for the future of Panthers football.

Other names from this class to consider:

Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland
Elite player with rare skills, but will balky knees and playing for the Browns hurt his long-term stock?

LaVonte David, LB, Tampa Bay
Incredibly productive player on all levels is making quick impact for Bucs.

Morris Claiborne, CB, Dallas
Elite lock-down coverman has lived up to his status as the best corner in the draft.

Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle
Burly, physical player who has produced at an high level right out of the gate.

Mark Barron, S, Tampa Bay
Has already shown he is a big hitter who has stabilized the back end of the Bucs' secondary.

Teaser:
<p> 10 Young NFL Players Who WIll Be Hall of Famers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-basketball/5-amazing-college-basketball-stats-week-dec-4-dec-10
Body:

With 347 Division I teams, following college basketball can be overwhelming. Let Athlon Sports start your college hoops week each Monday with a look at some of the most intriuging, most important and most interesting stats from around the sport:

37: Total assists from Michael Carter-Williams last week
Syracuse defeated Eastern Michigan (84-48), Long Beach State (84-53) and Monmouth (108-56) with ease last week to move to 8-0. The freshman point guard Carter-Williams scored 41 points, grabbed 13 boards and added 11 steals in the three wins. Admirable, sure. But he also chipped in 37 assists in the wins — all three of which were double-doubles. He leads the nation in assists (10.4) by nearly two per game over New Orelans' Rarlensee Nelson (8.6).

35: Brandon Paul’s points in a win over Gonzaga
The senior guard has been leading the way for the surprising 10-0 Illini. But against their best competition to date, No. 10 Gonzaga, Paul lit up the boxscore in a 85-74 win. He knocked down 10 of 16 field goals, including five threes, and 10-of-11 free throws to finish with 35 points in 34 minutes. He added four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and three steals while turning the ball over twice.

2,979: Registered attendance for Texas-UCLA in Reliant Stadium
Two of the most powerful programs in college sports faced each other in Houston's Reliant Stadium, but you wouldn't have known it from the turnstiles. In the first weekend without the distraction of a full slate of college football, even the hometown Texas fans failed to show up. The two teams have a combined seven losses this season, including to teams like Chaminade and Cal Poly. UCLA's been in turmoil for several seasons under Ben Howland, and Rick Barnes' results have been uninspiring. Making an NFL stadium look like a high school gym only underscored the problems facing both programs. UCLA won 65-63, if anyone cares.

19: Wyoming’s comeback against Illinois State to stay unbeaten
Fourteen teams remain undefeated, including Larry Shyatt’s Cowboys. One of the most unlikely unbeaens put together a 19-point comeback on the road Saturday against Illinois State to improve to 10-0. As an assistant, Shyatt was the defensive mastermind of Florida's back-to-back national championship teams. The former Clemson coach has done a similar job at Wyoming as the Cowboys have allowed more than 60 points twice this season (69 to Colorado and 67 to Illinois State). The hot start may signal Wyoming adding its name as a contender in a deep and talented Mountain West.

26.2: Average number of 20 points-per-game scorers in each season over the last decade
Through the weekend, 28 players averaged at least 20 points per game. This is about on par for the trend over the last 10 years. Roughly 26 players per year have averaged 20 points per game over the last decade. However, a few outliers are worth keeping an eye on. In 2002-03, 45 players who topped the 20-point mark, and in 2007-08 there were 39. No other year has featured more than 28, but last season provided the lowest total in more than a decade as only 17 players scored at least 20 points per game. Should conference play slow scoring, that total could drop closer to last year’s total. The question then becomes will the lower scoring trend continue?

Teaser:
<p> 5 Amazing College Basketball Stats of the Week: Dec. 4-Dec. 10</p>
Post date: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, Overtime, News
Path: /college-basketball/worst-free-throw-attempt-history-basketball
Body:

Western Carolina (4-6) and Appalacian State (1-7) got together this weekend to play some basketball. But junior center Brian Okam stole the show for all the wrong reasons. We've seen underhanders, left-handers and plenty of airballs on the free throw line, but never have we ever seen an attempt this bad. As the commentator says, "Good Lord."

Teaser:
<p> The Worst Free Throw Attempt in the history of basketball</p>
Post date: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 08:42
All taxonomy terms: Dallas Cowboys, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/10-amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-14
Body:

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 14 of NFL play:

15.8: Points per game after the third quarter in Dallas' last five games
The Cowboys rallied once again to thrust themselves directly into the heart of the NFC East race by outscoring Cincinnati 10-0 in the fourth quarter. It was the fourth win in five weeks for the 'Boys and a big reason has been the way Dallas has finished games. The Cowboys have outscored their opponent in the final frame (and overtime) in each of the last five games and by a total of 79-34. That is a per game average of 15.8 points — or nearly three scoring drives per fourth quarter — while the opposition is averaging less than seven points in the final frame.

70: Days since the Eagles won a game
On the final play of the game after a stellar drive from yet another rookie quarterback; Andy Reid got his team back in the win column for the first time since September (Week 4, Sept. 30). Nick Foles connected with Jeremy Maclin from one yard out to cap a 13-play, 64-yard drive that covered the final 2:44 of time remaining. It is the first career win for the rookie signal caller from Arizona. More importantly, Tampa Bay falls to 6-7 in heart-breaking fashion while fellow 6-6 Wild Card contenders Dallas, Washington and Minnesota all won to jump the Bucs in the standings. Foles finished 32-of-51 passing for 381 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the win.

133.4: Yards per game Adrian Peterson needs to average to reach 2,000
All-Day Adrian continues to amaze in his return from ACL surgery. He rushed 31 times for 154 yards and two early touchdowns to power the Vikings to an upset win over the Chicago Bears. The win keeps Minnesota right in the thick of the Wild Card hunt and Peterson is inching closer to making history. He needs 133.4 yards per game in his final three to become just the seventh player to ever rush for 2,000 yards in a single season. He is on pace to set personal bests in rushing yards and receptions and is on pace for his second-best season in touches (373), carries (326) and rushing touchdowns (13). All of this less than a year removed from a torn ACL. 

Dec. 20, 1986: Last time the Giants scored 50 points
The Giants dominated the Saints Sunday evening to the tune of 52 points. It was the first time the franchise reached the 50-point plateau since a 55-24 win over Green Bay on Dec. 20, 1986. The team set a record for kickoff return yards (287) and first year tailback David Wilson set a Giants franchise record for all-purpose yards (327). He scored three touchdowns in the win. New York ran 61 offensive plays, 47 of which came in New Orleans territory, and sits one game ahead of the Eagles and Redskins in the NFC East.

72: Cam Newton's career-long run...
which was a key touchdown gallop down the left sideline in the big upset win over the Falcons. In what was likely his best performance as a pro, Newton completed 23-of-35 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns through the air to go with 116 yards rushing on nine carries and another score on the ground. He didn't turn the ball over once and handed Matt Ryan and Atlanta just their second loss of the season. It was his first career 100-yard rushing effort.

34: Most points allowed at home by Pittsburgh in over two years
The Steelers suffered their second straight home loss after allowing 34 points to a depleted and lame duck Chargers team. It is the first time a team scored 30 points at Heinz Field since Week 10 of 2010 when the Patriots scored 39 in a win. In the last eight home games, the Steelers allowed a total of 72 points — or 9.0 points per game — with an 8-1 record. The loss was the fourth overall in five games and it drops Pittsburgh into a tie with the Bengals in both the AFC North and AFC Wild Card standings. Ben Roethlisberger returned to complete 22-of-42 passes for 285 yards, three touchdowns and two turnovers. Two of his three scores came after the game was already well in hand for San Diego.

4.0: Points per play for Kirk Cousins
Cousins, a rookie from Michigan State, played in the second game of his career for Washington this Sunday. He threw two passes and tied the game with an 11-yard touchdown with less than 30 seconds left in the game. He then did his best Robert Griffin III, who had to leave the game after getting his knee twisted up on the final drive, impersonation by scoring the two-point conversion on a QB draw to send the game to overtime. One big punt return and a couple of Alfred Morris runs set up the game-winning field goal from Kai Forbath. Cousins is now 7-of-11 for 137 yards and three touchdowns in two games of spot duty for an injured RG3. The Redskins are now over .500, in the thick of the NFC East race and will be anxiously awaiting the results of Griffin's MRI Sunday evening.

38-0: Seattle's lead at halftime over Arizona
The Cardinals played the worst half of football in the history of their franchise against Seattle in Week 14. The Seahawks forced six turnovers, scored 38 points and rolled up 238 yards of offense to put the game out of reach before halftime. The 38 points marks the most points allowed by Arizona in one half and the Cardinals have lost nine straight games after starting the year 4-0. The Seahawks eventually ran the final score to 58-0, a franchise record for points scored, and forced eight total turnovers while allowing just nine first downs on defense. Cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted two passes — one he returned for a touchdown — and recovered a fumble. His four-game suspension for Adderall use is currently going through the league's appeals process.

6: Fourth quarter comebacks for Andrew Luck
The No. 1 overall pick led his team on a 13-point second-half comeback over the Titans in Week 14 to move the Colts to 9-4 on the season. In 13 starts as a rookie, Luck has now led six fourth-quarter comebacks in his short career. Indianapolis leads the AFC Wild Card chase by two games now and Luck, after 196 yards in the win, has 3,792 yards on the season. He passed Peyton Manning's Colts rookie record (3,739) and trails only Cam Newton's 4,051-yard record on the all-time rookie passing charts. Don't forget, the Colts won two games last year. 

10,228: Drunk Driving fatalities in this country in 2010
I am saddened to have to add this statistic, but after the Jerry Brown-Josh Brent tragedy, I feel some perspective is necessary. Drunk driving fatalities in this country have decreased every year but three since 1991, but, according to the CDC, over 10,000 people died in 2010 due to drunk-driving accidents. Or 28 people per day. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion according to CDC. But our loved ones suffer the worst cost. Jerry Brown is just one of 10,000 and it appears Brent (hopefully) understands the level of guilt he will suffer through the rest of his life. Because they played NFL football, the spotlight has been cast on the horrific accident that ended Brown's life. Don't let it go unnoticed.

Teaser:
<p> 8 Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 14</p>
Post date: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /news/what-if-heisman-was-awarded-after-national-championship
Body:

The Heisman Trophy is an inherently flawed award. That’s the bad news.

The great news is we the fans have the power to change it. Just six years ago, underclassmen weren’t really considered viable options, but Tim Tebow ended that discussion and now another second-year player could win the trophy this year. Charles Woodson is the only true defensive player to ever win the award back in 1997, but a linebacker could walk away a winner this Saturday. In fact, Manti Te’o is the third defensive Heisman finalist in the last four years (Tyrann Mathieu, Ndamukong Suh).

The voting for the Heisman is utterly counterintuitive as well. Hell, even CBS analyst Gary Danielson gave up his vote years ago because he can’t stand the voting structure. With only three names on each ballot, regional and personal agendas become over-amplified. If you have a bias against Manziel or Te’o it would be easy to leave them off of your ballot to have more of an impact on the voting.

Most importantly, however, the timing of the vote makes no sense.

The NFL awards its MVP for regular season play, but a team could play four games in the postseason. College football features a maximum of one postseason game (for now) per team. It makes no sense for the Heisman Trophy voting to take place before the BCS National Championship Game.

In just 15 seasons under the BCS system, there are a handful of Heisman winners who might not be winners had voting taken place after the national title game. This theory might be no more obvious than this season with Manti Te’o and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Johnny Manziel, Collin Klein and the Irish linebacker are all extremely deserving Heisman finalists. And Te’o could easily win the award this Saturday. But let’s say Manziel or Klein takes home the stiff-armed trophy and then Te’o dominates Alabama to win Notre Dame’s first national title in 25 years? If he posts 10 tackles and a sack, for example, against Bama’s other-worldly offensive line in a win over the Crimson Tide in the national title game, there would be no legitimate argument against Te’o as college football’s most outstanding player. Sorry, Aggies (either one), you would have no legs to stand on. There would be no hole on Te’o's Heisman resume — not even statistically.

And if the Irish get beaten into submission by Alabama, either Manziel or Klein would be the more deserving candidate.

Related: Athlon Sports 2012 Final Heisman voting: The Winner is...

But Te’o wouldn’t be the first player who lost the award because voters didn’t get to see them in the brightest and only spotlight that matters.

2005: Vince Young, QB, Texas
Reggie Bush won the 2005 Heisman Trophy, end of story. I don’t care what has happened since; Bush will always be ’05’s “Most Outstanding Player.” So the investigation and stripped award has nothing to do with the fact Vince Young deserved the trophy. His performance in the Rose Bowl — a game many believe is the greatest ever played on a college gridiron — was the most dominant performance the college game has ever seen. Young in 2005 was the most unstoppable force I’ve ever seen in college football. He finished third in the nation in passing efficiency, rushed for over 1,000 yards and led an offense that was the highest scoring (652 points) in the history of the sport. Bush was magical that year, but Young was better and should have his name on the great bronze statue.

2000: Josh Heupel, QB, Oklahoma
Chris Weinke was coming off of a national championship and led the No. 1 team to an unbeaten record and a third-straight trip to the BCS title game. His performance earned him the Heisman in 2000. Heupel finished No. 2 in the voting on his own unbeaten Oklahoma team. These two squared off in the BCS championship game and Weinke was completely shutdown. He threw 26 incompletions, was 1-of-15 on third down, threw two interceptions and the 'Noles' offense scored zero points in the loss to the Sooners. Heupel wasn’t dominant, but he completed 25-of-39 passes for 214 yards and finished as an undefeated national champion.

2008: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
A trio of quarterbacks finished 1-2-3 in the Heisman voting in 2008. Sam Bradford was the winner on an unbeaten Oklahoma team destined for the national title game. Colt McCoy actually finished second, but it was reigning Heisman winner Tim Tebow who got the most first-place votes (309 to 300). Bradford and Tebow squared off in Miami for the BCS national championship and the Gators passer was the better player. He finished with 231 yards passing, 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the 24-14 win. Bradford finished with 256 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

2001: Ken Dorsey, QB, Miami
Dorsey was a fairly non-descript player on a loaded roster, but he finished third in the Heisman voting to Eric Crouch and Rex Grossman. The voting was extremely tight and the BCS MVP performance from Dorsey in a crushing win over Crouch means he likely would have won the trophy had voting taken place after the game. Dorsey was 22-of-35 passing for 362 yards with three first-half touchdowns and improved to 26-1 as the starter. Meanwhile, Crouch rushed for 114 yards on 22 carries and completed just 5-of-15 passes for 62 yards with no touchdowns and three sacks in the 37-14 loss. In fact, a case could be made that Grossman, who threw for 248 yards and four touchdowns in the Orange Bowl win over Maryland, was also more deserving following the title game.

1999: Michael Vick, QB, Virginia Tech
Ron Dayne was a run-away Heisman winner with 2,042 points to Joe Hamilton’s 994 and Michael Vick’s 319. Dayne had just become the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher on a team that eventually won the Rose Bowl behind his record-setting MVP performance against Stanford. But when it came to electricity on the field, few players matched Vick’s talents. He led Virginia Tech to its lone title game appearance that year in a matchup with the powerful Florida State Seminoles. After trailing 28-7 late in the second quarter, his dynamic play-making ability led four consecutive scoring drives to take a 29-28 lead as the game headed to the fourth quarter. The Noles scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth to put the game away, but Vick’s greatness was cemented in the Superdome that night. He rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 225 yards, no interceptions and another score in the air. Dayne was extremely deserving and proved it in Pasadena as the Big Ten's only back-to-back Rose Bowl MVP, but a strong case could be made for the Hokies' quarterback after his showcase in New Orleans.

Teaser:
<p> What if the Heisman was awarded after the National Championship?</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 05:15
Path: /college-football/20-best-college-football-stats-2012
Body:

Single-game, single-season and career records. School, conference and national benchmarks. Remarkable performances and embarrassing moments. The good, bad and ugly makes college football the great sport that it is today. Here are the 20 most intriguing, most important and most interesting college football stats of the 2012 season: 

0: First quarter TD allowed by Notre Dame
The Irish led the nation in scoring defense at 10.3 points per game. Five separate times, Notre Dame allowed less than a touchdown in a game — against programs likes Michigan, Michigan State and Miami. The Irish defense allowed nine offensive touchdowns all season, (2 rush, 7 pass) and the rushing defense finished fourth nationally at 92.4 yards per game. Needless to say, there is a reason they finished the season unbeaten.

54.7: Yardage difference in Alabama’s nation’s leading defense from 2011 to 2012
Alabama led the nation once again in total defense, allowing a paltry 246.0 yards per game in 2012. However, it was 54.7 more yards per game than the Crimson Tide’s No. 1-rated defense allowed a year ago. Although the 2012 numbers aren't bad, it puts into perspective just how dominant the 2011 Alabama defense was when it allowed just 191.3 yards and 8.8 points per game.

300: Yards receiving in a single-game by four separate players
Before this year, only 15 times had a wide receiver caught at least 300 yards in a single game and never before had it happened more than twice in a season. In 2012, it happened four times — three times on the same day. West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey (303) and Baylor’s Terrance Williams (314) did it in the same game as Arkansas’ Cobi Hamilton (303) did it in a loss to Rutgers on the same day. USC’s Marqise Lee (345) did it a month later against Arizona.

4: Times Washington State rushed for negative yards in a game
A team rushed for negative yards in a game 14 separate times in 2012 and four of them came from Washington State. Colorado posted the single-game low for rushing yards in a game with minus-21 against Stanford on Nov. 3, but Washington State takes the rushing cake by finishing with less than zero yards rushing against Stanford (-18), Oregon (-8), BYU (-5) and Utah (-4). Needless to say, the Cougars finished last in the nation in rushing (120th) with 29.1 yards per game.

214.3: Yards per game Auburn was outgained in SEC play
The Auburn Tigers averaged only 235.1 yards per game in eight SEC games. They allowed 449.4 yards per game on defense in those eight contests. The winless conference record was the first 0-8 SEC record on the Plains in the history of the storied Southern powerhouse. Mississippi State (216), LSU (183), Vanderbilt (212) and Ole Miss (213) posted SEC lows in yards allowed against Auburn, while Arkansas (321) and Georgia (238) posted their second-best defensive efforts of the year against Auburn. Hence, the hiring of offensive guru Gus Malzahn.

2045: Ka'Deem Carey's nation-best yards from scrimmage 
No player gained more yards from scrimmage than the Arizona running back this season. He led the nation in rushing at 146.4 yards per game, while setting the single-season school record for rushing yards at 1,757. His 366 yards against Colorado were a single-game Pac-12 record as well. He caught 33 passes for 288 yards for a team that went from four wins to seven. His nine 100-yard rushing efforts were second only to…

12: Nation’s best 100-yard rushing games from Jordan Lynch
The Huskies of NIU are the first MAC team to ever land a BCS bowl bid. The play of quarterback Jordan Lynch is the primary reason DeKalb, Ill., was celebrating with Oranges this Christmas. He led the nation by topping the 100-yard mark 12 times and scored 19 rushing touchdowns en route to a nation’s best 1,771 rushing yards and MAC Championship. The dynamic junior also threw for 2,962 yards, 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions.

82 and 76: NCAA all-time record for total TDs and rushing TD by Montee Ball
Wisconsin tailback Montee Ball took over as the starter in Madison with five games left in his sophomore season. He scored eight total touchdowns in his first 21 games as a Badger. In his final 32 games, Ball scored 74 times for an average of 2.3 touchdowns per game. His 82 total touchdowns and 76 rushing touchdowns are both NCAA all-time records, as his team has played in the Rose Bowl three straight seasons. He is the NCAA’s active leading rusher with 5,040 yards and has one passing touchdown on his resume as well (which doesn’t count towards his totals). However, how long will his record stand? Because…

28: NCAA freshman TD record set by Kenneth Dixon
Louisiana Tech tailback Kenneth Dixon broke Marshall Faulk's (1991) freshman scoring record by reaching paydirt 28 times this fall. He led the nation in total touchdowns and is setting himself up for a run at Ball’s all-time records. But that wasn’t the only remarkable accomplishment in the Bulldogs loaded backfield this fall…

444: Colby Cameron’s NCAA record pass attempts without an interception
The Bulldogs quarterback went 444 attempts without throwing an interception, breaking Russell Wilson’s previous mark of 379. Utah State’s Will Davis intercepted a Cameron pass in what turned out to be a de facto WAC championship game win over Louisiana Tech in overtime (48-41). The 9-3 Bulldogs lost twice to end the year, ironically, on the back of five Cameron interceptions. He finished with 4,171 yards and 31 touchdowns to go with those five picks.

3: BCS conference teams to go unbeaten and not play in the BCS championship game
Before this season, Auburn (2004) and Cincinnati (2009) were the only two BCS conference teams to finish a regular season unbeaten and not earn a bid into the national title showdown. The Ohio State Buckeyes became the third this season, as it will sit at home due to NCAA postseason sanctions. However, the Bearcats got hammered by the Gators in the Sugar Bowl, while Auburn edged out Virginia Tech in the same game. That leaves the Tigers and Buckeyes as the only unbeaten BCS conference teams in the final polls, leaving fans in Columbus and on the Plains wondering what-if.

71: Landry Jones career-high pass attempts against Oklahoma State
Jones chucked the football around 71 times in the crazy 51-48 overtime Bedlam Series win over Oklahoma State. He attempted more passes in that one game than the Sooners entire 1976 (63), 1975 (69) and 1953 (61) offenses posted for the entire season. It was a career-high in attempts for the OU passer - topping the 62 he threw in 2010 - also against the Cowboys. In fact, Jones attempted 220 passes in four games against the Pokes during his career, more than any other team he faced. Jones ended his career with 16,368 yards passing, 122 touchdowns, 51 interceptions and minus-368 yards rushing. David Piland of Houston was the only player to attempt more passes in a game this season with 77 against Louisiana Tech.

4.3: Career rushes per touchdown for Blake Bell
The Bell-dozer will be a junior next year and is expected to take over for Jones in Norman under center. However, his resume doesn’t look like that of a traditional quarterback. He scored 11 rushing touchdowns on 58 carries this year and has 24 rushing touchdowns on 102 career attempts. He should become the starter next fall for Oklahoma without a touchdown pass on 19 career passes.

175.94: Marcus Mariota’s nation’s leading road passer rating
The Ducks were 5-0 on the road due in large part to Mariota’s stable play away from Eugene. He completed 75.2-percent of his passes for 1,036 yards, 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions in his five games away from Autzen Stadium this season. He also rushed for 414 of his 690 yards and three of his four touchdowns on the road as well. And he did all of this as a freshman against the likes of USC, Oregon State, Arizona State, Wazzu and Cal. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (172.87) was the No. 2-rated road passer. Speaking of…

8: Tajh Boyd’s ACC single-game touchdown
Boyd completed 30-of-44 passes for 426 yards, rushing 18 times for 103 yards and scored an ACC record eight total touchdowns in the win over the Wolfpack. The Tigers' offense set a school-record with 102 offensive plays and finished two yards shy (754) of a school record for total offense.

38: Tennessee was first SEC team to allow at least 38 points in seven straight games
When Missouri scored 51 points in a win over Tennessee in Neyland Stadium on Nov. 10, it marked the first time in history an SEC team had allowed at least 38 points in six straight games. Then the Vols allowed 41 points to Vanderbilt in a loss that signaled the end of the Derek Dooley era in Knoxville. Tennessee allowed an SEC-worst 35.7 points and 471.3 yards per game in 2012.

572: Big 12 single-game all-purpose yards record set by Tavon Austin
Austin has done everything for the Mountaineers in his amazing career in Morgantown. He has scored 29 receiving touchdowns, five return touchdowns and six rushing scores. He owns the single-season and career return yards marks and numerous receiving records. But he also set the WVU single-game rushing record with 344 yards on just 21 carries against Oklahoma. His 572 all-purpose yards in the close loss to the Sooners were six shy of the NCAA single-game record set by Emmett White of Utah State (against New Mexico State). It might have been the most dominate single-game performance by any player at any position ever. Additionally, Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky (2,977 yards) needs 274 all-purpose yards in the bowl game to break Barry Sanders’ single-season record set in 1988 (3,251).

80,000: 17 programs averaged at least 80K in attendance this fall
Thirteen of those 17 hail from either the Big Ten or the SEC. In fact, 10 of the top 12, 15 of the top 21 and 17 of the top 24 come from the two most powerful and lucrative leagues in America.

4: SEC wins by at least 23 points in the last two seasons by Vanderbilt
From 1957 to 2010, the Commodores won four SEC games by at least 23 points. In the last two seasons, Vandy has matched the total with four wins over Tennessee, Ole Miss and Kentucky (twice). Tailback Zac Stacy also became the school’s all-time leading rusher at 3,036 yards.

5,000 and 2,000: Career totals topped by Taylor Martinez before his senior year
Only three players have ever passed for at least 5,000 yards and rushed for 2,000 yards prior to entering their senior season. Missouri’s Brad Smith and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick were the only two in the club before Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez crossed those benchmarks this season. T-Mart has 6,387 yards passing (44 TD, 25 INT) and 2,812 yards rushing (31 TD) in just three seasons. 

Teaser:
<p> The 20 Best College Football Stats of 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-final-voting-winner
Body:

Each week, the Athlon editors and others who closely follow college football vote on the most prestigious award in the sport. A 13-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports and other publications cast their votes for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the results will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point. Here are Athlon's guest voters:

Barrett Sallee: Bleacher Report SEC Lead Writer (@BarrettSallee)
Jim Young: ACCSports.com (@ACCSports)
Blair Kerkhoff: Kansas City Star (@BlairKerkhoff)
Chris Level: RedRaiderSports.com (@ChrisLevel)

And the winner is...

1. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame (six first-place votes, 121 points)
Stats: 103 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 7 INT, 1.5 sack, FR, 4 PBU
Te'o tied with Manziel for the most first-place votes and won a razor-thin Athlon Sports Heisman vote due to more second place votes (five to three). Judging by our own exercise, the second- and third-place votes may play as strong a role in the award than the first-place. Notre Dame is unbeaten and playing Alabama for the BCS title after playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, and Te'o was arguably the most consistent performer through the season of the finalists. He has a golden reputation as a leader and in his off-field actions. On the field, he finished second in the nation in interceptions and put on marquee performances against Oklahoma and USC. His defense led the nation in fewest points allowed. Should the Irish defeat the Crimson Tide in Miami, Te'o could make the case he easily deserved the award.

2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (six first-place votes, 119 points)
Stats: 273-400, 3,419 yards, 24 TD, 8 INT, 184 att., 1,181 yards, 19 TD
The arguement for Johnny Manziel is his competition (the best in the nation) and the "wow" factor. He made plays few in the nation can make. His statistical production was record-setting and his signature performance against No. 1 Alabama will go down in college football history as one of the greats. Yet, his team lost two games — including a home game to LSU in which his three interceptions cost Texas A&M an SEC West championship and a shot at a national title.

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (one first-place vote, 110 points)
Stats:
 180-272, 2,490 yards, 15 TD, 7 INT, 194 att., 890 yards, 22 TD
Klein finished his stellar K-State career with a convincing win over Texas to clinch a Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl bid. He was a higher-rated passer than Manziel, both in and out of conference play. He rushed for more touchdowns (especially, in conference) and his team won more games. His heart and toughness is unmatched by anyone (except maybe Te'o) and his off-the-field character is second to none.

Comparing the two quarterbacks in conference play:

  G Comp. Att. % Yards TD INT QB Rat Att. Yards TD Pts/Gm
Johnny Manziel 6-2 200 284 70.4 2,289 11 6 146.67 128 698 10 7.5
Collin Klein 8-1 137 213 64.3 1,886 10 5 149.49 148 685 18 12.0\

How the final voting turned out:
 
  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (2) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 121/130 6 5 2 - - 13/13
2. (1) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 119/130 6 3 4 - - 13/13
3. (3) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 110/130 1 5 6 1 - 13/13
4. (4) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 89/130 - - 1 9 3 13/13
5. (6) Marqise Lee WR USC 59/130 - - - 1 3 13/13
6. (5) Marcus Mariota QB Oregon 51/130 - - - 1 1 11/13
7. (9) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 32/130 - - - 1 1 8/13
8. (7) Ka'Deem Carey RB Arizona 30/130 - - - - 2 8/13
9. (10) Jordan Lynch QB N. Illinois 23/130 - - - - 3 7/13
10. (8) Tavon Austin WR W. Virginia 16/130 - - - - - 4/13
11. (8) Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 12/130 - - - - - 6/13
12. (14) Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford 11/130 - - - - - 3/13
13. (20) Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 9/130 - - - - - 3/13
14. (13) Jadeveon Clowney DE S. Carolina 8/130 - - - - - 3/13
15t. (ur) Montee Ball RB Wisconsin 5/130 - - - - - 2/13
15t. (14) AJ McCarron QB Alabama 5/130 - - - - - 2/13
17t. (14) Giovani Bernard RB N. Caroliona 3/130 - - - - - 2/13
17t. (17) Landry Jones QB Oklahoma 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
17t. (17) Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
17t. (ur) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
21t. (19) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
21t. (ur) Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
 
The best of the rest:
 
4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (12-0)
Stats: 
148-254, 2,039 yards, 15 TD, 6 INT, 227 att., 1,271 yards, 13 TD
 
5. Marqise Lee, WR, USC (7-5)
Stats: 112 rec., 1,680 yards, 14 TD, 28 KR, 802 yards, TD, 106 yards rushing 
 
6. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (11-1)
Stats: 
218-312, 2,511 yards, 30 TD, 6 INT, 98 att., 690 yards, 4 TD
 
7. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon (11-1)
Stats: 248 att., 1,624 yards, 21 TD, 19 rec., 232 yards, TD
 
8. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona (7-5)
Stats: 275 att., 1,757 yards, 20 TD, 33 rec., 288 yards, TD
 
9. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois (12-1)
Stats: 222-353, 2,962 yards, 24 TD, 5 INT, 271 att., 1,771 yards, 19 TD

10. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Stats: 110 rec., 1,259 yards, 12 TD, 61 att., 598 yards, 3 TD, 28 KR, 738 yards, TD, 15 PR, 165 yards, TD
Teaser:
<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Final Voting: And the winner is...</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 05:40
Path: /college-football/15-bcs-championship-match-ups-should-have-happened
Body:

Argument reigned supreme last season when one-loss Alabama got the nod to rematch with LSU over Oklahoma State in the BCS Championship game. Had the Cowboys simply beaten Iowa State two weeks earlier, there would have been no room for discussion. Since there is no playoff (yet) and a hodge-podge of very qualified one-loss teams — Oregon, Florida, Kansas State namely — are looking up at Alabama/Georgia in the BCS standings, it got me wondering, what if?

What national championship games could have, would have, should have, almost took place over the last 15 seasons? Some are justified, some are not. But all would have been intriguing and many would have completely rewritten the history books — like last season, for example. It goes to show that one bounce of the ball, one missed tackle, one injury can change the entire perception of a team, coach or player. Imagine how we would view at LSU and Les Miles historically if they had defeated Mike Gundy and the Pokes instead of losing to Alabama?

1. Auburn vs. USC, 2004
There has been no other team in the BCS era more worthy of playing for the national title without being invited to the big game than the 2004 Auburn Tigers. The Cincinnati Bearcats of 2009 are the only other BCS conference team to go undefeated and not play for the BCS National Championship. Jason Campbell, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Marcus McNeil and an athletic alphabet soup at wide receiver (Aromashodu and Obomanu) made this offense as talented as any in War Eagle history. Carlos Rogers and Jay Ratliff led a stacked defense that stifled ranked opponents LSU, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia Tech to a total 38 points. This team would be a heavy underdog to the USC powerhouse that crushed Oklahoma in the BCS title game that year, however, it is clear in hindsight that Auburn at least deserved a shot at the mighty Trojans.

2. USC vs. LSU, 2003
USC ended the 2003 season at No. 1 in both the AP and Coach’s Poll, but was third in the final BCS poll due to an early season overtime road loss to an eight-win Cal team. Oklahoma and LSU both lost as well, the Sooners in embarrassing 35-7 fashion to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game. Yet, they still finished No. 1 in the BCS. The Trojans ended up handling Michigan in the Rose Bowl with relative ease and split the National Championship with LSU. There were 52 NFL players on the ’03 USC roster and it’s fairly obvious they deserved to play in the official BCS national title game. Other than Cal, only one other regular season game was played with 20 points (a 35-18 win over BYU).

3. Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, 2012
Certainly, I would pick Alabama, Georgia or Florida to beat Ohio State if they were to match-up in a National Championship this winter. That doesn’t mean they would win the game and fans seem to have totally forgotten there are actually two unbeaten teams in the nation this season. If it were eligible, Ohio State would deserve to play Notre Dame for the national championship this season. The Buckeyes have a Heisman caliber quarterback, a two-time National Champion (in the SEC, I might add) head coach and a solid defense. Until the playoff is put in place in 2014, the current system is built to award unbeaten teams from power conferences. This year’s title game should be a historic match-up between two of college football blue-blood programs (even if you think Bama or Georgia is the best team).

4. Ohio State vs. Tennessee, 1998
Speaking of Ohio State, the Buckeyes and Vols were the best two teams in the nation back in the inaugural BCS season. After starting the year No. 1 and crushing their first eight opponents, a turnover-filled upset against Michigan State on Nov. 7 cost the Buckeyes a trip to the title game. This was a loaded OSU team that beat five ranked opponents and likely would have been favored over a Florida State team that got beat by 17 points to NC State and didn’t have it’s starting quarterback. But because the Noles loss came in Week 2, they had time to work their way back into the title game. Tennessee-Ohio State would have been a battle for the ages as many Buckeyes fans believe this was the best OSU team of the last 20 years.

5. West Virginia vs. Ohio State, 2007
Major Harris and the 1988 Mountaineers finished the regular season unbeaten and No. 3 in the polls. Had it beaten unblemished No. 1 Notre Dame in the bowl game, it likely would have won the school’s first and only national championship. In eerily similar fashion, WVU lost starting quarterback Pat White to an injury at Pitt on the final weekend of the 2007 regular season. The Panthers won 13-7 and eliminated the No. 2-rated Mounties from the BCS championship game. Had they won that game, Rich Rodriguez, White and Steve Slaton would have faced Ohio State in the title game with as good a shot to upset the Buckeyes as the two-loss LSU Tigers. Those two seasons are the closest WVU has ever come to winning a national title.

6. Oklahoma State vs. LSU, 2011
The debate over Oklahoma State and Alabama getting the right to face LSU was ended in abrupt fashion when the Tide crushed LSU in New Orleans last winter. However, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys didn’t deserve the opportunity to prove itself in the championship setting. One of the most productive (and talented) offenses ever assembled against one of the most productive and talented defenses (either Alabama or LSU) ever assembled would have been a tremendous showdown. Brandon Weeden vs. Eric Reid. Joseph Randle against the lawfirm of Mingo, Montgomery and Logan. How about Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne? And finally, Jordan Jefferson against the defense that forced more turnover (44) than anyone in the nation. Sign me up. Of course, had the Pokes not lost in double ovetime to Iowa State on the road in the penultimate game of the season, this would have been the match-up and the nation would have a new 2011 champion.

7. USC/Texas vs. Florida, 2008
The Trojans lost on a Thursday night on the road to a nine-win Oregon State team 27-21 in Week 3. They were not challenged the rest of the season, pitching three shutouts and holding three other teams to seven points or fewer. USC, which finished 12-1, led the nation in scoring defense (9.0 ppg allowed), passing defense and finished No. 2 in total defense. Oklahoma lost to Texas by 10 in the Red River Shootout but stayed ahead of the Horns and Trojans for the right to play Florida. Texas lost to Texas Tech in the Blake Gideon-Michael Crabtree thriller in Lubbock and finished in a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South. The Sooners got the nod based on BCS ranking. In fact, Utah and Boise State were the only unbeatens left after the regular season as Texas, Alabama, Penn State and Texas Tech all finished the regular season with one loss. Since Penn State lost to USC and Bama lost to Florida, a USC (or Texas) and Florida match-up might have actually been the most compelling.

8. Florida vs. Alabama, 2009
“Rematch” is a taboo word these days, but the 2009 SEC championship game decided the national championship game. Both teams entered the final weekend unbeaten and No. 1 Florida lost convincingly in the Georgia Dome 32-13 (we all remember Tim Tebow on the sidelines). The Gators were the defending national champs and had been No. 1 all season, so the question is who was the better team: Texas or Florida? Obviously, we will never know, but watching a Colt McCoy-less Longhorns teams fail to compete with the Tide while Tebow torched the unbeaten Bearcats didn’t help. A best out of three between these two would be just fine with me.

9. Tennessee vs. Miami, 2001
The Vols lost in heart-breaking fashion to Georgia 26-24 (I know, I was there) in the hob-nailed boot game early in 2001. However, after a huge win at No. 2 Florida to win the East in a game that was postponed due to 9/11, Tennessee worked its way back to the No. 2 spot in the BCS. All it had to do was defeat No. 21 LSU in the SEC championship game. Well, the Tigers (with a back-up QB) won a game that signified Nick Saban’s arrival in the SEC while the Volunteers were relegated to the Citrus Bowl. The Big Orange would have been crushed by the Hurricanes — arguably the best college football team ever assembled — so the end result likely wouldn’t have been any different. But one has to think Tennessee would have given The U a better battle than a Cornhuskers team that allowed 99 points in its final two games of the year.

10. Michigan vs. Ohio State, 2006
It might have been the best Ohio State-Michigan game ever played. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 and the Wolverines were ranked No. 2 and the game ended in a 42-39 win for Ohio State. Both were unbeaten and the eye-ball test indicated they were the best two teams in the nation. Florida backed its way into the game and proved that theory wrong in hindsight. However, if a rematch is good for the SEC, it’s good for the Big Ten as well. Much like Florida-Alabama in 2009 or LSU-Alabama in 2011, a best out of three would have been extraordinary for all parties involved.

11. Georgia vs. Ohio State/LSU, 2007
LSU lost twice en route to its national title in 2007 but never had to face the 11-2 Bulldogs. One could make the case that the Dawgs were the best team in the SEC that year, but a road loss to the Vols sent Tennessee to Atlanta to face LSU. I guess we’ll never know.

12. Oregon vs. Florida, 2012
Oregon is the best team not playing in the national championship game this fall. A one-loss Florida team also deserves to be mentioned amongst the nation’s elite as well. Of course, a playoff would have solved this issue.

13. Boise State vs. Alabama, 2009
The 2006 Boise State team was more memorable but the 2009 version was likely the best. Five teams finished the regular season unbeaten but TCU, who lost to Boise, Cincinnati and Texas lost in bowl games. Boise State and Alabama were the lone unbeatens that year.

14. Boise State vs. Ohio State, 2006
One thing we can all agree on is that Boise State-Ohio State would have been a much more entertaining national title than the one we got. The only thing that would have made the memorable Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma better is if it had come against Ohio State in the national title game.

15. TCU vs. Auburn, 2010
Oregon and Auburn were clearly the best two teams in the nation, but after an excellent performance against Wisconsin in a Rose Bowl win, TCU finished 13-0. Gary Patterson’s defense against Cam Newton would be fun to watch.

There are plenty of others out there I have failed to mention but would have loved to have seen played out. Here a few others I would have enjoyed:

Stanford vs. Alabama, 2011
UCLA vs. Tennessee, 1998
Oregon vs. Notre Dame, 2012
Oregon vs. Kansas State, 2012
Utah vs. USC, 2004
Stanford vs. Auburn, 2010
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, 1998
Oklahoma State vs. Alabama, 2011
Penn State vs. Ohio State, 2005

Teaser:
<p> 15 BCS Championship Match-ups that should have happened</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 05:16
Path: /college-basketball/weekly-tip-dec-3-college-hoops-stats-matter
Body:

There are 347 division-I college basketball teams. Following college hoops these days can be overwhelming. Let Athlon Sports start your college basketball week each Monday with a look at some of the most intriuging, most important and most interesting stats from around the world of college basketball:

517: Career wins by the late Rick Majerus
The former coach at Marquette (1983-86), Ball State (1987-89), Utah (1989-2004) and Saint Louis (2007-12) died Saturday after a long battle with heart disease. Stories of the coach and broadcaster who impacted lives for more than four decades flooded the internet and airwaves, each encapsulating his gracious and gregarious personality. He won five Coach of the Year Awards in the WAC, seven regular season conference championships and led Utah to the Final Four in 1998.

23: Combined margin of defeat for Kentucky last week
Kentucky had lost back-to-back games only once under John Calipari — road games against Ole Miss and Florida back in 2010-11. The Wildcats’ worst loss under Cal was by 17 to UConn that same year. But after seven games, Kentucky (4-3) lost to Notre Dame and Baylor last week for two of the four worst losses under Calipari. The 14-point loss to the Irish was the second-worst loss of the Calipari era. The nine-point loss on Saturday to Baylor was tied for the third-worst defeat. Keep in mind: Kentucky rolled through Baylor in the Elite Eight last season en route to the national title. The loss to the Bears was the first home loss under Calipari at Kentucky, snapping the nation’s longest home winning streak at 55 games.

81: Mason Plumlee’s free throw percent against top-five teams
Entering his final season at Duke, big man Mason Plumlee was a 50.5 percent free throw shooter. But through the first eight games of his senior year, he is shooting 76.1 percent from the stripe. Against three top-five teams, Ohio State (9 of 12), Louisville (4 of 4) and Kentucky (4 of 5), he has missed only four freebies in 21 attempts. His play — 19.6 points, 1 rebounds — is a big reason Duke is still unbeaten.

18.8: UNLV freshman Anthony Bennett’s points per game
Marcus Thornton of William & Mary is the top scoring freshman in the country at 19 points per game in seven games, but UNLV’s Bennett is nipping at his heels after his first six games at 18.8 points per game. Bennett is shooting 55.4 percent from the floor and adding 7.8 rebounds per game for the 5-1 Rebels. UNLV’s postseason potential is built around veteran Mike Moser, an Athlon preseason first-team All-American, but Bennett’s development over the course of the season could be the difference between an early Tournament exit or deep postseason run.

219: SMU’s RPI in 2011-12
Larry Brown’s Mustangs are one of the top stories early in the season. SMU was 13-19 last season and hasn’t had a winning overall record since 2002-03 (17-13). After an 8-1 start with wins over Pac-12 (Utah) and Big 12 (TCU) programs, the nation is starting to take notice. SMU is No. 37 in Yahoo’s preliminary RPI, ahead of programs like North Carolina and Michigan State, and is poised for its best season in over a decade. Keep en eye on the cagey Brown and his intriguing ‘Stangs.
 

Teaser:
<p> Weekly Tip-off Dec. 3: College Hoops Stats that Matter</p>
Post date: Monday, December 3, 2012 - 13:53

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