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May 3, 2010

Monday with Mike: Players eye big seasons

Compiling the decade's statistical milestones by school was both an interesting exercise in what has happened (Oregon State's offense has been that good?) and what could happen this season.

As such, here's an early look at the guys I'm predicting will reach those statistical plateaus this season. The players are listed alphabetically within the categories.

There are three teams predicted to have a player reach all three statistical plateaus: Oklahoma (QB Landry Jones, RB DeMarco Murray, WR Ryan Broyles); UTEP (QB Trevor Vittatoe, RB Donald Buckram, WR Kris Adams); and Washington (QB Jake Locker, RB Chris Polk, WR Jermaine Kearse).

ATLANTIC COAST
BUZZ: Florida State and North Carolina haven't had 1,000-yard rushers since the turn of the century - and won't this season, either. North Carolina also hasn't had a 3,000-yard passer in that span, and that's not going to happen this season, either. FSU and Miami have quarterbacks who should reach the 3,000-yard plateau this season, but don't expect a 1,000-yard receiver at either school simply because the receiving corps are so deep that neither is going to have a 75-/80-catch guy.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: Georgia Tech RB Anthony Allen, Boston College RB Montel Harris, Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt, Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Miami's Jacory Harris, FSU's Christian Ponder.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: None.
BIG 12
BUZZ: Oklahoma and Texas have had some of the most diversified offenses in the nation in the past decade. Oklahoma is one of the few teams that can legitimately hope to have a 1,000-yard rusher, a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard receiver this season. While Texas certainly isn't going to struggle offensively this fall, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Longhorns don't have any players reach those plateaus. A team to watch is Texas Tech. New coach Tommy Tuberville never has been one whose offense wings it around, and it wouldn't be a total shock if the Red Raiders have their first 1,000-yard rusher since the new century dawned.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: Oklahoma State RB Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray, Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson, Oklahoma's Landry Jones, Texas Tech QB Steven Sheffield (or whomever starts at the position).
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, Missouri's Jerrell Jackson.
BIG EAST
BUZZ: The Big East didn't have any 3,000-yard passers last season, but if Cincinnati's Zach Collaros can stay healthy, he should reach that plateau this season. Pitt's Jonathan Baldwin was a 1,000-yard receiver last season, but he could have problems reaching that level again because the Panthers will be breaking in a new quarterback. WVU's Noel Devine has increased his yardage total each season on campus, putting him in line for a 1,500-yard season this fall.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: West Virginia RB Noel Devine, Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis, Connecticut RB Jordan Todman.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Cincinnati's Zach Collaros.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: Cincinnati's Armon Binns, Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu.
BIG TEN
BUZZ: The Big Ten had three 3,000-yard passers last season, but each was a senior. Replacements at Penn State and Northwestern have a lot to prove as passers, but the new guy at Purdue - Robert Marve - has the best shot of any quarterback in the league of throwing for 3,000 this season.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: Wisconsin RB John Clay, Penn State RB Evan Royster.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: None.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: Indiana's Tandon Doss, Ohio State's Devier Posey, Purdue's Keith Smith.
CONFERENCE USA
BUZZ: This league had nine 1,000-yard rushers last season, the most of any conference. But five of those guys were seniors, and two juniors turned pro early (and neither was drafted). That leaves UTEP's Donald Buckram, who should get to 1,000 again, and UCF's Brynn Harvey, who suffered a knee injury during spring ball and isn't expected to be 100 percent until after the season starts. C-USA had two 3,000-yard passers last season, and that number should more than double this season. Houston's Case Keenum threw for 5,671 last season and the first 6,000-yard season in FBS history is a legit goal this fall.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: UTEP RB Donald Buckram.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Southern Miss' Austin Davis, Houston's Case Keenum, Tulsa's G.J. Kinne, SMU's Kyle Padron, UTEP's Trevor Vittatoe.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: UTEP's Kris Adams, Southern Miss' DeAndre Brown, Houston's James Cleveland, Houston's Patrick Edwards, East Carolina's Dwayne Harris, Tulsa's Damaris Johnson, SMU's Aldrick Robinson.
INDEPENDENTS
BUZZ: Notre Dame had a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard receiver, but Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate turned pro early. No matter: Dayne Crist and Michael Floyd should reach those plateaus this season. And it wouldn't be a surprise if Navy had two 1,000-yard rushers.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: Navy QB Ricky Dobbs, Navy FB Vince Murray.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Notre Dame's Dayne Crist.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.
MID-AMERICAN
BUZZ: Most of the league's big-number guys are gone, especially at quarterback. A lot of MAC quarterbacks have to prove themselves this fall.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: Temple RB Bernard Pierce, Northern Illinois RB Chad Spann.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: None.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: Toledo's Eric Page, Miami's Armand Robinson.
MOUNTAIN WEST
BUZZ: BYU's Harvey Unga and Utah's Eddie Wide were 1,000-yard rushers last season. But Unga may not play this fall and Wide is going to have to share time with Matt Asiata, which means this league could be devoid of 1,000-yard rushers. TCU almost certainly will lead the league in rushing, but the Horned Frogs are going to use a committee approach at tailback. Wyoming is an offense to keep an eye on this season. The Cowboys are going into their second season under Dave Christensen, who oversaw some powerful offenses as Missouri's coordinator. BYU won't decide on a quarterback until fall drills, but it's a good bet that the new starter - replacing Max Hall - will have good numbers.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: None.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Wyoming's Austyn Carta-Samuels, BYU's Jake Heaps (or whomever wins the job), San Diego State's Ryan Lindley, Utah's Jordan Wynn.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: San Diego State's Vincent Brown, Wyoming's David Leonard.
PACIFIC-10
BUZZ: Toby Gerhart, who led the nation in rushing yards last season, is gone. However, there's still a plethora of good backs in the Pac-10. The Pacific Northwest is home to three backs who should each gain at least 1,300 yards.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: Oregon RB LaMichael James, Arizona State's Cameron Marshall, Washington's Chris Polk, Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, California's Shane Vereen.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: USC's Matt Barkley, Arizona's Nick Foles, Washington's Jake Locker, Stanford's Andrew Luck.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: USC's Ronald Johnson, Washington's Jermaine Kearse, Stanford's Ryan Whalen.
SOUTHEASTERN
BUZZ: The league had just one 3,000-yard passer and one 1,000-yard receiver last season, and you can expect those numbers to grow this season. But look for the number of 1,000-yard rushers to fall, from five to three - or maybe even two.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: Ole Miss' Brandon Bolden, Alabama's Mark Ingram, Kentucky's Derrick Locke.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Florida's John Brantley, South Carolina's Stephen Garcia, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: Arkansas' Greg Childs, Georgia's A.J. Green, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery.
SUN BELT
BUZZ: The league's two best offenses last season belonged to Middle Tennessee and Troy - but both lost their coordinators (MTSU's Tony Franklin to Louisiana Tech, Troy's Neal Brown to Texas Tech). The league has a number of good running backs, but the paucity of proven passing quarterbacks makes you wonder if there will be even one 3,000-yard passer or 1,000-yard receiver.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: North Texas' Lance Dunbar, Louisiana-Monroe's Frank Goodin, Florida Atlantic's Alfred Morris, Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Florida Atlantic's Jeff Van Camp.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: None.
WESTERN ATHLETIC
BUZZ: As usual, expect some big offensive numbers from WAC players. Boise State had a 1,000-yard rusher, a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard receiver last season. The Broncos should have no problem reaching those passing and receiving plateaus again, but great depth at tailback may mean there will be no 1,000-yard rusher for the Broncos.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick, Fresno State RB Robbie Rouse, New Mexico State RB Seth Smith, Nevada RB Vai Taua.
PROJECTED 3,000-YARD PASSERS: Idaho's Nathan Enderle, Hawaii's Bryant Moniz, Boise State's Kellen Moore.
PROJECTED 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS: Boise State's Austin Pettis, Hawaii's Greg Salas, Idaho's Maurice Shaw, Boise State's Titus Young.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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