2012 NCAAF Offensive Studs (Volume 6)
There are going to be a lot of guys that’ll burst onto the scene next year and statistically dominate their position. Taking Bad Schotz is going to release a series of volumes, each made up of five breakout stars for 2013 that aren’t named Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Tajh Boyd, Denard Robinson, Montee Ball, Marcus Lattimore, Robert Woods, or Sammy Watkins.
Time to look at some of last year’s best Freshmen…and some kickers?
QB: James Vanderberg (Iowa, Junior)
In his first full season as a starter Vandenberg displayed great leadership along with flashes of Stanzi-ness. Vandenberg got off to a hot-start last year with 1,096 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first four games. He was somewhat inconsistent throughout the season and failed to throw over 300+ yards after his 3rd game. However, Vandenberg finished with 3,022 yards (impressive considering he had 9 games of <250 yards) with 25 touchdowns, 7 picks, and a 58.7 CMP%. Not a bad replacement for Stanzi who as Senior threw for a similar 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. Since running back Marcus Coker transferred to Stony Brook, and big-time receiver Marvin McNutt is on the Philadelphia Eagles, Iowa’s success rests on Vandenberg’s shoulders. Look for Keenan Davis to become the go-to-receiver as Vandenberg improves through the air with 3,200-3,350 yards and 30-32 touchdowns.
RB: Terrance West (Towson, Freshman)
The “Towson Tank” turned heads in his Freshman campaign of an absurd 29 touchdowns. At 5-11 222 lbs, West tore apart defenses with 11 multi-touchdown games (out of 12 games) in the regular season. He also had 6 straight consecutive games of 120+ yards, including a game of 261 yards on 23 carries; he finished with 1,294 yards. It is scary to fathom this guy is a Freshman, and I cannot imagine how many Patriot League records he will break. It’s hard to predict his improvements, but it is not out of the question to assume 1,500 yards and 30 touchdowns.
WR/RB: De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon, Freshman)
Thomas is the most dangerous and exciting player in college football. He is scary fast, and is simply a Freddy Vs. Jason meets Saw III nightmare for defenses. Thomas was the leading receiver for the Ducks with 46 receptions for 605 yards and 9 touchdowns (AVG 13.2). He was also 3rd on the team in rushing with 595 yards and 7 touchdowns (AVG 10.8), behind great company in LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner. At any moment Thomas can break out for a touchdown as he proved in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin. There really is not a proper comparison for the track star except maybe a faster Dante Hall on steroids. With Bryan Bennett under center, Thomas can potentially see the 1,000 yard mark receiving, and with LaMichael James gone the same thing is possible on the ground. On top of flirting with 2,000 total yards he is definitely good for at least 20 total touchdowns this year. I’m warning you, watch out for the “Black Mamba”.
K: Andre Heidari (USC, Freshman)
Behind every great team there’s a great kicker. Well that’s actually a blatant lie, but in this case it happens to be true. Heidari was 15-17 last season as a Freshman, and was 50-50 in his XPM-XPA. His long last season was 50 yards (his only 50+ attempt on the season), and he should easily set a new long this upcoming season, as well as a new career high with at least 20 made FG’s as the USC offense takes no prisoners.
P: Bobby Cowan (Idaho, Junior)
Cowan is a giant, and the football field is his playground. At 6-5 230lbs, Cowan’s weapon of choice is none other than his left foot, as he punts the living daylight out of the ball. In his 88 punts last season he had a 46.4 AVG, and has improved his average every season since his Freshman year. The Vandals are not the best team in the world and give Cowan too many opportunities to boot the ball. And with a long of 76 last year, I can only assume that despite Idaho’s shaky offense, the opposition does not have prime field position after a Bobby Cowan punt.
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