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2012 Preseason Player Rankings - Returners
Purdue PK Raheem Mostert
Purdue PK Raheem Mostert
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 22, 2012


CFN's Top 30 Players of 2012 By Position - Kick and Punt Returners


Preview 2012

Player Rankings - Returners


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Note: This isn't a ranking of the top pro prospects.

2012 CFN Preseason Player Rankings  
Preview 2012 | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards | Centers 

Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles | Linebackers
Cornerbacks | Safeties | Punters | Placekickers | Returners 

1. KR Raheem Mostert, Soph. Purdue
The wide receiver didn't catch a pass in his true freshman season, but he ran for 108 yards and two scores on 16 carries and he grew into the best kickoff returner in college football. He took over the job in the fourth game of the year and cranked out 96 yards on four tries against Notre Dame, and he didn't stop averaging 33.48 per try with three touchdowns highlighted by a return for a score in the bowl win over Western Michigan. With his speed and ability, the 5-11, 180-pounder out of Orlando will be used more on offense this year, too.

2. PR Dustin Harris, Sr. Texas A&M
Harris was fantastic on punt returns averaging 18.6 yards per try with a score, while he dominated as a kickoff returner averaging 23.4 yards per try. He'll handle all the duties again.

3. KR De'Anthony Thomas, Soph. Oregon
If there's a more electrifying special teams weapon in the game, he's probably no longer an amateur. Thomas took the Pac-12 by storm in 2011, his first out of high school, leading the league in kickoff returns with an average of 27.3 yards and showing breathtaking ability every time he touched the ball. He was one of just 11 players in the FBS to take at least two back for six, burning Washington State and USC from long range. Thomas gets to top gear so fast, and has such good vision in the open field that it forces the opposition to rethink its strategy on kickoffs.

4. PR Jamal Miles, Sr. Arizona State
Arizona State boasts one of the country's most dangerous return men. Shifty and blazing fast, he took three back for touchdowns a year ago, two on kickoffs and one on a punt. He's one of those unique weapons who can change the mood of a game with one seam or one timely block. The program's most versatile player. The elusive 5-10, 180-pounder is difficult to classify because he does so many things well. A year ago, for instance, he caught 60 passes for 361 yards and six touchdowns, averaged 8.2 yards on 29 carries and was All-Pac-12 as a punt returner. The staff has to do a better job of getting him in space on vertical routes this fall.

5. KR Tyler Lockett, Jr. Kansas State

Lockett had a huge season as a kickoff returner averaging 35.2 yards per try with two touchdowns, and he wasn't miserable on punt returns averaging 6.3 yards per attempt. The 5-11, 175-pound speedster and Big 12 Offensive Freshman on the Year in 2010 caught 18 passes for 246 yards and three scores, but he suffered a lacerated kidney and missed the final four games of the season, and he was dinged up this offseason, but he has the deep speed to stretch the field more and the talent to be used from time to time as a runner after handling the ball ten times for 110 yards with a 57-yard dash against Oklahoma State.

6. KR/PR Tavon Austin, Sr. West Virginia
7. KR Sammy Watkins, Soph. Clemson
8. PR Jared Abbrederis, Jr. Wisconsin
9. PR Darryl Surgent, Jr. Louisiana-Lafayette
10. KR Ameer Abdullah, Soph. Nebraska
11. KR Josh Evans, Soph. WKU
12. PR Mitch Burroughs, Sr. Boise State
13. KR Jeremy Deering, Jr. Rutgers
14. KR George Atkinson III, Soph. Notre Dame
15. KR T.J. Thorpe, Soph. North Carolina
16. PR Tracy Lampley, Sr. Southern Miss
17. PR Venric Mark, Jr. Northwestern
18. KR Troy Stoudermire, Sr. Minnesota
19. KR Dennis Johnson, Sr. Arkansas
20. PR Andre Booker, Sr. Marshall
21. PR JD Falslev, Jr. BYU
22. KR Kerwynn Williams, Sr. Utah State
23. KR Nick Hill, Soph. Michigan State
24. PR Justin Veltung, Sr. Idaho
25. PR Levi Norwood, Soph. Baylor
26. KR Andre Debose, Jr. Florida
27. PR Derek Strozier, Jr. Tulane
28. PR Robert Woods, Jr. USC
29. KR Dyrell Roberts, Sr. Virginia Tech
30. KR Justin Gilbert, Jr. Oklahoma State