Brian Brohm, Louisville – Taking over for Stefan LeFors, Brohm threw
for 19 touchdowns and 2,883 yards, and displayed uncommon poise and
maturity for a true sophomore. The Big East Offensive Player of the
Year was the No. 2 passer in the country, but had his campaign marred by
a late-season ACL tear that’s going to take six to nine months to rehab.
Young, Iowa – Finally healthy for an entire season, Young gave the
Hawkeyes a consistent threat out of the backfield that they sorely
lacked a season ago. He broke the century mark in each of the last
seven games, and finished ninth in the country with 118 rushing yards a
RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma – Peterson was banged up during the
first half of the year, but he still finished with 1,024 yards and 14
touchdowns highlighted by a brilliant four game stretch to close out the
year rushing for two scores in each game. When 100%, he's still among
the best players in the game.
Offensive Sophomore of the Year
WR Dwayne Jarrett, USC – Jarrett is a
physically imposing receiver in the mold of former Trojan standout Mike
Williams. He can run past, out muscle or leap over most of the game’s
defensive backs at this level, and used that menagerie of attributes to
pace USC with 81 catches for 1,153 yards and 15 touchdowns.
WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech – Johnson is an acrobatic, who
catches anything that’s remotely close to his long arms, and would be
utterly unstoppable if he played with a more consistent passer. His 52
catches for 869 yards and six touchdowns do not do justice to just how
dominant this young receiver has become in two seasons.
Harline, BYU – A former junior college transfer, Harline blossomed
into BYU’s top pass catcher this fall, earning a position on the
All-Mountain West first team. He topped the nation’s sophomore tight
ends with 56 catches for 780 yards and four touchdowns.
OT Sam Baker, USC – On a Trojan offense that’s as prolific as any
in the nation, Baker has been the unit’s best lineman two years
running. A first team All-Pac 10 selection, he’s extremely physical,
has above average footwork and still has room to add muscle to his 6-5
OG Jordan Grimes, Purdue – Buried beneath a season of
disappointments was Grimes, one of the few bright spots for the
Boilermakers in 2005. A bona fide mauler, who’s only going to get
better with experience, he was cited by Big Ten coaches for the
all-league second team.
C Adam Spieker, Missouri – A rising star at the pivot, Spieker is
the quarterback of the Mizzou line and already has 22 starts on his
resume. He’s 6-3 and 310 pounds, and behind Tony Palmer, has been the
Tigers’ most consistent blocker over the last two seasons.
OG Will Arnold, LSU – A second team All-SEC selection, Arnold
figures to assume the role of line leader in Baton Rouge next season.
He’s big and powerful, and particularly effective when the Tigers are
wearing out a defense on the ground.
OT Tony Brinkhaus, Minnesota – With Greg Eslinger and Mark
Setterstrom out of eligibility, Brinkhaus is poised to become the next
pillar of the prolific Gopher running attack. He was a standout in his
first season as a starter and an honorable mention choice on the All-Big
Defensive Sophomore of the Year
Lawrence Jackson, USC – Jackson is evidence that all of USC’s stars
don’t reside on the offensive side of the ball. The Pac-10 first-teamer
is a well-sized prodigy, who tied for second best in the conference with
DT Sedrick Ellis, USC – Ellis is emerging as a star at the nose
for the Trojans. He’s a nimble athlete for a 285-pounder and plays with
an incredible amount of passion and intensity. Ellis has All-America
potential now that he has a full season of reps in the vault.
DT Frank Okam, Texas – Once he’s able to step outside Rod
Wright’s long shadow, folks are going to realize Okam is one of the
fastest rising run stoppers in college football. He’s a powerful and
explosive interior lineman, who was named to the All-Big 12 second team.
DE Stanley McClover, Auburn – For the second straight year,
McClover continued his assault on SEC quarterbacks, bagging 12½ tackles
for loss and a Tiger-best seven sacks. He spent much of the season
nursing an ankle and hamstring injury, which hampered his production.
LB Vince Hall, Virginia Tech – On a defense loaded with stars,
Hall distinguished himself as one of the Hokies most valuable players.
His 103 tackles led the team, and his 7½ tackles for loss and nine
passes defended were a testament to his ability to make plays all over
LB Brandon Siler, Florida – Gainesville is a stepping stone to
the NFL for Siler, a youngster in a man’s body. He defends the run and
pass exceptionally well and is one of the nation’s best defenders at
separating a player from the ball. Siler’s seven fumble recoveries led
the country in 2005.
LB Corey McKeon, Nebraska – McKeon came virtually out of nowhere
to have a blockbuster season for the Huskers. Leaving on superior
athleticism and instincts, he stepped in for the departed Barrett Ruud
and collected 87 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, seven sacks, three picks
and seven passes defended.
CB Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh – Revis is a ball hawk, who’s well
on his way to becoming one of the best cornerbacks in America. This
past fall, he parlayed a team-leading four picks and nine passes broken
up into the All-Big East first unit.
S Ko Simpson, South Carolina – Simpson is one of the premier
safeties in the country, regardless of class.
He led South Carolina with 94 tackles, and nine passes broken up, and is
already advanced enough to strongly consider a jump to the NFL following
next year’s junior season.
S C.J. Wallace, Washington – Wallace can really pack a punch and
is the caliber of young athlete Ty Willingham hopes to build the Husky
program around. Despite missing two games for disciplinary reasons,
Wallace still logged 86 stops and 5½ tackles behind the line.
CB Antoine Cason, Arizona – A starter as a true freshman, Cason
is maturing into one of the top young cover corners in the country. No
one in the Pac-10 wants to throw his way, which keeps his numbers down,
but can’t keep NFL scouts from projecting him as a future first-day
Kaylor, Colorado State – Kaylor turned out to be a most valuable
weapon for the Ram defense, averaging nearly 46 yards a boot and
regularly pinning opposing offenses near their own end zone. He boomed
punts of 60 yards three times and rose to No. 4 nationally in punting.
K Brandon Coutu, Georgia – Coutu’s three field goals of more than
50 yards are evidence he has a powerful leg, but he was also pretty
doggone accurate in 2005. He connected on 23-of-29 attempts, and is No.
5 among the nation’s kickers in scoring.
KR Ted Ginn, Ohio State – It took a while before Ginn reached top
gear this fall, but he was still able to average almost 30 yards a
return and finish No. 3 in the country. If more opponents dared to punt
the ball to him, he’d take back at least three every year.
PR Terrence Nunn,
Nebraska – In his second year in Lincoln, Nunn blossomed into a steady
wide receiver and an explosive punt returner. His average of more than
19 yards a return was good for No.3 in the country.
Colt Brennan, Hawaii – Nine months ago, Brennan had neither a
scholarship nor a school to call home. He’s still waiting for the
scholie, but he’s found a permanent home with June Jones and Hawaii.
Brennan assimilated quickly to his new environment, throwing for 35
touchdowns and 4,301 yards, while getting better as the season
RB Yvenson Bernard, Oregon State – Bernard filled a gaping void
at tailback for the Beavers and absolutely stunned the rest of the Pac
10 by running for 13 touchdowns and 1,321 yards, which was good for
seventh in the country. In eight league games, he slashed for at least
120 yards six times.
RB Rafael Little, Kentucky – The one silver lining in another
forgettable Kentucky season. Little was everywhere for the ‘Cats,
rushing for more than 1,000 yards and leading the team in receptions and
punt return average. Little led the SEC and was No. 5 nationally in
WR Todd Blythe, Iowa State – By the time he leaves Ames, Blythe
could own every receiving record in school history. A first team
All-Big 12 selection, the 6-5 sophomore has already pulled down 85
catches and 16 touchdown receptions in two seasons.
WR Dorien Bryant, Purdue – Bryant led the Big Ten with 80
receptions, doing a great impression of former Boilermaker Taylor
Stubblefield. He became a possession receiver in last year’s offense,
yet, has the speed to break the big play when he gets out into space.
TE Greg Olsen, Miami – Yet another future millionaire tight end
care of Miami. Olsen is a complete player with enormous potential, but
his 31 catches and four touchdowns were stunted somewhat by a ‘Cane
passing game that struggled to click in 2005.
OT Peter Graniello, Arizona – A Freshman All-American last year,
Graniello elevated his game to All-Pac 10 level before injuring his
right ankle in November. He spent his first two seasons in the desert
at guard, but could shift inside next year if it improves the rest of
OG Kirk Elder, Texas A&M – The Aggies are building a young,
formidable offensive line, and Elder is one of its leaders. He’s a
devastating run blocker, particularly when he’s pulling, and also
displayed the aptitude play tackle when asked in the summer.
C Doug Legursky, Marshall – In just his second season, Legursky
is already one of the nation’s most dependable centers. He started 10
games at center and filled in once at guard, repeatedly backing up his
preseason recognition on the Rimington Trophy watch list.
OG Roy Schuening, Oregon State – The anchor of the Beaver front
wall and an All-Pac 10 performer, Schuening is the most complete lineman
the program has had in years. He’s a pile driver in the running game,
and one of the key reasons Yvenson Bernard was No. 7 nationally in
OT Brandon Rodd, Arizona State – Rodd was destined to be a
Freshman All-American last year, but a torn ACL in his right knee ended
his 2004 season just as it was beginning. He’s a versatile lineman,
who’s played guard and tackle in Tempe, and capped his first full year
by being named All-Pac 10 honorable mention.
Moss, Florida – Moss led the Gators in tackles for loss and sacks,
and established himself as one of the best young pass rushers in the
country. He stands 6-6 and uses his sizable wingspan to obstruct the
vision of opposing quarterbacks and bat down would-be completions.
DT Nick Hayden, Wisconsin – On a line riddled with question marks
all year, Hayden was the one kid that delivered answers every Saturday.
He possesses terrific size and a 2005 resume that features 53 tackles,
8½ tackles for loss and four sacks.
DT Alan Branch, Michigan – Slated to be a reserve before the
season started, Branch would have none of it, and rapidly developed into
the Wolverines best lineman. At 6-6, 325 pounds and uncommonly quick,
he has the potential to be the nation’s premier run-stopping tackle as
early as next fall.
DE Tommy Blake, TCU – Blake was a pass-rushing menace all year
for opposing offensive tackles. The Mountain West Defensive Player of
the Year amassed 55 tackles, 12½ tackles for loss and six sacks for the
LB Ali Highsmith, LSU – Highsmith took over at weakside
linebacker in game two, and has been a rousing success ever since. He’s
not all that big, but he has terrific range and can really bring the
lumber. Highsmith had 70 tackles, 9½ for loss and four sacks on the
LB Dan Connor, Penn State – After serving a suspension for most
of September, Connor finished the season very strong, often playing with
redemption as his chief motivation. Despite watching from the sidelines
for three full, he collected 69 tackles, including 14 in the Big Ten
clincher over Michigan State.
LB Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky – Woodyard had a solid freshman
season followed by a breakthrough sophomore year, leading the ‘Cats with
100 tackles and earning All-SEC honorable mention honors. The speedy
inside linebacker also recovered four fumbles, a testament to his knack
for being around the ball.
CB John Talley, Duke – Watch Talley play for a couple of games,
and it’s hard not to wonder how Duke landed a football player this
gifted. A true lock down corner, he’s already pocketed nine career
interceptions and back-to-back appearances on the All-ACC squad.
S Brandon Sumrall, Southern Miss – Sumrall parlayed a very strong
spring into a starting assignment at the rover position and a spot on
the All-C-USA second team. He’s a big hitter, who led the Eagles with
four interceptions and chipped in with 81 tackles.
CB D.J. Wolfe, Oklahoma – A converted running back, who’s going
to keep getting better in his new role, Wolfe has quickly emerged as one
of the Big 12’s more physical corners. He finished the regular season
with 60 tackles, two picks and a Sooner-best nine passes broken up.
P Kenneth DeBauche, Wisconsin – Look no further than DeBauche
to understand why the Badgers were 12th in the country in net
punting. He led the Big Ten in punting and dropped a whopping 21 kicks
inside the opposition’s 20 yard line.
K Alexis Serna, Oregon State –Serna led all kickers in 2005 with
23 field goals and 101 points. He missed just five kicks all year, and
has been a rock since debuting with three devastating missed extra
points in the 2004 opener at LSU.
KR Darrell Blackman, North Carolina
State – Blackman is a burner, who used his jets to average almost 30
yards a return and earn a spot on the All-ACC second team.
PR Rafael Little, Kentucky – Little did a little bit of
everything for the ‘Cats this season, including leading the SEC with an
average of just under 17 yards per punt return.