2008 Spring Preview - Players Who'll Go Nuts
Texas A&M RB Jorvorskie Lane
Texas A&M RB Jorvorskie Lane
Posted Mar 19, 2008

Who are some of the already known players ready to go nuclear in 2008? Stars like George Selvie, Graham Harrell, Beanie Wells, and Texas A&M's Jorvorskie Lane are already household names, and now they're about to be even bigger.

Spring Preview 2008

The 20 Big Questions - No. 4

By Pete Fiutak 

- The 2008 Big Spring Questions  
No. 20 - Top 40 Non-Conference Games
No. 16-19 - BCS Busters, Rule Changes & More
No. 15 - Ranking the Conferences
No. 14 - Who Could Be This Year's Kansas?
(breaking through big after a bad year)
No. 13 - 5 Teams That Could Tumble

No. 12 - Who Could Be This Year's Missouri?
(going from good to special)
No. 11 - Ten Coaches Who Need Big Seasons
No. 10 - The New Superstar Coaches

No. 9 - Everyone Will Be Complaining About ...
No. 8 - Everyone Will Be Buzzing About ...
No. 7 - The Pressure Is On ...
No. 6 - The Relatively Unknown Players
You'll Care About
No. 5 - Every League's Pain In the Butt Team

4. Who are some of the already known players ready to go nuclear in 2008?

Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame
Of course, this is assuming he actually wins the job. Clausen was last year's overhyped prep quarterback of the moment, and while no one's ever as good as the press clippings, at least right away, he never had a chance. Thrown to the wolves as a true freshman, he had one of the nation's most porous lines to work behind and a deep-green receiving corps to throw to. No, 1,254 yards, seven touchdowns, six interceptions, and job insecurity isn't what everyone had in mind, and no, he's not going to be Brady Quinn this season, but the overall experience will be there all across the offense and yeah, he actually is good.

Brian Cushing, LB USC
After a tremendous, tenacious pass rushing season as an undersized defensive end, Cushing moved to outside linebacker where he only made 25 tackles, mainly because he had a bum ankle that was never right. Even with the mediocre season, he could've turned pro early and likely would've been a top 50 pick. After undergoing ankle surgery, expect him to grow into one of the nation's most productive defenders as he cleans up everything Rey Maulauga doesn't get to.

James Davis & C.J. Spiller, RBs Clemson
Welcome to the new Darren McFadden/Felix Jones, Ronnie Brown/Carnell Williams, Reggie Bush/LenDale White. Well, the Davis/Spiller tandem isn't really like the former USC duo, but it'll be among the most dangerous in the country after Davis reversed field and chose to return for his senior season. A touchdown machine with 36, to go along with 3,130 yards, he's a tough back with speed. Spiller is a speed back with speed. The junior toyed with the idea of transferring last year, but chose to stick in Death Valley and ran for 768 yards and three touchdowns. While he would've been a Heisman-stat superstar had Davis left, Spiller will be more than effective as the No. 1A option in a loaded offense.

Arian Foster, RB Tennessee
Following a major sophomore slump, thanks mostly to an ankle injury, Foster came back roaring with a nice 1,193-yard, 12-touchdown season as the steady leader of the Tennessee ground game. After flirting with turning pro early, he wisely chose to return and now should be the focal point of a Vol attack that's breaking in a new starting quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. He's in the SEC, and he's not really a home-run hitter, so there won't be Darren McFadden-like stats, but he should be a consistent 100-yard performer.

Graham Harrell, QB Texas Tech
Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons, Sonny Cumbie, Cody Hodges ... Texas Tech has had a slew of marginally talented quarterbacks who put up big, ridiculous numbers. Harrell is different. Oh sure, he's cranking out the stats, leading the nation in total offense and throwing for 10,689 yards and 89 touchdowns in just over two seasons, but he's an actual NFL prospect. Sort of like Colt Brennan showed that he just wasn't a system quarterback at Hawaii, Harrell might finally break through as he leads a loaded offense that gets Bilitnikoff winner Michael Crabtree back and loses just one starter, WR Danny Amendola. After throwing 48 touchdown passes with 11 400-plus yard performances, he should be even better.

Chase Holbrook, QB New Mexico State & Chris Williams, WR New Mexico State
After doing a little bit of thinking about jumping ship to the NFL early, Holbrook chose to return for his final year after realizing he'd likely have been a late second day pick. So far he's thrown for 8,485 yards and 60 touchdowns with 27 interceptions in two seasons. However, after an ultra-efficient sophomore season, he struggled with interceptions throughout last season throwing 18, with two or more tossed in six games. At 6-5 and 240 pounds, he has the size, he has the arm, and he has the knowledge of the offense. Now with his prime receivers returning, he should be in for a huge final season and should take over for Colt Brennan as the WAC's big passing star.

Williams caught 56 passes for 772 yards and 11 touchdowns in just under eight games, but it was that eighth, a win over Idaho, that cost him his season suffering a broken collarbone. On the positive side, one of the nation's quickest, most productive receivers is back for a final year and, if he stay healthy, will be one of the nation's most productive receivers. a wisp at only 5-8 and 157 pounds, he can't take too many big shots, but he's uncoverable.

Jorvorskie Lane, RB Texas A&M
One of the nation's most unstoppable short-yardage forces over the last few years, he was underutilized by the former coaching staff and went bizarre stretches without getting the ball. Even so, he ran for 44 touchdowns in three years and has been terrific when given a chance to be a workhorse. After slimming down this off-season, and with a new coaching staff ready to give him the ball, the thunder will come on a more regular basis.

George Selvie, DE South Florida
More like a big linebacker than a true defensive end, the 6-4, 242-pound junior went from making 84 tackles as a freshman to 58 as a sophomore, but he blew up as a pass rusher with 14.5 sacks and a nation-leading 31.5 tackles for loss. While put up the overall numbers, he struggled late in the year coming up with just one sack in the final five games once teams started putting everyone on him. He'll have to be used to double and triple teams, but with an off-season to get stronger, and with the national buzz generated, the pressure will be on from the start.

Willie Tuitama, QB Arizona
For what seems like the ninth season in a row, Tuitama is supposed to be college football's next really big thing. A combination of injuries and team inefficiency have kept him from becoming a special player, but he has shown glimpses of greatness. Running a Texas Tech-like spread passing game that he's had a year to figure out, the opportunities will be there for a huge season. Throwing for 28 touchdowns and 3,683 yards were nice, but he has to start leading the way to more wins. Those should finally start coming on a more regular basis ... really.

Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB Ohio State

Ohio State has been a national punching bag after losing the last two national championship games, but the ire hasn't been directed at Beanie. With a scary combination of speed, power, and breakaway ability, the junior, who's coming off a 1,605-yard, 15-touchdown season, is on the true short list of Heisman candidates and will be a top 15 pick if he
chooses to come out next year. With a veteran line to work behind and a loaded offense to take the heat off, the only thing keeping Wells from an obnoxious-stat season will be the blowouts. He won't be playing in most fourth quarters.