Preview 2009 ... Top 200
121 to 140
The Top 200 Players
Top Ten |
Here are the 200 best players going into the 2009
season. This has nothing to do with pro potential
and these aren't the 200 best pro prospects (that's
a completely different list). These are the stars
for this year and they should be the difference
makers who'll define the season.
121. WR/KR Phillip Livas, Jr., Louisiana Tech
While the Bulldog the receiving corps is hit hard by graduation, the star returns. Livas was a star recruit for the program and he didn't disappoint as a true freshman catching 28 passes for 504 yards and three touchdowns averaging 18 yards per grab. Last year he took things to another level catching a team-leading 43 passes for 607 yards and two touchdowns while finishing third on the team with 337 rushing yards and two scores. He’s also an elite kick returner averaging 25.8 yards per kickoff and 15.3 yards, with two touchdowns, as a punt returner. While he’s not big at only 5-8 and 175 pounds, he’s one of the nation’s best all-around players.
122. OT Adam Ulatoski, Sr. Texas
The star of a good Longhorn line is Ulatoski, a 6-7, 306-pound all-star who can play either tackle
spot and excel. He proved he could be rock-solid on the right side, and
last year he became terrific on the left side after coming back healthy
from a knee injury. He’s a solid run blocker who’s getting better and
better in pass protection. While he has a few problems with speed
rushers, when he gets his long arms on a defender, it’s over.
123. LB Ryan Reynolds, Sr. Oklahoma
It's not a stretch to say that the difference between a national title and finishing second was the loss of Reynolds. The 6-2, 225-pound man in the middle made 44 tackles and five tackles for loss in just over five games, but he suffered a torn ACL against Texas and everything changed. Once he got knocked out, Colt McCoy picked apart the OU defense across the middle. While Mike Balogun wasn't awful in the title game against Florida, he wasn't what Reynolds would've been. Immensely talented but often injured, he missed all of 2006 with a torn ACL, missed time with a neck injury, and is coming back from last year's malady. However, he's expected to be close to 100% and he should be a do-it-all, superstar playmaker when he's on the field.
124. RB Reggie Arnold, Sr. Arkansas State
SEC teams are still kicking themselves for missing out on Arnold, a 5-9, 219-pound senior with 3,210 career rushing yards, 20 touchdowns, and two more scores as a receiver. He has gone three straight years with over 1,000 yards, running for 1,074 yards and seven scores last season averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and he stays healthy, he's a mortal lock to be just the eighth back in NCAA history to go over 1,000 in four straight seasons. Blessed with 4.3 speed to go along with his size, he can run inside and he can tear off big runs when he gets to the outside. While he has to stay healthy, he has had shoulder problems in the past, he's tough and consistent. The coaching staff got him plenty of work throughout the year, but he was saved until late getting 20 carries more in a three-game November stretch after running more than 20 times just once in the season-opening win over Texas A&M. This year, he'll get the ball all the time and will be used even more as a receiver.
125. DT Scooter Berry, Jr., West Virginia
The Mountaineers’ defensive alignment uses three down linemen, led by the 6-1, 280-pound Berry, a returning second team All-Big East performer. A two-year starter at defensive end, he’s shifting inside to tackle, where he’s expected to maintain his quickness, burst, and ability to get penetration. In last year’s all-star campaign, he had 34 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and three fumble recoveries.
126. FS Jordan Lake, Sr. Baylor
Lake is a huge-hitting intimidating force who might be the Big 12’s best safety. The 6-1, 210-pound free safety made 120 tackles in 2006 and 97 in 2008 with 18 broken up passes and five interceptions over the last two years. He has the range and he has the sure-thing tackling ability, but he has to make sure he doesn’t knock himself out of the lineup. A shoulder problem didn’t turn out to be a problem last year, but he suffered a broken collarbone three years ago. While he’s not a speedster, he’s always around the ball and doesn’t miss stops with a team-leading 66 solo tackles.
127. WR Ryan Wolfe, Sr. UNLV
Back again as the team’s top receiver is Wolfe after catching 88 passes for 1,040 yards and six scores. The school’s all-time leader in catches and yards with 209 grabs for 2,735 yards and 13 scores, he was consistent, clutch, and ultra-productive with five 100-yard games highlighted by a 167-yard performance against Nevada. At 6-2 and 210 pounds he has good size and he has just enough speed to create separation. He’s also tough as nails with a willingness to sacrifice his body to make a grab. The coaching staff loves him and he should find a way to get the ball in his hands at least seven times a game.
128. SS Barry Church, Sr., Toledo
The Rockets will now use three linebackers, but the No. 3 defender will be an awful lot like an strong safety. That's where Church comes in. One of the nation's best strong safeties, he'll play a Star linebacker role where he'll do a little bit of everything. The one-time star recruit has lived up to the hype, and then some, and he'll do whatever the team needs to win. He was second on the team last season with 93 tackles with an interception, six broken up passes, and 5.5 tackles for loss, and now he'll get more room to roam. At 6-2 and 219 pounds, he has good size, next-level range, and the potential to have a monster season, even by his high standards, with even more room to roam and make plays.
129. QB Corey Leonard, Jr. Arkansas State
Leonard has done it all for the ASU offense over the last three seasons, but he's about to be in Sun Belt Player of the Year discussion if this offseason was any indication. A superior dual-threat playmaker, he threw for 2,346 yards and ran for 516 showing off his combination of a big arm and great speed. He hasn't always been accurate, completing 54% of his throws last season with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and with 40 career touchdown passes with 31 picks, and he's not big at 6-1 and 207 pounds, but he's a gamer. When he gets hot, the attack is all but unstoppable. Now he has to do it on a consistent basis. Case in point, he lit up Florida Atlantic last season, but he struggled the week after against a bad North Texas team. Of his 16 touchdown passes, four came against Texas Southern and and ten came in three games.
130. C John Estes, Sr., Hawaii
The Warrior line has to do some major rebuilding, but it has a star to work around in Estes, one of the nation’s best centers and a good pro prospect. The two-time first team All-WAC performer has started in all 41 games of his career starting out at right guard before finding a home in the middle. While he’s not huge at 6-2 and 290 pounds, he’s a tremendous athlete who will be on several All-America lists.
131. LB Micah Johnson, Sr., Kentucky
Johnson took over the full-time job in the middle last year and came up with a huge season making 93 tackles with 2.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. While he's 6-2 and 256 pounds, he moves like a much smaller player with tremendous range and a burst into the backfield. He was this close to turning pro, and he likely would've gone had he received a better report back from the NFL advisory board. A likely fifth round draft pick had he come out, he can move up in a hurry with one more big year and by showing a bit better instincts for the position. While he earned First Team All-SEC honors last season, he's still getting better.
132. RB Michael Smith, Sr., Arkansas
He might only be 5-7 and 176 pounds, and he might have had a few problems staying on the field thanks to injuries and off-the-field issues, but Smith is extremely tough and very dangerous. Never able to get out of the shadow of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, he did what he could when he got his chances producing several big plays. When he became the main man, he ran 207 times for 1,072 yards and eight scores, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, highlighted by a 192-yard day in the loss to Kentucky. Also a receiver, he finished second on the team with 32 catches for 298 yards and two scores. With his lightning quickness, combined with his hands and his toughness, he's a good all-around back for the offense to revolve around once he gets back healthy from a hamstring problem.
133. DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Sr., Washington
Te'o-Nesheim wasn't supposed to be this good when he left
Hawaii for the mainland. So much for high school rankings. Now
entering his fourth season as a starter, he’s evolved into one
of the league’s best pass rushers and an All-Pac-10 second
teamer. For the second straight year, he provided the spark up
front, posting 65 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and a
team-best eight sacks. A solid 6-4, 263-pounder, he uses his
hands well and has the whistle-to-whistle intensity to wear down
134. QB/CB Vic Hall, Sr., Virginia
The 5-9, 190-pound senior cornerback is
also going to play quarterback this fall—lots
of quarterback if he continues to make strides
behind center. He was not treated like a novelty act
in the spring, spending all of his time with the
offense. A dynamic athlete and one of the team
captains, he had a prolific high school career at
the position and rushed for 109 yards and two nifty
scores against Virginia Tech last November. The
question remains whether he can move the ball
through the air in Gregg Brandon’s new offense.
135. WR Kerry Meier, Sr. Kansas
Meier led the Jayhawks in catches with 97 grabs for 1,045 yards and eight touchdowns. The former quarterback has grown into a tremendous receiver and an NFL-caliber H-Back at 6-3 and 220 pounds with excellent speed. He was consistent all year long, and then he was dominant late in the year once everyone started to worry about Briscoe with 24 catches for 219 yards and three scores in the final games against Missouri and Minnesota. A big, physical target, he’ll be used in a variety of way and he’ll be Todd Reesing’s go-to target on key plays.
136. LB Obi Ezeh, Jr., Michigan
The 6-2, 240-pound junior did everything he could to make every play possible. Not only did he lead the team with 98 tackles, he led the team by a lot making 22 more stops than the team’s No. 2 tackler. However, he didn’t have his best year missing too many tackles and often being out of position. Versatile enough to play either in the middle or on the weakside, Ezeh will need to be an all-around playmaker on the outside and be used more as a pass rusher after making a sack and seven tackles for loss. If he’s healthy, he’ll be the team’s leading tackler and a sure-thing all-star if he can build on the potential shown as a freshman.
137. DT Geno Atkins, Sr., Georgia
The star of the Dawg line is Atkins, a 6-1, 290-pound senior who should be in the NFL right now.
While he's not huge, he's a tremendous athlete and a great
interior pass rusher even though he didn't come up with a sack
last season. He made 34 tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss after
making 30 stops with 7.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in
2007. A good reserve early on in his career, he bulked up
without losing any of his quickness. This should be a
salary-drive season before being a first-round draft pick in
138. QB Adam Weber, Jr., Minnesota
After carrying the Gopher offense two years ago, doing a little of everything with a team-leading 617 rushing yards to go along with his 2,895 yards through the air, Weber took a minor step back running less, netting just 233 yards and four scores, and throwing for 2,761 yards and 15 scores. He struggled as the season wore on thanks to better competition, no running game, and late in the year, the injury to WR Eric Decker. After throwing just two interceptions in the first seven games, he threw six in a five-game span including the season-defining pick six, that wasn’t his fault, to lose to Northwestern. Even though 2008 wasn’t the banner year he had hoped for, the 6-3, 217-pound junior was good enough to start to show some pro potential, and now the new offense should only help showcase his talents that much more. He doesn’t have a huge arm, but it’s good enough, he’s tremendously mobile, and very tough. Now he’ll have to come back from offseason shoulder surgery, and will have to step up his game to hold off the charge from O.J. Gray, to be the team leader for the next two years.
139. RB Evan Royster, Jr., Penn State
When healthy, the 6-1, 209-pound junior is a special back with first round draft pick potential. He came up with a breakout season rushing for 1,236 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry, while catching 17 passes for 155 yards, and now he's looking to do even more. Just when he appeared ready to make a big statement on the national stage, and become the hot player coming into this year, he suffered a sprained knee and a bad case of USC Linebackeritis in the Rose Bowl, being held to 34 yards. Now he's 100% and he should be in for a huge year with his combination of speed, power, and toughness sure to be enough to force him to make a tough decision on whether or not to stick around for his senior year. The big question is his durability, getting hit with an ankle problem two years ago. When he's on the field, he's one of the nation's elite players.
140. QB Jarrett Brown, Sr., West Virginia
Pat White has run out of eligibility. A moment of silence for the folks in Morgantown, please. While impossible to replace, West Virginia has the luxury of bringing back Brown, an experienced fifth-year player, who knows the system. If not for White, he most certainly would have been a starter years ago, and if nothing else, should be lauded for his patience. At 6-4 and 221 pounds, he’s a great fit for the spread option, blending nimble feet with a powerful right arm. Plus, he’s unflappable in just about any situation. Over the last three seasons, he’s earned two starts, throwing for 839 yards and five touchdowns, while rushing for 671 yards and seven scores.
The Top 200 Players
Top Ten |