A look at the 2010 wide receiver recruits will be ready next week. In the mean time let's look ahead to the Big 12, starting in South division.
2009 Record: 4-8
Returning Starters: 6 offense, 6 defense
Who They Lose
Some of the names of note for the Bears that will be missing in 2010 include center J.D. Walton, wide receiver David Gettis and backup quarterback Blake Szymanski (who filled in for the hurt Robert Griffin in ’09). Defensively, linebacker Joe Pawelek and free safety Jordan Lake, among with quite a few others – 23 total seniors – have finished their collegiate careers. Pawelek, Lake and Walton were all named to the All-Big 12 Second Team in 2009, so although they don’t necessarily play at flashy positions, their absence is sure to be felt.
Quarterback phenom and dual threat Robert Griffin III should be back and fully recovered from the knee injury he sustained early in 2009. This should most certainly help bolster the Bears offensive production.
In 2008 as a freshman, Griffin passed for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 846 yards and 13 touchdowns. If he can regain his speedy legs and shake the rust off his arm, Griffin’s 2010 statistics should keep moving upward.
Brother from another mother
While all eyes will be on Robert Griffin the quarterback, the ‘big’ Robert Griffin, a 6’6”, 350 lb. offensive tackle should also be hard to miss on the field. Griffin is a junior college transfer from Navarro College, already attending class in Waco and already excited to make his presence known on the football field. Bolstering the offensive line should be a bonus for Griffin the quarterback as well, giving him more time to work the offense in his many magical ways.
2010 Fantasy Outlook: Medium – due almost solely to superstar Robert Griffin. It is expected he will score the majority of the Bears’ points – whether it be in the air or on the ground.
2009 Record: 8-5
Returning Starters: 9 offense , 4 defense
Who They Lose
Though the Sooners played without quarterback Sam Bradford for much of the 2009 season and Jermaine Gresham for its entirety, these two losses will be obvious in the 2010 season.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be a noticeable departure. Expected to be a high NFL draft pick, McCoy was a disruptive presence and a menace to opposing offenses. Also missing on defense are a pair of linebackers in Ryan Reynolds and Keenan Clayton as well as defensive end Auston English and cornerback Dominique Franks.
Most of the young and ever-rotating offensive line will be returning for the Sooners and after such an injury stricken 2009, the offseason will be good for recuperation and some much needed team chemistry building and cohesion. Aside from the line, senior running back Demarco Murray, junior wide receiver Ryan Broyles and sophomore quarterback Landry Jones will look to score points behind the improving line.
Freshman to watch
All the talk in Norman has hinged on their newest Sooner quarterback, Blake Bell. Not in the mold as many of the OU quarterbacks in the past, Bell is a true dual-threat. Though he’s currently expected to redshirt, Bell will be a name you want to keep an eye on in the future.
2010 Fantasy Outlook: High – Jones, Murray and Broyles should continue to put up big numbers and score big points for the Sooners.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
2009 Record: 9-4
Returning Starters: 4 offense, 4 defense
Who They Lose
Obviously with only eight total starters returning, most anyone you want to throw out there will not be playing for Oklahoma State in 2010 – a definite rebuilding year. Most notably is the loss of two of the 2009 season ‘triplets’. Quarterback Zac Robinson and wide receiver Dez Bryant, who was suspended for the better part of the year, are both preparing for the combine vying for potential spots on NFL rosters.
Offensive lineman Russell Okung and cornerback Perrish Cox will also be greatly missed as they pursue post-collegiate football. And, running back Keith Toston, who took over effectively for the injured Kendall Hunter, has also matriculated.
Quarterback Alex Cate has decided not to partake in the looming quarterback derby and will transfer.
The third piece of the 2009 pre-season hype, Kendall Hunter, should be a healthy workhorse in the offensive backfield in 2010. Another returner in the mix is quarterback Brandon Weeden, whom Mike Gundy said should be the starter heading into spring practices, with the starting role being “his job to lose”.
Leading receiver Hubert Anyiam returns as do fellow receivers Josh Cooper and Justin Blackmon. Tight end Tracy Moore also returns and will likely move to slot receiver.
New playcalling personnel
The coaching carousel stopped in Stillwater and Dana Holgorsen stepped off to join the offensive staff at Oklahoma State. Holgorsen, a Mike Leach disciple, comes to the Cowboys after leading the high-scoring Houston offense. Expect the offensive scheming and personnel to be a bit different under his tutelage.
Two incoming freshman, Johnny Deaton and Nate Sorenson, look to challenge former member of the New York Yankees farm system senior Brandon Weeden to become the next quarterback for the Cowboys. Holgorsen will have some solid talent to choose from as he begins to retool the Oklahoma State offense.
2010 Fantasy Outlook: Wildcard – until the spring shows a glimpse into how ‘new’ the new offense will be, it is hard to quantify the Oklahoma State outlook. It is expected that Tailback U will continue to be solid behind Hunter, but with Holgorsen calling the shots one has to expect the emergence at least one go-to receiver.
2009 Record: 13-1
Returning Starters: 6 offense / 2 o-line, 7 defense
Who They Lose
The most talked about losses for the Texas offense include the much-hype roommate duo of quarterback Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley. McCoy became one of the most prolific passers in Texas history during his senior season and Shipley was the go-to-guy in many situations, both as a deep threat and in getting crucial first downs for the 2009 National Champion runners-up.
Receivers Dan Buckner (transferring to Arizona), Brandon Collins (dismissed from team) and Philip Payne (transferring) will also not be on the roster this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Sergio Kindle and linebacker Rodderick Muckelroy are among those who will be missed, but the Longhorns defense should be just as strong as ever.
But perhaps the most overlooked losses come on the offensive line. Losing three starters in Adam Ulatoski, Charlie Tanner and Chris Hall is sure to make an impact in the overall offensive production for the new man under center.
Quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who was thrown into the fire in the National Championship game after the Longhorn’s lost McCoy to injury, will be back and have an opportunity to grab a little redemption after the title tilt loss. Also back for Gilbert to throw to will be receivers Malcolm Williams and James Kirkendoll as well as the deep and rotating backfield that the Texas offense might have to utilize more fully with a new quarterback manning the team.
Defense wins championships?
The Big 12 Champion Longhorns relied heavily on their great defense in the 2009 season and have loaded up 2010 signees with some of the nation’s best. Jackson Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks, both considered to be firmly in the nation’s Top 5 incoming freshman will be bolstering an already impressive defense.
2010 Fantasy Outlook: Medium – there are some big shoes to fill in Austin and head coach Mack Brown is sure to find just the right combination. But will it be as deadly as McCoy to Shipley? Probably not. And can Tre' Newton put an end to the running back rotation? To be determined.
Texas A&M Aggies
2009 Record: 6-7
Returning Starters: 8 offense, 9 defense
Who They Lose
Texas A&M’s losses aren’t necessarily big names as can be evidenced by the fact that the Aggies are just one of two Big 12 teams with no invitees to the upcoming NFL combines. Michael Shumard, offensive tackle, was invited to the East-West Shrine Game in the post-season and other than that the losses should be able to be absorbed without much issue.
The headliner returning for 2010 is quarterback Jerrod Johnson. Johnson, a senior, is coming off quite a season in which he combined for over 4,000 yards and scored 38 touchdowns. Complimenting the quarterback are returning running backs Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael as well as wide receivers Jeff Fuller and Uzoma Nwachukwu. For those looking for youth, Michael and Nwachukwu are both just sophomores.
A recruit to eye
Athletic wide receiver signee Malcome Kennedy can do more than catch. In his senior season, Kennedy racked up 47 total touchdowns and over 3,800 combined yards. He also had eight interceptions and four fumble recoveries and it is said Kennedy might fit into the Aggies system as a safety due to their depth at receiver. Anyone with this many threats should be one to watch for the future, nonetheless.
2010 Fantasy Outlook: Medium High – Johnson alone should account for good numbers and there are a couple other potential scorers on the A&M roster that could give this squad some upside as the season goes along. And a healthy Fuller should put up numbers worthy of a WR1.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
2009 Record: 9-4
Returning Starters: 7 offense, 6 defense
Who They Lose
Brandon Carter, the heavily tattooed and physically impressive offensive guard is gone, as is wide receiver Edward Britton. On defense Jamar Wall, the perpetrator of the hit that basically took Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson out of the end of the season has graduated, along with three defensive ends, including Brandon Sharpe, and linebacker Marlon Williams.
The trio of quarterbacks in Taylor Potts, Steven Sheffield and Seth Doege all saw significant playing time in 2009 due to rotating injury issues and all three will be back for the Red Raiders. Their primary targets in Detron Lewis, Alex Torres and Lyle Leong as well as star running back Baron Batch are also back in action for Tech.
A new sheriff in town?
Texas Tech replaced the head pirate in charge, Mike Leach, with Tommy Tuberville after Leach was fired just days prior to Tech’s Alamo Bowl victory. Leach was the mastermind for the Red Raider high-flying spread offense, so expect the focus of the team to shift a bit under Tuberville’s reins.
One of the early shifts was seen on signing day, with Tech looking to bolster their defense and highlighting their class with defensive end Jackson Richards. Junior college transfer and defensive tackle Donald Langley could also make an immediate impact in 2010.
2010 Fantasy Outlook: Medium – after last year’s quarterback shuffle, either Potts or Sheffield might be a solid start once the spring tells us who’s winning the race. With Tuberville leading the charge, Batch also becomes an intriguing fantasy prospect once again.