We continue to roll out, update, tweak, edit and revisit our projections and previews prior to your fantasy draft. And while doing so we're going to occasionally take a more-detailed look at some of the nation's more intriguing stars for 2012.
The players featured over the next month or so may not be the top player at their respective positions, but they'll be ones that caused the most discussion around our roundtable or appear poised for a breakout or letdown campaign.
Breakdowns of college football's top offensive stars can of course be found in the CFFInsider.com 2012 Draft Kit.
2012 Position Rank: Where does Jefferson land?
2012 Draft Kit Preview:
Rising junior is the presumed leader to assume the running back role held by Lampford Mark and Mike Ball. Jefferson is a compact 5-11 and 200 lbs. and he posted back-to-back 100+ yard games while running for 429 yards on 70 carries. In addition to running for about six yards a pop he showed decent hands out of the backfield. His stiffest competition will come from Tony Knight, who had a strong spring and could vulture goal line carries. Jefferson has high upside, but is no sure thing. Draft accordingly.
One thing we know is Nevada will run the football. Their plan under coach Chris Ault has been to run the ball roughly 600 times per year versus roughly 400 pass attempts. And with quarterback Cody Fajardo and a stable of running backs, this year should be no different.
It is the stable of backs that is a bit of a concern. Veteran Nick Hale will see a few carries, but redshirt freshman Anthony Knight is the biggest concern. He's a bruiser and could command goal line and red zone touches. Carries and yards shouldn't be an issue. Nevada has posted multiple 1000-yard rushers in a single season three times in the last four years: 2010 (2), 2009 (3) and 2008 (2). They missed out on having a 1000-yard rusher last fall, but behind a solid offensive line Fajardo and Jefferson should get them back to that benchmark in 2012. But touchdowns are what fantasy owners crave and there are potential vultures in Fajardo and Knight that fantasy owners should be conscious of.
You can find potential pitfalls with every new potential fantasy starter. We won't know who will get the goal line touches until the pads start flying this fall and there are plenty of reasons to be on Jefferson. He's a system play and one that should be on your draft board. The key is getting him at a good value. A mid-round pick in seems to be about right. If you miss out, there are still plenty of other sleeper running backs in the mold of Jefferson of equal or greater value that can be had.