It has been a big news week for college football. Darren Evans, Baron Batch, Aaron Corp and Rob Gronkowski all went down with injuries. There is only so much we can cram in a player news blurb, so below is more information on the top news stories. As always, see our player news section for a complete list of news.
Michigan State Running backs
Larry Caper and Edwin Baker are as advertised. We've heard nothing but positives regarding the pair from both practice reports and coaching staff comments. "I think you'll see those guys carrying the ball as a tandem here," coach Mark Dantonio said when referring to his dynamic duo. We went into fall camp with Baker ahead of Caper, but Caper has closed the gap, if not passed Baker. The one comment that sticks out most to me is Caper's ability to pass block. "Larry is very firm in pass protection and catches the ball very well," Dantonio told a group of reporters. We've talked about this before with South Florida's Mike Ford; there is a reason why he doesn't see the field as much as he should, and it is because he struggles in pass blocking and hanging onto the football. Caper's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and pass protect could give him the edge.
Michigan State has split the running backs into two groups. Group 1 is comprised of Andre Anderson, A.J. Jimmerson and Caulton Ray & Group 2 consists of Larry Caper, Edwin Baker and Ashton Leggett. The groups rotate who will see the bulk of the carries each day in practice. Notice anyone missing? Glenn Winston. Despite being reinstated, Winston does not appear to be in the mix for carries. We don't know if that is because he still needs to earn his keep or if he is just not in playing shape. Right now the battle for carries is between Caper, Baker, Leggett and Ray. Sadly for fantasy owners, we are looking at RBBC. Caper and Baker are still very good draft picks because of their upside, especially in keeper leagues.
Without question this is the most important position battle of fall camp. I might even say it is the only quarterback position battle that matters for fantasy owners. Like last year, it is going to come down to the wire and we don't expecting much information to come out of Tulsa's camp. For us to pick a starter would be purely a guess. Some say G.J. Kinne is in the lead, but we are not discounting Jacob Bower. Shavodrick Beaver seems to be the odd man out right now. Here is a quote from head coach Todd Graham.
"The learning curve on our offense is very difficult and somewhat complicated. Jacob and G.J. are competing hard right now for the starting role...Every day that Shavodrick's here, he gets better and better and better. But it's awfully hard to grasp our entire offense as a true freshman...We've already got a pretty good idea who our starting quarterback is going to be. But there is no reason to announce it and let (Tulane) prepare."
Texas Tech Wide receivers
A battle still rages for the outside wide receiver spots, but if we were to craft a depth chart today it would be Lyle Leong (X), Tramain Swindall (H), Detron Lewis (Y) and Alex Torres (Z). For a refresher course on the X, Y and Z positions, click here. Torres was the big news-maker heading out of spring, yet we were hesitant to latch onto the former walk-on. All indications are he is still considered Tech's top receiver, so we have to start moving him up our draft board. He and Leong are high risk / high reward picks. Lewis is your guy if you don't like to gamble.
Draft Tyrik Rollison
If you are in a keeper league, Rollison is becoming a must-have. Rollison will get the bulk of snaps over the next few days to see if he can secure the backup spot behind Chris Todd. Or in other words, the coaching staff is grooming their young freshman for the job when senior Chris Todd graduates.
Aaron Corp hopes to return next week after fracturing a bone in his leg. This sounds like wishful thinking to me. In the meantime Matt Barkley is running the show. This is bad timing for Corp. If he doesn't return next week, Barkley is going to secure the starting job.
The most disappointing news this week is Rob Gronkowski being out indefinitely with a strained back. We've put our neck on the line with rating The Gronk so highly, and we want to see if we are right or wrong. We don't want this turning into an "incomplete" due to injury. As far as drafting The Gronk, the injury news is going drop his overall draft value, but he is still worth the risk in my opinion. You just won't have to reach as high to get him.
The Michigan quarterback race remains unsettled, and we may have been a little premature in anointing Tate Forcier the guy. We still think he wins the job, but Nick Sheridan will still be involved as will burner Denard Robinson. He may end up behind Forcier and Sheridan on the depth chart, but something tells us coach Rich Rodriguez won't be able to resist his speed.
New Freshmen to Watch
The names of new freshman are starting to pop up. Here are few that have seen some recent love: WR James Johnson (Washington), WR Will Jefferson (Colorado), TE/WR Tracy Moore (Oklahoma St.) RB Charles Sims (Houston), RB Onterio McCalebb (Auburn), WR Shaun Joplin (Bowling Green), WR Ansel Ponder (W. Michigan), RB Kendial Lawrence (Missouri), RB Tim Phillips (C. Michigan), and K Mitch Ewald (Indiana),
- D.J. Williams has a tender ankle, but it doesn't appear to be serious.
- David Wilson suffered a sprained shoulder in Saturday's scrimmage and Josh Oglesby is suffering from a strained hamstring. Oglesby is listed as Tech's starter, but we like Wilson's upside.
- With Baron Batch (elbow) and Aaron Crawford (shoulder) banged up, burner Harrison Jeffers is your guy for week one against North Dakota.
- Jewel Hampton aggravated his knee injury. Jeff Brinson should be moving up your draft boards.
- Will Richard Samuel grab the bull by the horns with Caleb King resting a sore hamstring?
- Minnesota running back Duane Bennett is back on the field and should be a draft day consideration in BCS-only leagues.