Every college football season brings the next wave of All-Americans into the spotlight.
With college football's fall practice in full swing around the nation, it's really the first time names made famous on recruiting websites are showing up in actual practice reports. When it comes to picking which freshmen will make an impact in their first season on campus, it's really all about who can pick up the playbook the fastest and who fits a need. The Pac-12's three-time defending conference champion used a true freshman of their own last fall to earn the league crown.
Coaching connections, scandals, shared history make these games significant
Anyone who follows college football knows the Alabama vs. Michigan opener will be one of the most important games of the college football season, encompassing Alabama’s bid to repeat as national champion, Denard Robinson’s Heisman Trophy campaign and more.
De'Anthony Thomas ranks as one of the top players in the Pac-12 for 2012.
The Pac-12 is one of the nation's top conferences for offense, so it should be no surprise that six of the top 10 players in Athlon's top 50 for 2012 check in on that side of the ball. USC's Matt Barkley is the frontrunner to win the Heisman, while receivers Robert Woods, Keenan Allen, Marqise Lee and Marquess Wilson are all All-American candidates. While the defense doesn't have as many players in the top 10, Utah's Star Lotulelei and USC's T.J. McDonald rank among the top six players.
Arkansas' Knile Davis is back after missing 2011 with an ankle injury.
Injuries are a big part of any college football season. 2011 was no different, as losing Knile Davis was a key setback to Arkansas' hopes of winning the SEC West last year, while Missouri's offensive line had to shuffle some players around after Elvis Fisher was lost for the year with a knee injury.
Although those players were missed in 2011, their return to the gridiron is an even bigger storyline for 2012.
What do opposing coaches think of Lane Kiffin's team at USC?
It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak during the year. In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2012, Athlon asked coaches in the Pac-12 to talk anonymously about their opponents.
Beware: What statistics have been overrated and overlooked for 2012
With college football season less than a month away, some (but hopefully not all) preseason predictions and projections will be moot. Trust us, we’ve been digesting our thoughts on the upcoming season since the end of spring practice and even the end of bowl season.
Can California develop other receivers outside of Keenan Allen?
Kickoff for the 2012 college football season is just around the corner. However, plenty of unanswered questions remain around the nation for every team. Injuries, quarterback battles and players that need to step up to make a run at the conference title will all be under the spotlight over the next couple of weeks.
The Pac-12's 10 Biggest Storylines to Watch in Fall Practice
Athlon is releasing its own set of preseason watch lists. Today, we analyze the top two-way QBs.
Dual-Threat feels like a relatively modern term used to define college quarterbacks. Certainly, the proliferation of zone read options and Mike Leach spreads has created greater dychotomy within the offensive playbook than ever before.