The 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback from Bakersfield (Calif.) Christian followed in his brother’s, David, footsteps by excelling as one of Fresno State’s greatest players. With one year left to go, the younger Carr should easily rewrite the FSU passing record book. Carr earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors after posting a conference-record 4,104 yards and 37 touchdowns a year ago. He is the highest-rated passer in school history (150.6) and is a modest 2,863 yards and 21 touchdowns from claiming the school’s all-time marks in those categories.
Hailing from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Pope was a hard-hitting safety for the Bulldogs. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder was a three-time All-Big West first-team selection and two-time conference defensive co-MVP. He was drafted with the 33rd overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft by San Diego, and put together a 10-year pro career.
From a statistical standpoint, few Bulldogs have been as productive as the San Diego (Calif.) Madison running back. The diminutive 5-foot-7 tailback consistently overachieved, rushing for a school-record 4,647 yards and finishing No. 2 all-time with 37 touchdowns. His 110 catches were 13th all-time in school history as well. The talented runner posted three straight 1,100-yard seasons and posted 1,008 career offensive touches during his illustrious Bulldogs career.
After a stellar senior season in 2012, the Bakersfield (Calif.) High safety became the first player in Fresno State history to be a unanimous All-American. He led the nation and set a new Mountain West record with eight interceptions in 2012 — three of which he returned for touchdowns. He finished with 178 total tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss, 13 interceptions, six forced fumbles and 4.0 sacks during his four-year, 39-game Bulldog career.
Yet another star prospect from Bakersfield, Calif., to play at Fresno State, Mathews was one of the most talented players to ever suit up for the Bulldogs. The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder is third all-time with 3,280 yards rushing and has the school record for rushing touchdowns with 37. His 1,808 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2009 were single-season school records and, had he stayed around for his senior season, Mathews likely would have been the school's all-time leading rusher despite Robbie Rouse’s prestigious career. He was the 12th overall pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 2010 NFL Draft.
A big-time prospect from Aptos, Calif., Dilfer became a starter for the Bulldogs as a redshrit freshman. He went on to win at least a share of three conference championships and started in two bowl games. As a junior, Dilfer earned WAC Offensive Player of the Year honors and set an NCAA record for consecutive passes without an interception (271) that lasted until 2007. He left school with single-season record for yards and touchdowns (later broken). He set a record for most yards in a bowl game (523) and led Fresno to a historic win over USC in the Freedom Bowl. Dilfer was a first-round pick by the Bucs, won a Super Bowl with the Ravens and has already had his number retired at Fresno.
The nasty blocker from Catheys Valley (Calif.) Mariposa started all 14 games as a redshirt freshman, blocking for David Carr and allowing just two sacks. He was a freshman All-American and started all 14 games as a sophomore before tearing his ACL as a junior. He returned as a senior and started all 14 games in 2004 and didn’t allow a sack. He was first-team All-WAC and was the first offensive lineman in school history to win the team MVP honors. The five-time Pro Bowler has played in two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots after being selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
One of the greatest blocking fullbacks in NFL history began his football career as a running back for Fresno State. His 2,405 yards were second all-time when he left (sixth now). The Hanford, Calif., native was a two-time All-Big West selection and actually placed seventh nationally as a heavyweight NCAA wrestler. The 5-foot-11, 250-pounder was a fourth-round pick by the Saints in 1993. Neal went to four Pro Bowls and played 16 seasons at one of the toughest positions for seven different NFL teams. He is one of the most underrated players of his generation.
A track star from Fresno, Calif., Ellard starred at his hometown school for four seasons. The undersized wideout — 5-foot-11, 170 pounds — set an NCAA record with 1,510 yards as a senior and left school as the all-time leading receiver in every major category. His 2,947 yards are now third all-time while his 25 touchdowns are still tied for the school record. He averaged an absurd 21.4 yards per catch during his time at FSU. The three-time Pro Bowler was drafted in the second round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played 16 seasons in the NFL, finishing with 814 receptions for nearly 14,000 yards and 65 touchdowns.
A Bakersfield (Calif.) Stockdale prospect, the older Carr brother started for just two seasons at Fresno State (2000-01). He led the team to an 18-8 mark, a top-10 AP ranking and consistently defeated bigger, more powerful programs. He threw for a ridiculous and nation-leading 4,299 yards and 42 touchdowns in 2001, earning the Johnny Unitas and Sammy Baugh Awards as well as WAC Offensive Player of the Year honors. He finished fifth in the Heisman voting and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. While he has developed into a pro star, he is still active and has thrown for 14,452 yards and 65 touchdowns in the pros.
Kliff Kingsbury is a rising star in the coaching ranks.
It seems every college football season has an active coaching carousel at the end of the year. Athletic directors are always looking for the next big thing, and there is no shortage of coaches looking to make the jump to a top-tier BCS program.
The Mustangs have a tall task trying to keep up with the Bulldogs.
Fresno State and SMU will be spending Christmas on Christmas Island at the Hawaii Bowl, as the only game on television Christmas Eve.
The game will be a homecoming of sorts for SMU coach June Jones, who guided Hawaii to a 76–41 record over nine seasons from 1999-2007. Jones’ last season on Oahu, he led the Warriors to an undefeated 12–0 regular season and a BCS berth in the Sugar Bowl, where Hawaii lost to Georgia.
How did the 2012 All-America team rank as high school prospects?
The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. But one quick look at the 2012 Associated Press All-America team, and it is hard to argue. Six of the 23 members (kickers and punters not included) were ranked in the Athlon Consensus 100 (Athlon's top 100) while seven others were four-star — or "national" recruits. So 13 of the 23 were considered elite prospects that were coveted by every school in the nation.
Athlon previews the 2013 NFL Draft by telling you who to watch this college football season.
It is never too early to begin looking ahead to next year's NFL Draft. Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft won’t be any different.
ULM's Kolton Browning is a player to watch once again
Fans who squirm at the long wait from Saturday college football to the Thursday night game will get a brief reprieve.
The traditional midweek MAC game will make its first appearance of the season with Kent State at Buffalo on Wednesday night. Midweek football will be short-lived, though. The next Tuesday/Wednesday game isn’t until Oct. 16.