College Football Handicapping: Bounce-Back Players
by Robert Ferringo - 8/4/2009
You can’t handicap injuries. But you certainly can adjust to players returning from seasons lost to things ranging from fluke knee tears in the spring games to eligibility issues from the previous year. Below is a list of 12 guys that missed all or most of last season. Each one should have a tremendous impact for their teams while coming back from lost 2008 seasons:
Mitch Petrus, OG, Arkansas – The fifth-year senior starter is a key cog on the Arkansas offensive line. And after missing all of last year with eligibility issues the former 2007 second team All-SEC player, and 2009 preseason All-SEC member, is a welcome addition to a green Hogs line.
Alex Albright, DE, Boston College – Heading into last year Albright was arguably Boston College’s most consistent and talented defensive linemen. Considering that two players (B.J. Raji, Ron Brace) from that line went on to be drafted within the Top 50 picks this April that’s saying something. Albright is a three-year starter and will be the rallying point for this year’s defense.
Jason Harmon, TE, Florida Atlantic – FAU quarterback Rusty Smith definitely missed his security blanket early last year. Harmon injured his knee in the 2008 spring game and missed all of last year, robbing the Owls of one of their top weapons. Harmon’s fill-in, Jamari Grant, had a great year in his place so now Smith will have a pair of quality red zone targets.
Mike Williams, WR, Syracuse – Eligibility issues robbed Williams of his 2008 season but the 6-3 wideout is back and ready for another breakout year for the Orange. Williams had 11 touchdowns as a sophomore for sad-sack Syracuse in 2007 and immediately becomes Syracuse’s best offensive player.
Jake Locker, QB, Washington – Locker’s 2008 saga was bizarre, to say the least, and the do-it-all quarterback was one of about seven players that the Huskies ended up losing for the entire season. Locker played four games last year before a thumb injury ended his season. But Locker, along with starting tailback Chris Polk, is healthy and looking for a big bounce back year in 2009.
Jeff Owens, DT, Georgia – The Bulldogs were softer than a sloppy, four-day-old barbeque last year on both the offensive and defensive lines. Owens suffered a season-ending knee injury on the first play of Georgia’s first game last year. But his return, along with the return of starting offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant, will help bolster the Dawgs in the trenches.
Donovan Porterie, QB, New Mexico – I’m not a huge fan of Porterie’s but there is no doubt that he is better than sophomore Brad Gruner. Porterie missed all of last year with an ACL injury and has a lot of catching up to do. The Lobos will be employing a new up-tempo spread attack that will feature Porterie.
Jamar Chaney, LB, Mississippi State – A very good player on a terrible team, Chaney was granted an extra year of eligibility after a leg issue forced him out of the season opener last year. He was the Bulldogs’ leading tackler in 2007 and will be a welcome addition to a unit that will see a lot of time on the field this year. Other coaches think so highly of Chaney that he was a preseason All-SEC pick.
Braxton Amy, S, UTEP – The Miners were No. 112 in the country in scoring defense last year due at least in part to losing their best defender with a torn ACL. Mike Price employs a 3-3-5 defense in which Amy is the “Miner” or rover and is the key player on the field. Amy was the team’s leading tackler in 2007 before blowing out his knee in the spring.
Reed Williams, LB, WVU – Williams is an absolute animal and was both the Mountaineers’ leading tackler in 2007 and the 2008 Fiesta Bowl MVP. He is coming off surgery on both shoulders but appears healthy and ready to reprise his role as one of the most physical defenders in the Big East. West Virginia’s defense made some big strides last year and having Williams back should be another big boost.
Barry Turner, DE, Nebraska – If the Huskers are going to compete with the powers from the Big 12 South they will need Turner to perform at an all-league level. He suffered a broken leg in the first game of 2008 and Nebraska missed his speed rush off the end. With Ndamukong Suh commanding double teams inside Turner will have a lot of opportunities against the top tackles in the Big 12.
Sean Lee, LB, Penn State – Just another stud college ‘backer from Linebacker U. Lee is a fifth-year senior co-captain and is one of the fastest linebackers in the country, even after last year’s knee injury. He’s an All-America candidate and will be the linchpin for the Nittany Lions’ defense.
Robert Ferringo is a professional handicapper and you can purchase a full season’s package of his football selections for just $25 per week! Click here for details.
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